Abbi Pulling: “I’m coming back this year as a different driver”

Abbi Pulling says she will return to the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost this season as a completely different driver as the JHR Developments racer looks to put together a title bid.

The 18-year-old will once again join forces with Steven Hunter’s outfit and W Series star Alice Powell to contest another action-packed, 30-race schedule across the UK’s most iconic and challenging circuits.

Pulling impressed in her debut season, taking four podiums – including a best result of second – as well as 20 points-scoring finishes across the 2020 campaign en route to sixth overall in the standings.

Looking back on her first season in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series, Pulling says the off-season has given her time to reflect and ensure she returns to the fray this season better for the experience.

“Last season there were definitely lots of positives to take from it,” explained Pulling.

“But there were also some rounds where I could have done better and I’ve kind of recognised that and I’m coming back this year as a completely different driver.

“I’ve learned so much and on the off season it’s kind of given me some time to stop and think, cause the season’s so compressed, like last year it was all a bit much, but the off season’s given me time to think and I’m super excited to be back.”

Pulling also believes her experience could come into play in the early rounds; with only three returning drivers (the others being Carlin’s Roman Bilinski and Argenti’s Matias Zagazeta), the opportunity to strike whilst the newcomers adapt to single seaters could be a very real possibility.

“It’s definitely gonna be tough for the rookies, we’re used to it, we know what to expect and we’re gonna get stuck in quite early on, I think, whilst the first years are gonna be a bit more tentative, that’s what you expect so that’s what happened a bit last year,” she said.

“I’ve been driving really well recently. I’m quite happy and  I think the team are doing an amazing job. We’ve got an amazing setup and I think we’re gonna be knocking on the door for that top step this year.”

Pulling’s career-best result was at the high-speed Thruxton Circuit – scene of the season opener on 8-9 May – after a strong defensive drive to hold off title contender Casper Stevenson.

Discussing the first triple-header of the season, Pulling underlined her approach to the year ahead – consistency wins you championships.

“I’ve not got my first win yet and I know that we’re preparing for Thruxton, so to win the opener would be nice,” she said.

“I’ve won a championship before in go karting, I know what it takes to win a championship. It’s all about the consistency; if I’m there or thereabouts in every race then I’m gonna rack up the points and I’ll probably end up getting the most points if that’s the case so that’s what we want.

“Last year I wanted it too much. I tried a lot, I tried really hard and I kinda wanted it too much. This year, I want it still just as much but I’m gonna focus on the process rather than the outcome.”

Pulling’s partnership with Alice Powell has been one of the driving forces in her development in recent times, something Abbi believes has made a big impact on her approach to racing.

“Alice is working me through the season, you know she’s got W series so she can’t come to some of the events which we’ve spoken about. But she’s taught me so much and the preparation and we’re kinda becoming a little pairing you know, Ant & Dec around the paddock, where one is the other one’s close behind!

“We get on really well and it’s good, she helps me on the mental side of racing, not just the physical side so yeah, she’s been a massive help.”