FIA wants more women in motor racing

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The FIA’s Women and Motor Sport Commission met for the first time yesterday and set itself the target of “facilitating the full participation of women in all aspects of motor sport.”

Like many branches of motor sport, few women have made a mark in F1 as drivers. The last woman to compete in F1 was Giovanna Amati 18 years ago.

However there are several women working for teams in both technical and non-technical roles, such as Sauber’s managing director Monisha Kaltenborn.

Jean Todt set up the commission shortly after becoming FIA president. He said:

The FIA’s membership around the world comprises men and women; each has an identical part to play in sport. Like many international federations, we will support, promote and help advance the participation of women in motor sport to ensure equal opportunities at all levels.
Jean Todt

The president of the WMC is former rally driver Michele Mouton, the only woman to win a round of the World Rally Championship. She said:

Women already have their place in motor sport; they have proved it. But for many years people have asked me why there have been no women following in my footsteps. I really hope the Commission can help answer that question and that we can attract and support women in all areas of our sport.
Michele Mouton

I believe motor racing has a great opportunity to set itself apart from most other sports by allowing men and women to compete against each other, rather than in separate divisions. I think this is a wholly worthwhile initiative from the FIA. What’s your opinion?

Jean Todt’s Approval Ratings

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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101 comments on “FIA wants more women in motor racing”

  1. Well at the moment, the only woman who I can think of that qualifies for a superlicence is Danica Patrick.

    1. She can in F1 as she is qualify for that but will she?

    2. I would say that Katherine Legge, having raced in top-level single seaters in the US for a few years is more than eligible for a Superlicence.

      1. People fail to remember that Danica is pretty damn poor at the street circuits. She does OK on ovals but on street tracks she’ll often be found in about 15th place or lower.

  2. I suppose that an interest in racing often stems from an interest in cars, and cars happen to be perceived as more ‘masculine.’ Less women are interested in cars and in motorsport, and therefore there are few with the desire to actually race themselves. Bit of a shame, and I guess the difficulty (by which I mean price) of competing means that women who are casually interested can’t easily try their hand at it to see if it is actually something they would enjoy and like to take up.

    1. very well put matt.

    2. I read something on James Allens blog that talks about this masculine bias in motor racing.

      He said girls are often very compatative at lower levels an karting but then have trouble getting any further because no one takes them seriously. We could have lost possible champions over the years, we’ve definatley lost race winners.

    3. Honestly, unless you come from a bunch of money, casually competing in a way that could get you anywhere significant is quite difficult to do regardless of gender.

      1. “unless you come from a bunch of money”

        Casually competing at all is difficult, let alone in a way where you could hope to advance.

  3. I don’t understand all this trying to get more women in thing tbh. Surely they should both have the same chance? As someone above me said, not many women get into racing because its not exactly feminine so there aren’t many that will reach the upper echelons. If you start making concessions for women you aren’t exactly keeping it as the best drivers are you?

    If they get picked over a male driver because a team thinks it’ll be good for them, fair enough. But the FIA now getting in on it? It just seems a little off to me.

    I suppose it just depends what they do, if all they want to do is get more women into racing, then its all good. I just don’t know how they’d go about it. Barbies first F1 car?

    1. Barbie’s first F1 car was actually the 2006 Williams FW28 :)

      1. It was just a matter of time … [:D]

    2. “If you start making concessions for women you aren’t exactly keeping it as the best drivers are you”

      Where did you read something about making concessions, exactly?

      1. The simple fact is that there aren’t many female drivers, so assuming the same percentage have the ability to be in f1 then the numbers tiny (assuming there are more able drivers than f1 positions). Trying to attract more female drivers seems a little daft, if they’re racers I doubt they’d turn down an f1 drive!

        So although it didn’t say that, they’d kind of have to (unless they are lucky enough to find one who really is good, in which case it would be good for the sport).

        What I meant was that if they rush through a female driver whos not ready it’ll only be bad for the sport, and female drivers hoping to get in.

        Whys that? All I remember about it was that it was quick but broke down all the time! (and it wasn’t pink or anything)

        1. But this is all just assumptions on your part.

          you say: “The simple fact is that there aren’t many female drivers, so assuming the same percentage have the ability to be in f1 then the numbers tiny ”

          The question being: does the low number of female drivers reflect women’s low potential, or does it reflect conditions in which women young girls don’t have nearly the same positive vibe surrounding their interest in racing that boys do? This isn’t about pushing women through the categories – it’s about changing attitudes at the very earliest stages of driver development.

          1. If you’re right and thats what it is, then I’m all for it. I just get the impression its about more than that.

        2. @Skett-

          It was a Nico Rosberg joke :)

          1. lol, sorry not been too quick as of late. Exams have worn by brain out!

          2. So,Schuey is getting beaten by Barbie.Man…thats gotta be embarrassing!

            Actually Nico’s mechanics refer to him as “Britney”….I read that here or Autosport.

  4. It’s happening. Girls are now taking up karting from the age of eight, just like boys, and some serious talent is coming through the ranks. Also, have a look at the Ginetta Juniors entry list.

    Or consider the careers of Ana Beatriz, Simona de Silvestro or Sarah Fisher (an immensely popular team owner as well as a driver) in the US – where racing is a much more woman-friendly environment than in Europe.

    So there’s no actual need for gripes about unfairness or snide remarks about Barbie dolls. It’s happening.

    Sorry and all.

    1. Sarah Moore in the Ginetta junior championship has some potential, I’ve seen her race before.
      Will be interesting too see how she progresses from there.

      1. I think to get into F1 people need to go Karting > Formula Renault > GP2 > F1 kind of route instead of racing in saloon racing. I don’t think anyone will get into F1 from saloon racing anymore.

    2. Simona De Silvestro, right now, is the only female driver I can see making it into Formula 1. Maybe her countrywoman Natascha Gachnang as well, but Simona seems to have a little more talent. I am deeply rooting for her, and really hope she will be in F1 one day.

  5. If a girl wants to get into karting, go through the junior formulae, and is good enough to enter F1 at the end of it all, good for her – we’ll see you in twelve years, it’ll be nice to have you.

    But I don’t see how pushing the issue is going to make it any more likely. As it is, there’s not even enough boys being encouraged to start on the long ladder. Maybe the problem of money should be being addressed before the “problem” of gender.

    1. Totally agree with you. The money issue needs to be addressed before any gender issue.

    2. “Maybe the problem of money should be being addressed before the “problem” of gender.”
      Funnily enough I’m writing a uni assignment tackling exactly that right now. You read my mind! :D

      1. What course is that for?

        1. @matt90 English Literature and Journalism. I decided to focus one of my features on this a while back.

          1. I considered journalism briefly, and if I’d gone for it I would probably have tried a tie-in with F1 too.

    3. Good stuff – I wonder if the WMC is going to create an initiative similar to Go Motorsport?

      The only reason I’m slightly cautious about this is if it becomes too based on gender. What I mean by that is, if someone gets into one of motorsport’s top classes and also happens to be a woman, brilliant. If they get into one of motorsport’s top classes because they’re a woman…that’s when it becomes problematic. I think it could be a similar problem to that of pay drivers or famous surnames – getting a drive for reasons other than ability.

      I’m sure this is absolutely the last thing the WSC intends to cultivate and it’d be an issue for teams rather than an FIA issue, but the worry is there for me.

      1. When women are few to come by in racing it can be a marketing advantage to have one driving in a team though.

        The problem is our cultural views only now starting to get used to changing the roles of the sexes as we got used to them in the whole western civilization since the industrial revolution, and in the 800 years before that.

        1. That’s exactly it. I know money’s tight these days for some teams, but getting in an at best average female driver for the primary reasons that she’s marketable to fans and will pull in sponsors creates the same problem as that of the pay driver – and I’m fairly convinced that she’d get more grief for being ‘averagely talented’ than a man would.

      2. I thik what we want to avoid is too strong positive descrimination. I mean we have a problem but what we don’t want is a female Nakajima, pushed up here through vested intrests.

        we wnat a Vettle, or a the very least a Coulthard, someone who can win an help reduce the stigma. In someways it would be good if she wasn’t a stunningly good looking woman but that is entirley by the by. Once a women wins a race hopefully the flood gates open a little bit an we get a healthy mix, because right now, in our modern society, it’s a wee bit disgraceful.

        1. Completely agree with you Scribe. I’ve always felt too strong a stance towards positive discrimination is still not really a fix as it still includes ‘discrimination’.

          I also agree that looks shouldn’t matter. It’s a big shame we can’t just have women racers coming and coming in the sport like men. If a woman fails it’ll be said that it’;s because she is a woman. Equally, there will be some upset when a woman wins and no doubt the male drivers will get stick. It’s an area where a breakthrough is needed.

          I’m convinced there is a female racer -if not several – out there right now who could make it but as many have pointed out wisely before me, it is at the grass roots where it first needs to be dealt with.

          I’m quite liberal and also have believed in equality of opportunity for all when it comes to any issue. I may disagree wholeheartedly with some comments which have appeared but they are enlightening as quite a few people outside of this website still think in that way and it shows just what female racers are up against and I think they’re very brave for their career choice when they really shouldn’t need to be. This shouldn’t even be an issue in a postmodern society, it says a lot that it still is.

        2. Positive discrimination, that’s a fantastic term. Similar to what I was getting at.

        3. I think Danica’s win in Indy will get a lot more girls into motor sport. Obviously it wasn’t that long ago but in a few years time maybe a few will come up through the ranks.

    4. Sorry Icthyes, didn’t intend to reply to your comment – women and computers, eh? ;)

    5. The money problem is really more a non-gender issue and should affect both genders equally. The real problem in racing is subtle, but strong, sexism. It is seen in pretty much any field where men have classically dominated, such as hard sciences and engineering (and in the past journalism, nursing, most any other type of work that wasn’t being a sales clerk). I have quite a few female friends that started out in engineering and were REALLY good at all of the basics (Calculus, Physics, Statics, etc.), however probably 2/3 of them dropped out due to pressures that they felt were applied to them subtly by male professors and students (both male and female, the latter would be like “why would you do that” in a disparaging tone) (male drop out rate was ~40%). They always had something to prove and had a hard time dealing with it. Even now, if you looke at two hard sciences that 40 years ago were male dominated, biology and chemistry, you will find that >50% of graduates from college are actually female. In car racing, I think any woman that has the right competitive spirit and skill should be able to thrive and is one of the few sports where testosterone doesn’t give a HUGE anabolic advantage. The biggest problem is convincing them it is worth competing and convincing others that they are worth having.

      1. You say that testosterone doesn’t give a huge advantage, but I recall Martin Brundle saying last year that the main reason there weren’t so many women in motor sport (particularly very high level motor sport) was physical strength (high g-forces etc.).
        This could be a factor of why Danica Patrick is supposedly (I’ve never seen her race and haven’t ever seen an Indy race either) ok on ovals but not so good on tracks that have bends without banking.

        1. * and heavy breaking.

  6. i see no difference between male and female drivers. There both human and both have a brain. Except one of them shouldnt be out the kitchen. But if she goes up through the ranks like any other driver thats fine!

  7. I thought women didn’t have the strength/adrenaline/reflex’s to compete with men in this sport? I’m not knocking it being tried, by all means try to win a WDC. It’s just you dont see women in every other modern day sport with men included…..except darts and golf I think.

    And for the love of all that is holy don’t allow these “women” pink cars if they do get in(drinks expensive whisky like a snob).

    And also what happens when the guys start getting ideas with sexy women drivers? you will also be seeing divorces happening on the circuit because “Mrs Hamilton” cut up “Mr Hamilton”, be like a soap channel every week………the horror, THE HORROR!!!!!

    1. Comments like that show why they need all the help they can get.

    2. Um, I think you need to check who gave the second quote above – Michele Mouton, who contested the World Rally Championship in the days when rallies were more like endurance events, winning rallies and coming close to winning the title in 1982.

      Mouton also competed at Le Mans and won the Pikes Peak Hillclimb. She quit rallying when the Group B supercars were banned in the mid-1980s – the replacement Group A formula wasn’t fast enough for her taste. Lack of strength/adrenaline/reflexes?

      I don’t think we’ve seen a woman given a fair crack at F1. Lella Lombardi drove for the works March team in the 1970s but was given a duff chassis and never had a level playing field with team mate Vittorio Brambilla. Davina Galica had three F1 starts but only in non-works Surtees and Heskeths – although she did take a podium in the shortlived British F1 series. Desire Wilson impressed in a non-works Williams in testing before the 1980 British GP but was given a different car for the event and failed to qualify. Wilson was also impressive in the non-championship 1981 South African GP and won a round of the British F1 series.

    3. Two things @F1silverarrows:
      1) Go read up on sex-related differences in performance – while many women (and men) may not be able to handle an F1 car, we are talking about people in the 99th %ile, which makes them far above their sex-related average. Also, it’s “reflexes”, not “reflex’s”; if you’re going to go on the offensive, run a spellcheck.
      2) Drivers have (albeit non-romantic) personal loyalties within the paddock as it is, and nobody gives each other special treatment – out there, they’re all just racers and they all just want to place as far forward as possible. Why would it be any different if women started racing? Also, who says the young, pretty, girl-racer eye-candy would be into the other drivers (or, for that matter, men in general)?

      1. @sfbrij

        I think you took my post a “little” bit too seriously. Where was I on the offensive in that post?

        Read the post again “I thought (meaning I thought, however ((ignorant)) it may sound) women couldn’t keep up with the men in any sport” how is that offensive? If i was to go offensive on that I would say:”Women have no chance why bother, they are nothing to the men in any sport”

        Didn’t the (drinking like a snob) give the hint I was being (abit) sarcastic on that paragraph and afterwards, or do I have to put (sarcasm) in every paragraph now to make sure I don’t hurt anybody’s feelings?

        If your going to word/grammer check me please do because this is a formula 1 blog not a english test, so I don’t see why I should use a computer to make me sound more “grammer correct”, since I’m not that vain or paranoid to making mistakes.

        I apologize in advance to anybody who took that post the wrong way. The middle and last paragraphs I did are me being (joke, sarcastic) I just thought people had a sense of humour in the modern day world….

        I also apologize to keith for making this an awarkward situation in his blog.

        1. @F1SilverArrows

          I’m sorry, I genuinely thought you were being a ****head! And I apologise for the snarky pluralisation comment – the education’s failure to teach people to use correct grammar is a bugbear that comes out particularly strongly when I’m feeling self-righteous.

          I would also like to apologise to Kweith for my behaviour!

          1. No problem, it happens. we are all old enough to debate, argue and carry on.

            Even I misread certain paragraphs when I read posts.

            Sometimes I have to read 3 or 4 times over to make sure I portrayed it right when defining real to sarcasm. so tbh it’s water under the bridge for me because it’s just a misunderstanding.

            I posted that 2 days ago and then yesterday getting jumped being told off lol. I was like, “what did I do?…………oh, I don’t think I put myself across very well that time.”

            so again, no problem water under the bridge, was my fault not putting enough “detail” in that post.

    4. What an ignorent comment

  8. I agree with FIA. A woman driver can be good for F1’s publicity. Just look at Indy Car, why is Indy Car become more popular nowadays? Because of Danica Patrick (she even got an awart for most popular driver.)

    1. Don’t forget that you also have Simona De Silvestro, Milka Duno, Ana Beatriz and Sarah Fisher. Sara Fisher owns her own team but only raced 1 car so far (herself and one guy is listed but yet not raced). All of these in Indycar this year.

      Danica is of course the most successful of them all but also the one that raced the longest and has had some good success. BTW how easy isn’t that green godaddy car to spot on the track? ;)

  9. There are women in lower levels of motorsport and of course a couple of them in the DTM (including Susie Stoddart) – and Buemi’s cousin Natacha Gachnang.

    I think these days the physical requirements are less of a problem (although more than they were in 2008 with TC and so on) and sooner or later there will be another female driver: but it’s more likely to be in a lower level team, like Virgin maybe, who will use her as part of their marketing.

    1. I certainly wouldnt put it past Branson to do something like that!

      1. He tried. I remember a statement from earlier in the year when Branson commented that he’d wanted Danica to add eye-candy to his team (BTW, totally the wrong reason to hire a driver! That said, the Virgin team do look like a boy band in publicity shots), but she’d turned him down in favour of the IndyCar drive.

        1. Which turned out to be totaly the right descision. Imagine her sitting there in spain knowing glocks got a full tank an this thing is definatley about to burst.

  10. If they cared to do it and had commensurate talent, there are plenty of opportunities. There doesn’t appear to be any ban or un-written rule against women, just lack of interest as a career except for a few.

    Today’s world offers opportunity to those who want to go out and get it. Like Soccer/football, many start in karting, but few make it all the way.

  11. The Genuine Jim
    27th April 2010, 20:43

    It’s all well and good encouraging Women into F1, and motorsport in general, but there is no need to force to issue.
    There is no difference between male and female drivers. Once you put on that helmet nobody can tell or care whether you are male or female, black or white. Then only results count.

  12. Apologies if I’m being overly PC, but I think that comments such as “Barbies first F1 car” and the pink car comment are way wide of the mark.

    The fact is women drivers are becoming more and more involved in motorsport, along with the names already mentioned there are Alice Powell, Natacha Gachnang and a some DTM drivers.

    They can and will drive in Formula 1, and the sooner the better.

  13. I agree, I think it is a very worthwhile initiative. I see no reason why women cannot make the top level of the sport, especially if they are talented and are physically fit enough, both those characteristics are the same for men to make it to the top level of Motorsport.

    It would be interesting to know from any Women who are in motorsport what they think are the elements that seem to be working against them, is it the grass roots system? is it finding commercial support from a backer for their career? are the public interested in seeing women in motorsport? or is it because it is a male dominated sport. I am sure most of these can be overcome if the talent in there.

  14. @ Jack Sargeant – Absolutely agreed – and to my mind it’s got nothing to do with PC. Whenever there’s mention of women in racing, these kinds of comments come out of the woodwork real quick.

    There’s absolutely nothing in those FIA statements to make me think that the FIA is going to “push” women into or onto motorsport, F1 included. The point of taking some sort of action on women in motorsports – you blockheads – is not to make it easier for women to get into racing than it is for men, but to give them the same opportunities. What’s that? They have them already? Huh – so I guess every young boy who wants to go racing gets looked at funny, and then if he makes it gets treated ‘special’, and then later has to read tripe like that they “shouldnt be out the kitchen” by Marc Connell, above.

    Funny but somehow there’s lots of men who don’t get defensive when it comes to women, and yet you guys are the ones who yell loudest about how (in some vague undefined way) it will be bad if we pay more attention to whether all people really do have the same opportunities. Now why is that?

    1. Maciek I think you’re spot on. I think it should be about equality of opportunity completely. It’s bad for the sport too if it doesn’t happen as it just locks out talent.

  15. I think it’s got a good sentiment but I don’t see why it’s such an issue. It would be nice if there was a woman racer in F1 but I can’t say I’m gutted there isn’t one. Gender means nothing to me, I just want to see damn good racers.

    If a woman wants to be in F1 then she has to earn it like everyone else. I don’t want it where only women are looked at to fill some social quota or because it looks good.

    I don’t even see why it needs talking about much. I know there are quite a few who think F1 should just be a mans’ sport yet there are others on the other extreme who want to shove women with bright pink helmets in cars to get some good publicity. Neither are right and both are actually quite ignorant, but it should just take a natural course. One day there will be a woman WDC but I don’t think this is an issue that needs forcing, maybe at the grassroots women could be encouraged to do racing or engineering or whatever if they want or perhaps just known that they have options but then it should just be up to the individual.

    1. I got an idea.. Allow third cars but ONLY if the third car is driven by a woman… =)

      Ferrari get their third car, FIA get their woman in driving and the rest of us gets more enjoyment. =)

      1. That’s, two evils though 1/ 3rd cars and 2/ just having women there to fill a gap and some quota doesn’t achieve anything. It makes it worse.

  16. There has been research done on women’s participation in motor sport. Admittedly it was in 1997 but it is probable that the broad conclusions still apply. The sticking point is basically at age 14-16 due to a combination of factors (puberty immediately preceding and coinciding with the kart-to-car switchover, over-scrutinisation, family/social pressures and most of all sponsor conservatism). At 14, 40% of British licence holders are female. At 16, only 2% of British licence holders are female (note that 16 is the lower age where single-seaters and various other formulae)

    Apart from the question of over-scrutiny, none of these factors would involve the slightest alteration to how FIA-sanctioned racing is conducted (and even the over-scrutiny would probably fix itself if a greater proportion of women made it into motorsport). Creating opportunities for women in racing would appear to be more about persuading others that it’s a viable option. Persuading parents who usually have to support young racers irrespective of gender that the effort can be beneficial even for the 99% who don’t make a career of it. Persuading peer groups that dedicated pursuit of something so complicated is a good thing (due to social psychology, there is less acceptance of females pursuing any hobby at the expense of friends and academics than males). Persuading sponsors that female racers are not just a novelty or eye candy, but can help their profit margins in exactly the same way as male racers.

    It would be good to see more women in F1, but that’s not where the glass ceiling is. It’s way below that level, at grass-roots level, and it’s predominantly a question of perception on the part of people around the racers. Once that ceiling is broken, some very good talent will come through, in exactly the same way that once black people started getting past the kart-to-car transition, Lewis Hamilton quickly emerged.

    1. Nice stuff – sums up a lot. Hope certain other posters will take the time to read it.

    2. So we need some of the teams to pick up female drivers in their development schedules.
      Get on with it Branson, Red Bull or maybe best of all would be McLaren or Mercedes doing just that (or Anthony Hamilton with his driver school).

      That would change perceptions somewhat.

  17. If strength of the fairer sex is an issue, and I’m not at all sure it is, then all the more reason to reduce mechanical grip. Might help certain over-40 male drivers as well.;)

    An alternative would be to crank up the power steering and brake servo settings.

    Either way, the more that fans identify with the drivers and crews the better. I think its great that there are a few more women in the pit crews this year. But remember, recent German interest in F1 was greatly boosted by Shumi. I assume Russian and Indian interest is up this year. Lewis H. brought an overdue breath of diversity to the grid. Variety is the spice of life, people!

    Perhaps we need to get rid of the grid girls in F1 as well to avoid labeling women as mere objects. How much would you really miss them? What do they really have to do with the reasons we watch F1?

    1. Perhaps we need to get rid of the grid girls in F1 as well to avoid labeling women as mere objects

      The grid girls do make me feel a little bit uncomfortable, personally, but I applaud Valencia for redressing the balance a bit with their ‘grid boys’.

      1. I think this is a really valid point. One of the problems with motorsport (and especially F1) being seen as a “man’s sport” is that there is this huge element of “let’s surround ourselves with glamorous, beautiful women”, which obviously perpetuates the idea that the participants in the sport should be red-blooded men. Aside from the women in motorsport issue, how many openly gay racing drivers have there ever been?!

        Personally, as a female F1 fan, I feel the bias of it being a man’s sport – lots of people assume I only follow F1 because I think the drivers are sexy, and then express surprise when they discover I actually know what I’m talking about. And if it’s this hard to be respected as a fan of the sport, I can only imagine how hard it is to gain respect as a female within motorsport.
        Ultimately, it is the male-centred attitude of the sport that needs to change.

        1. And if it’s this hard to be respected as a fan of the sport, I can only imagine how hard it is to gain respect as a female within motorsport.


          I remember rolling my eyes when I watch the FIA Gala highlights every time the inevitable ‘women in designer gear and big sunglasses pouting or blowing kisses or strutting down a catwalk’ segment comes up. I don’t want to be a killjoy, but I do wonder if anyone who really genuinely cares about that ‘glamorous’ aspect of F1 actually cares about the racing too.

          1. Grid girls are actually a very good debate I think. I never know what to make it really; a more extreme example would be that porn exists where both sexes are treated as objects but they want to do it and it is their choice. It’s exploitist the same way grid girls are (I think they’re a lost in the ‘glamour’ of F1) but there’s always the reason, or what we/society use as an excuse, of personal choice. It’s quite conflicting and there’s also the question of whether it should be taken that seriously at all.

            There’s also something else I’ve thought of that links slightly to this… after reading some comments about this issue on JA’s site I was surprised to find out that one particularly famous female racer has had photos in underwear etc. Celebs do this all the time but I can’t help but wonder whether it was a reaction, an attempt to get back some image of ‘feminity’. I mean it’s her choice and if she just wanted to do it then good for her but I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a bit more to it.

  18. Some comments have been removed from this thread. We all expect a better standard of debate here than crass provocation. If that’s all some people have to contribute they can take it elsewhere.

    1. Thank you Keith xx

    2. Sadly those kind of comments show just why it is still an enormous task to get female competitors (drivers but to a lesser extent also top engineers, designers and team leaders) to get into higher levels of motorsports.

      Thank you for removing them.

  19. I consider this to be a very justified initiative. Motor racing is about the skilled and clever use of machinery, so I see no reason why women should not be able to drive just as fast and well or should not be encouraged to because racing, traditionally, has been a male-dominated sport.

    Scouting for talents and helping to promote them obviously is a long-term process. There’s no shortage of young male racing drivers, so the quality and quantity of support necessary for one or some female drivers to get the chance to progress up to Grand Prix Racing level should not be underestimated.

  20. I completely agree with trying to get more women in motorsport – it’s something i’ve been thinking about more lately. However it would be silly to bring women into F1 purely for the sake of equality and PC – when the woman in question may not be a good enough standard for the sport. I’m not saying women are bad drivers in any means – I could allude to pay drivers being a low standard to show the point i’m trying to make.

  21. Magnificent Geoffrey
    27th April 2010, 22:58

    When Lewis Hamilton arrived in Formula 1 I’m happy to say that the media and the fans at large, handled the matter of having F1’s first black driver very appropriately. Everyone rejoiced in this cultural barrier for the sport finally being broken and thankfully Lewis’ racial heritage did not come to define him as a person or as a driver and soon everyone stopped focusing on why he was different and concentrated on his mega achievements.

    I have no doubt that somewhere, right now, there is a young lady rising through the lower formulae who is destined to reach the dizzy heights of Formula 1 eventually and that we will see a legitimately talented, multi-season running, female F1 racing driver. However, I fear that when this does eventually happen – and unlike with Hamilton – the woman in question will be treated to constant and relentless scrutiny of her driving ability with all of her on-track mistakes being ridiculed and will generally have to cope with unusually intense media focus, simply because she is female. We live in a time where a woman winning a major international racing event is no longer a dream, it has already happened, and yet Danica Patrick both enjoys a huge level of support because of her achievements as a female racing pioneer, and suffers from an extraordinary level of pressure because of the fact that she is a women. I fear that a female F1 driver would be subjected to more extreme forms of what Patrick experiences as a female F1 driver today would be the most significant arrival in the history of the sport.

    I hope it does happen though, how many other sports can you say give women the chance to compete against men, equally, at even the highest level? Because I’m certainly struggling to think of any.

    1. Equestrianism and (depending on the class of boat; I’m thinking non-Olympic boat classes here) sailing. Those are the only other sports I can think of where men and women can compete at every level against each other without any disadvantage to either expected.

      Motor sport can be a shining example of equal opportunity. It’s just a question of sorting out the glass ceiling and letting natural competitiveness do the rest.

    2. Stephen Higgins
      28th April 2010, 20:11

      She may also be judged on her looks, not her skills.

      An average lady driver who looks good in a Bikini on the cover of ‘Nuts’ may sadly get more coverage and sponsorship and an average-looking lady driver with the combined skills of Button, Vettel, Leob AND Givonnardi.

      1. I suppose the obvious example is Anna Kournikova the former tennis player. She got coverage and sponsorship mainly based on her looks not her talent. One statistic I remember reading a few years ago was that she was one of the highest earning female tennis players and at the time she was yet to win a singles title, I think she had won some doubles titles though.

  22. As long as they have a fair crack at rising through the ranks, then i am completely netural about more woman in motorsport. If they are there because they are good enough, then they have earned their place just like anyone else, but cases like milka duno actually do more harm than good. Danica is completly over rated in proportion to her talent/results. But, i don’t see why we have to encourage more woman into the sport. Just make sure the grass roots are a natural incubator of all talent, regardless of gender, race etc, and let the cream rise to the top.

    1. precisely what I what saying, just much better worded.

  23. Too right, good idea by fia!
    In this day and age there is no reason there is not more women racing…I am all for it!
    I hope to have my 3yearold girl into karts soonish, maybe she likes it and goes on to be a professional driver…but if doesnt atleast she will have some driving skills when she get onto our roads, with very disturbing drivers that can pass a parking and theory test but have no driving skill.

    I haven’t read all the posts but I dont understand any negativity in regards to this idea…

    1. That’s the way to go!

      I only have a boy, but if all parents are open to this we will get there.

  24. If there are no women in F1 its not because they are discriminated, but because there has been no women talented enough to get into a car. As simple as that. I wouldn´t mind seeing Patrick or the cousin of Buemi in F1 cars, as long as they are not in my team. There I want Vettel, Kubica or Hamilton….

    1. Suggested reading for you: posts by Alianora La Canta and RedBullRacer on page 1 of this thread.

  25. I like the posts on page 1, you find it in all sports. I have done a lot of sailing and that’s a sport where women are known to be and treated as being just as good as men (my team mate for a long time in world championships was a girl). But somehow by the age of 16 or 18, when it gets real (sponsors, dedication etc…), it is easier for the boys to come home and tell their parents that it is what they want to do. Actually, most parents would encourage such things with a boy. As for the girls… Well there is the boyfriend factor but more thant this, the parents just didn’t help.

    My team mate carried on just because her father was world champion in his time. So I could actually bet that the future female F1 world champion will come from a racing family, as family and social pressure will be the biggest hurdle to jumps. Saying so, it is quite positiv that it should be so (better that than machismo in the sport or from the sponsors).

  26. We had Lella Lombardi. But nothing exiting or special happened around her. The USA ladies are not top notch as well. However there are some women drivers in national series that do quite well. So. What to do?
    Maybe an all women team with Volkswagen?

    Just kidding. Women will appear when they are ready and good enough for it. Could be any time.

  27. Arthur Compton
    28th April 2010, 13:31

    The FIA really ought to look at the MSA’s Go Motorsport campaign running in the UK. It really is an excellent scheme and one of the few umbrella programmes aimed at attracting newcomers of all ages, sexes, abilities and wealth into all areas of motor sport… not just F1. I know Go Motorsport has tried to attract more females into the sport and has several notable female ambassadors including Vicki Butler Henderson, Louise goodman and young Ginetta champ Sarah Moore. Take a look at

  28. Getting more women involved in motorsport has to start at the grassroots level, for example we aren’t going to see an equal number of male and female drivers in current F1 if there was not equal numbers however many years ago in karting.

    Just like one of the reasons why we don’t see many drivers, irrespective of gender from some countries is because they don’t have much of a motorsport scene.

    When we read about F1 drivers we usually learn that by the time they were a teenager they had already been competing for a number of years.

    As with most sports people will only get involved in motorsport if they like it, and while I don’t know what the figures are it would not surprise me if motorsport fans in general are mainly men.

    I suppose that may go back to the theory that as children boys are more likely to play with toys and guns whereby girls are more likely to play with dolls.

    1. The nearest thing I’ve seen to a measurement of motorsport fans’ gender divide is the FIA survey of 2004. 9% of thosed surveyed were female, which is 4.5 times larger than the proportion of 16-year-old licence holders that are female, but less than a quarter of the proportion of 14-year-old licence holders that are female.

      Attracting more female supporters would probably help get more female competitors and your suggestion that motor sport support is largely male is correct. However I can’t shake the feeling that the reason for the low level of female participation in motor sport is more complicated than that.

  29. Stephen Higgins
    28th April 2010, 20:08

    Why not give women drivers thier own championship.

    Last year’s F1 cars with some further technical tweaks, say to run on a Sunday before the main GP, with a race 1/2 the distance of the GP.

    1. I don’t really want that. It isn’t the best drivers in the workday but then just the best men in one race and best women in another. It would be a mess, wouldn’t get as much coverage and would be expensive to set up a full new grid. Why can’t they race together?

    2. Women racers do have their own championship (Formula Woman). Disabled racers also have their own series (any series that only accepts the “Restricted” level of race licence). However, some women racers and some disabled racers are better than the level those championships are set and therefore compete in series where the entry requirements are based on talent and (in some cases) money rather than gender or health status. The fact that the elite levels of motorsport are not restricted by anything other than talent (or in some cases money) is a good thing.

      As foundation series, a single-gender series is fine because some people may feel more comfortable beginning their forays into motor sport in such a series. However, the primary feeder networks should have as few unnecessary restrictions as possible to encourage talent to rise irrespective of whether it fits anyone’s stereotype of a racing driver or not.

  30. Here’s an idea. All F1 teams should be strongly encouraged to have women on their driver development and support and training or such like programs…

  31. Oh, also, Gina-Maria Schumacher. I said it first.

  32. Lesley Pearson
    3rd June 2010, 14:59

    I run a charity for older people in North Leeds and I have a lady of 87 who is an excellent driver, in good physical and mental health and has always had the ambtion to drive around Silverstone or Brands Hatch. Mrs C has already achieved her other ambiiton of flying a plane. Is there anyone who would be willing to sponsor her for the drive of her life.

    If anyone can help could you please contact me, Lesley Pearson at

    Many thanks

    1. I’ll ask around a few people I know who might be able to help.

  33. We like this site presented and that has given myself a few sort of inspiration to succeed for some reason, so keep up the good work.

  34. Re:Female Drivers
    Has anyone noticed Alice Powell? Having won the 2010 BARC Formula Renault Championship at just 17 yrs., I think you’ll find she is the most soccessful female british single seat racer to date… All that is needed now is some serious backing to take her forward to F3,GP2 and F1. Any ideas?

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