Ecclestone “massively pushing” for F1’s own Danica Patrick

2013 F1 season

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While Danica Patrick lines up on pole position for today’s Daytona 500, over 20 years have passed since the last time a woman even attempted to start at round of the Formula One world championship.

But Williams test driver Susie Wolff believes it’s a question of when, not if, that will change – and the issue has support at the highest level:

“I know many people want it to happen,” she told media at last week’s test in Barcelona. “Bernie Ecclestone for one is massively pushing that it happens at some point I think in the future we will definitely see it happen.”

Wolff sees the shortage of women drivers in top-flight motorsport as a chicken-and-egg problem.

“There are more male drivers which is why possibly it’s even tougher for a female because there aren’t as many of us trying to get into Formula One,” she said.

“But I think it’s difficult for any driver to get here and then to stay here because it’s a very, very competitive world. You see how quickly the driver line-ups can chance with circumstance, with economic environment.

“So I think it’s very tough for anyone, I think the fact that there hasn’t been a successful female in Formula One maybe makes people wary over whether it’s possible or not. I fully believe that it is possible but it’s just going to take time for it to happen.”

Wolff joined Williams as a development driver in April. She had her first run in a contemporary F1 car in October and was the first driver to shake down the team’s new FW35 earlier this month.

She says she is treated “the exact same” as any other driver. “Of course I had to come in, I had to earn respect from the team members but any drivers has this responsibility. But I must say I had no issues at at all.”

But she isn’t getting ahead of herself when asked about her chances of racing an F1 car: “I’ve done more time in the car now. I feel even more comfortable in the car, it doesn’t seem like it’s an unrealistic dream.

“The tests in October last year, I was very unsure how the tests would go and what I would be capable of. But the tests went very well, there was no issues physically, there was no issues with not being able to handle the car.

“So it’s not unrealistic but I think we all know how competitive Formula One is, how many drivers are fighting for a chance to be on that grid. And I don’t want to come out with any bold statements or dream of saying ‘yes, I want to be on the grid next year’.

“Everything happens, it has its flow, I’m in the right direction, I’m taking each step at the time, I’m showing the guys in the team what I can do and what I’m capable of and for sure that was one of the reasons from the test last year I was able to drive the car for the very first time. You can see that it’s not out of my capabilities.

“But let’s see how it goes, I’m taking each step at a time, for sure a superlicence is the next thing on the to-do list, so let’s see.”

Last year Monisha Kaltenborn became the first woman team principal in Formula One. Wolff believes the appearance of more women in management positions in Formula One is a positive development:

“I think Williams is incredibly lucky that we have some fantastic women in the management positions. Claire [Williams], for example, we have another lady on the board – Lousie Evans, CFO – and I think we are a glowing example of diversity within what is quite a male-dominated sport.

“And Claire is only in the position she’s in because she’s good at what she’s not because she’s Frank’s daughter, you can’t run a team just because your family name means that you could be up for the job. She is incredibly good at what she does, I think she is definitely the future of the team and she is and should be a role model for many people.”

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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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125 comments on “Ecclestone “massively pushing” for F1’s own Danica Patrick”

  1. I too want to see women in Formula 1 but people forget that whilst Danica Patrick is a good Driver she also looks good in a Bakini. I get the feeling women will get a better chance if they look good in a bakini. I hope this isn’t the case and that I’m proven wrong but we’ll just have to wait and see.

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      24th February 2013, 12:54


      Also, what’s not to like (aside from the fact she races NASCAR)?

      She’s dam good looking, and can drive powerful cars fast.

      Wife that.

      1. “wife that”??

    2. The thing is though, I think that’s an unfair comparison to lay at the feet of women in any sport. Look around the paddock of an F1 race and I challenge you to find a driver who doesn’t look good in a bathing suit? F1 demands that one be at the peak of physical fitness; they are all going to look great. Sex sells, period. Men and women. NASCAR and IndyCar fandom is still strongly based around ‘good ‘ol boy’ mentalities (I did not say exclusively), so yeah Danica spends a fair amount of time in a bikini, but it doesn’t take much searching to find examples of Dale Earnhardt Jr’s sexualized image as a means of reaching out to female viewership.

      I’ve said it before, and I will keep saying it, the only reason there aren’t more women in motorsport is because little Michelle Schumacher or Sabrina Vettel would not have been given a go-kart at the age of 3 years old the way that many of the stars of this sport were. That is not necessarily the fault of Formula 1, but it is something that I think it is the responsibility of the sport’s governing body to try and address. Doing this means changing the attitudes of the sport’s fans. And yes, that can feel forced at times, the same way that racial integration felt forced, but that’s what’s necessary and it’s a worthy pursuit.

      I have really nothing to say to the comment by @tophercheese21 other than to roll my eyes.

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        24th February 2013, 23:13


      2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        24th February 2013, 23:20


        I have really nothing to say to the comment by @tophercheese21 other than to roll my eyes.

        I was just kidding around (Partially).

        But seriously, why should she be looked at any differently just because she’s a (good looking) woman?

        I bet Monisha K. wouldn’t be looked at the same way if she were as good looking as Danica.

        She’s good at what she does… Why does it matter if she’s a man, woman, good looking or bad looking.

  2. She says she is treated “the exact same” as any other driver.

    I’m not sure that’s entirely true.

    1. I’d agree…she gets talked about as if she’s different to any other driver, which is besides the point, isn’t it?

      COTD a few days back summed the whole thing up perfectly.

      1. LOL. When Williams launched their car and drivers, I’m pretty sure no one was making comments about one of them being a woman, BECAUSE IT’S A NON-ISSUE.
        Nobody was talking about her or her gender until this interview about the Super License came about. I blame the media for getting excited about it.

    2. If she is treated exactly the same way as other drivers she will need to get a super license the exact same way as they did (from Wikipedia):

      “To qualify for an FIA Super Licence the requesting driver must already be the holder of a Grade A competition licence, and additionally meet the requirements of the 2013 FIA International Sporting Code, Appendix L.[1][2] These requirements state that the driver must be either the reigning champion in a lower category of motor sport, for example Formula 3 (British, Italian or Japanese championship, or Euro Series), Formula 2, or GP2 Series (formerly known as Formula 3000), or must have consistently finished well in these categories. For example, a driver finishing in the first three positions five times within the last two years in GP2 will be eligible for a Super Licence.”

      We haven’t seen any of this yet and we won’t – if she gets a super license it will be through politics, and that is not being treated ‘exactly’ the same way as other drivers.

      1. Isn’t racking up enough milage in a F1 car also a way to get the licence?

        1. In straight line aero tests? There is no testing, except at the beginning of the season, the young drivers test, and filming (and the sparsely attended mid-season test last year that, IIRC, will not be repeated) .

          1. Does it say it has to be a current car? They could stick her in a 2 year old car to do the required miles. Or maybe she’ll do some vintage F1 races!

      2. As @Verstappen points out, doing 300 km of testing in an F1 car also qualifies you for a superlicence. She wouldn’t be the first driver taking this route into F1. It was also one of the reasons why VdGarde had a deal to do just that with Spyker (who turned into FI in the middle of that), to qualify for a superlicence.

        Kimi was granted one on probation because he had not had enough experience in single seaters before and proved he was worthy

        1. At least Kimi drove single seaters. I also believe that was before the testing ban. With the ban in place how does one get 300k under one’s belt?

          1. its one good day of testing. Several drivers did it within one or 2 days of young driver test @steveR

  3. With F1 in such a dreadful financial state (pay drivers all over the grid), I’m sure it has never been so easy for a [well backed] woman to get into the sport.

  4. I don’t believe Ecclestone cares about getting a feamle driver on the grid for anything more than just the headlines and publicity.

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      24th February 2013, 12:55


    2. +1 exactly what I thought

    3. “women should be dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances”

      Ring any bells anyone?

    4. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
      24th February 2013, 18:30

      In this particular case does the reason really matter? We should have women in f1 and i’m glad bernie unlike some biggots feels the same way.

      1. Trying to get women into F1 is stupid if it’s simply for the basis of having one on the grid. Either they have the skills to be considered one of the best 22 drivers in the world and make an appearance on the grid, or they don’t and they stay out of the sport. Drives should be awarded based on skill. The sex of the driver should have sweet F.A to do with it!

        Going through all this campaigning to get a female driver into the sport also puts them on a pedestal – or could be interpreted as degrading them by implying they are ‘less skilled’ as we haven’t had one yet. The best way to deal with the lack of female drivers is to shut up about it all and just continue with the sport. If the time comes when a female driver is good enough for a drive, excellent, if not, so what! We’re looking for the best competition after all, aren’t we??

        1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
          24th February 2013, 20:14

          How about getting off of your high horse for one damn second and accepting that women are just as skilled as men at what they do. You are the very definition of the problem you instantly assume that any comment or story about or godforbid any female driver actually making it to f1 would be purely about gender. Anyone who get’s there is skilled. Except in your eye’s a woman, who needs to be the next michael schumacher to earn a spot. Absolutly disgracefull.

          1. Read my comment again please. I said I wanted to see the best drivers racing and that their sex had nothing to do with it! I’m not against women drivers, I am against putting one in a car simply so you can point and say “Hey look, a femal driver!”

        2. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
          24th February 2013, 23:17

          Why don’t you read my comment again any woman who gets there deserves a place as much as any man All professional drivers are exactly that professionals. But you assume bernie is going to ask your mum to race for mclaren just because she is a woman and that is b/s way of thinking.

          1. I think you should also reread Nick.UK’s comment, Jimmy. I think you are misunderstanding a little.

          2. We are saying the same thing! I am ALL FOR SKILLED DRIVERS. If that means 22 women F1 drivers, then so be it – if they happen to be the 22 best drivers in the world. The drivers sex is of no importance to me. I just want the best 22 drivers in the world to be competing whether its all men or all women is irrelevant to me!

          3. Agree 100% with @nick-uk.

            A woman should not be in an F1 car just because she is a woman, she has to be good enough, at least as good as our current crop of pay drivers. I think it would be very demeaning if it were otherwise. If there are enough women in motorsport, a driver who is good enough will eventually rise through the ranks to F1, I think everybody will welcome that.

            I dont see why people make a big deal if a woman amounts to something significant in general. They make it where ever they are because they were good enough, so why does one’s gender matter?

  5. Yeah, I would prefer beautiful girl in F1 car (like Danica Patrick). But she should also be fast and competetive and not just to make up the numbers.

    It’s hard for women to get into F1 mainly, because there aren’t that much of them. If there’s one woman to 50 men, then it’s obvious, that there’s a more chances, that man will land a seat. And it’s no surprise why women are not dreaming about F1: few girls dream about cars and fewer want to train like an olympian to be fit for F1 car.

    Anyway, I would be happy if at least one girl drove F1 car in the coming 10 years.

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      24th February 2013, 13:24

      But with talent. What matters if the girl is beautiful or not when her face is covered with a big helmet?

      1. What do you mean “there aren’t that much of them”? It’s virtually 1-1 in terms of men to woman.

        1. They clearly mean the number of women in motorsport.

        2. @motor_mad I mean, that there aren’t that muchj women in motorsport.

      2. So if from 50 males there is one or two really talented, what do you reckon about females chances? :)

        As the comment above, it’s also not just the case of child starting racing at young age, it’s matter of whole bunch of the doing it.

  6. There shouldn’t be a woman in F1 just because she is a woman…
    There should be a woman in F1 because she proved her abilities in other classes in racing…

    1. Thats why F1 doent need a Danica Patrick. F1 needs a Michele Mouton.
      Patrick, despite her background in Europe just didnt cut it at the sharp end in Indycar on the road courses, and putting her forward as someone who would be an unqualified sucess in F1 would be a huge mistake. Its sad to say, but I think it will need someone with the overwhelming evidence of quality of a Mouton in her heyday (Class victory in Le Mans, 2nd overall in the WRC – the idiotically bonkers version of the WRC, mind) to come in and blow the dinosaurs away.

      The dinosaurs being the ones in the grassroots. f1 needs a flood of high quality female drivers to choose from it they are going to be a common sight. they wont pick the best of a pitifully small bunch if even they arent good enough. It could spell bankruptcy for them – unless a Mouton comes along. Only then.

  7. I wasn’t aware that women were a charity case.

    This ridiculous agenda needs to stop. It’s embarrassing.

  8. I would love to see a woman in Formula 1. Looking at it from an unbiased view, it’s actually quite weird that all 22 drivers on the grid next year will be male. But the problem I have with this is that it’s done for the wrong reasons: Bernie probably wants to make headlines, with the cover-up that she will be an inspiration to young girls who might decide to go karting and try to make it into Formula 1. They are trying to create equality, but by letting a woman drive in F1 for this reason rather than by merit, they actually emphasize that the man’s position in F1 is different from a woman’s – which is paradoxical.

    Just look at Susie Wolff: she has been mildly impressive up until 2004, but from 2005 she hasn’t really achieved anything out of the ordinary. And this to be rewarded with a role as test driver for Williams – I simply can’t get my head around this. There are literally hundreds of young promising drivers with a more impressive track record than Susie Wolff, but she is the one that gets to drive F1 cars!?

    If there were to be a woman driving in Formula 1, she has to get there the hard way: she must prove that she is better than the other drivers who line up for a potential seat in F1, not just be granted that seat for the sole reason that she is a woman.

      1. That’s a massive confidence boost: the next Pope agrees with me! ;)

  9. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    24th February 2013, 13:21

    There were some attemps in the past with Sarah fisher testing a McLaren (2002 I think) and even when Sarah has definitely more talent than Susie, things didn’t go further….. probably the fate played a harsh role for Maria de Villota, who was already taking the steps to get a F1 seat (but let’s also accept Maria was not an ace either). Susie Wolff will get a drive in F1 if Toto pushes the right butons (publicly or not) but it would be so pitiful to see her being lapped by all the cars of the grid. Not because she is a woman, but because in all her previous categories she has never shone

  10. I think that when women enter the sport again it will be similar to when Lewis joined the sport and everyone was saying “Oh, a black driver in F1”. Now he is just seen as another driver because, at the end of the day, it doeswnt matter if you are white, black, green, have man bits, lady bits, reproduce asexually… The main thing is you have to be quick and as long as a driver is quick, it should give them a shot at a seat in F1 (although a few million in the bank wouldnt hurt in this day and age either)

  11. I wouldn´t mind a female driver, but I don´t want a “Danica Patrick”. Whatever you think of F1 way to find it´s drivers now, a woman needs to get to a seat because of her talent, not because she looks good in a bikini or dad/husband have money. Only if the woman in question is talenetd will she really be openning a door for other women in the future…

    1. Danica is consistently in the points. Do you think that she isn’t racing on merit? What about all the drivers who qualify and finish races behind her? Do they look good in bikini too? That’s ridiculous.

      I don’t know why people have a hard time understanding that you can be good looking and skilled at the same time. In real life people don’t get the same amount of “character points”.

      1. @maroonjack yes you can´t be good looking, but I´m not asking Seb Vettel to take a picture of himself in his underwear to sell me a car… I want him to drive fast, and I want any woman to drive in F1 to be fast, same that I want every driver in f1 , man, woman, thied sex, to be fast!

        My point is if any driver want´s to take picture of her/himself on bikini or whatever, do so… but don´t be just a animal to show or look pretty in picture be fast be really fast…

        1. @celeste You said that you don’t want a driver like Danica specifically. And she is fast. Faster than most guys. So why wouldn’t you want someone like that in F1 is beyond me. She definitely is not “an animal to show or look pretty”.

    2. I think you feel much the same as in this article is mentioned by John Force (Father of NHRA race winner Courtney Force) @celeste :-)

      Always outspoken, John Force told leading up to last weekend’s race in Phoenix that the Danica discussion is overdone.

      “I get that Danica got the pole is a big deal, but it is not like she delivered the baby Jesus,” he said.

      I do hope better female drivers get a better shot at joining the podium ranks!

      1. @bascb thank you haven´t saw the article, see there are other female drivers in the world, now pick a good and fast one F1…

        1. exactly!

  12. Soon, a female racing driver will come along and will earn a place on the grid on merit as she will be one of the 22 best drivers in the world. I have no doubt about that and see it as a question of when, rather than if.

    However, Bernie Ecclestone wants a woman in Formula 1 for all the wrong reasons and runs the risk of harming the cause of gender equality in motorsport, rather than advancing it, if he gets his way.

    I also think that there’s too much attention payed to things Bernie says. Let’s not pay too much mind to what he thinks and instead focus on encouraging more female participation in motorsport at all levels.

  13. Well if we loose another couple of teams he can let the remaining teams enter a third car with women only drivers.

  14. Bernie is pushing for women in f1? So which team will have to change to all white livery?

  15. There’s a woman driving in Indycar the past few years called Simona De Silvestro & everyone who’s ever worked with her seems to think she’s something very special.
    She did wonders in an 8 year old overweight Dallara chassis in 2011 but sadly struggled in the uncompetitive Lotus last season, This year she’s moved to the KV Racing team & I would not be at all surprised to see her contending for & winning races.

    Danica is good, Maybe not as good as the hype suggests but definitely better than her critics claim.
    People often talk about her only been good on the ovals but don’t forget she has front row starts & a podium on the road circuits & was running at the front in the 2 Nascar Nationwide road circuits last year at Road America & Montreal & was racing with/beating some very accomplished road racers. Road America in particular is a very challenging circuit where you need to be good to run well.

    I also remember back in 2005 when Katherine Legge had a proper test in the Minardi, The headlines ran with her crash on the 1st day, However when she got a 2nd go the next day she was very, very quick & although no times were published a few of the Minardi mechanics said she was well within a second of the regular drivers.

    1. Danica is good, Maybe not as good as the hype suggests but definitely better than her critics claim.

      that is why I am glad she confirmed it once again with the Daytona pole. After all, how many drivers get poles in NASCAR, in Indycar and win races in Indycar.

      I think its great that at least in Indycar there does seem to be a bit of a basis to go from and it has some talented females in the field in the last couple of years. Lets hope we see them fighting their way to the front soon, I agree with you on Simona de Silvestro, she seems has the skills t make it.

      1. Qualifying on pole at Daytona isn’t really a great statement about a driver’s skill. There’s not much talent can do when it’s pedal down and minimal steering input.

        Conversely, racing at Daytona is one of the greatest challenges in NASCAR, and her race was a far more noteworthy example of her skill than her pole lap.

        1. Qualifying on pole at Daytona isn’t really a great statement about a driver’s skill. There’s not much talent can do when it’s pedal down and minimal steering input.

          Tell that the ones who tried and failed to do so @kanil.

          Thats like saying there’s no skill to dragster racing. If so, then why are some drivers (pilots?) better at it then others?
          Its very much about skill. About getting the power down at the right moment, to know when to ease off the throttle, know what lines to choose and make it work with the 2000 kg car.

          1. @BasCB Problem is, during qualifying at Daytona, there is no “knowing when to ease off the throttle”. There is no “knowing what lines to choose”. There’s no “getting the power down at the right moment”.

            You press down the pedal as soon as you’re clear of the pit road, and you let off three laps later. There’s minimal steering input, thanks to the immense banking. It’s far and away the easiest thing in NASCAR.

            But as I said, racing at Daytona is a huge challenge, and Danica’s race is far more impressive than her engine’s performance during qualifying.

          2. Ok, I get what you mean now @kanil, thanks for the explanation.

        2. let me add to that – the moment we think Finishing 8th of 28-30 finishers does not show skill we can just stop watching sports at all, as there will only be about 3 skilled people in the field (or just one? as the others are losers for not coming in first?), especially with something like NASCAR where results can change in the nick of time in the last few hundred yards leading to the finish by who get out of the pack best.

        3. or did I misunderstand your comment and do you actually say that while setting pole is not that special, she should be rated for that 8 place finish @kanil?

  16. The issue of women in F1 is complex. Ideally, they should only enter the sport due to talent. However, plenty of men get in because of sponsorship, so if a woman took a place which would otherwise be occupied by a driver such as it shouldn’t matter, as long as they’ve proven in feeder series to at least be competitive (so no to Wolff). After all, just as some drivers have good sponsorship because of their nationality or family connections, why shouldn’t women be able to use their gender to secure enough sponsorship for a drive? So that means the problem is actually finding women talented enough in the feeder series. And as far as I’m aware, there aren’t any quite yet. As Wolff says, that is a result of a chicken and egg situation whereby the lack of talented women is a product of a lack of any women, which is to some extent a product of a lack of successful women drivers…

    If women being in F1 and motorsport as a whole is important, it should come as the result of promoting engineering careers among younger girls to make the entire industry and sport more appealing. Also, for drivers, perhaps offer some additional financial support (although only where they need it to continue competing, as I agree that there is a fine line between supporting a cause and making women a charity case) to any promising girls in the earlier stages of their career, to ensure that they make the jump to series where they can actually have a chance to to showcase their abilities to the wider world. If this brings just a few more worthy women into higher categories, it is an improvement and might lead to some female drivers who can act as role models, kick-starting the process.

    The entire sport needs to be made more female-friendly to appeal to a larger number of women though. One way is the aforementioned promotion of engineering as a career. However, that isn’t enough. I am in my Masters year of Mechanical Engineering, and know 4 female engineers on my course well (there are a few others). 1 is Aviation, 1 is Aeronautical, and 2 are Mechanical. None of them care the slightest bit about F1 though. That can be put down to any of several factors- preference influenced by gender stereotypes, their general personal preferences, and the way F1 presents itself. The first two of these clearly cannot be changed easily, and the first is the reason nobody should ever expect to see a significant number women driving in F1. F1 could present itself better though. Grid girls are an example. I couldn’t care less personally, but I can see that it might grate with others.

    Ultimately though, I do think that there is only so much that the FIA could or should do, partly because F1 is a sport and industry which women will generally be less interested in. I don’t really see a reason why that needs to change, other than that the grid might benefit from some diversity.

    1. Oops, this wasn’t meant to be an essay.

    2. I love the Pope
      24th February 2013, 15:19

      What would diversity do? How does that make racing better? It is a word that means basically nothing and has nothing to do with racing. If Narain was actually good at driving, would F1 be better because of that, or because he is Indian?

      1. Because it would be be nice to see a grid which is more representative of the global population.

    3. I don’t understand why grid girls have lasted this long? A saving could be made by not having a bunch of women wearing hardly any clothes and buckets of makeup hanging around on the grid or behind the podium doing nothing constructive. They’re an outdated concept in today’s world and I would like to see them gone.

      You know you’re a proper motorsport fan when you want to tell the grid girl to get out the way because she’s blocking the view of the car!

      1. You know you’re a proper motorsport fan when you want to tell the grid girl to get out the way because she’s blocking the view of the car!


    4. @Matt90 Superb comment.

    5. @matt90 – spot on. One thing that isn’t a product of stereotypes though but applies to the issue of diversity is the complete lack of “ethnic minorities” in F1 (by that I mean not white males). Recently we’ve had a couple of Indian drivers, a Japanese driver and Lewis Hamilton – that’s about it as far as people who have actually raced are concerned. I struggle to believe there aren’t more talented racers out there, but perhaps that is more of an issue of racing culture in countries such as India and of course financial backing.

      The two main racing feeder series are based in Europe, and perhaps that contributes to the issue. The only country outside of Europe and South America that really has a racing culture is Japan, and that is fast degrading. So I would like to see everyone represented in F1, as long as they deserved to be there based purely on talent.

      1. The only country outside of Europe and South America that really has a racing culture is Japan, and that is fast degrading.

        @vettel1 I’d include North America and Australia/New Zealand in that too. It’s a result of history. Cars came out of the West, and were adopted by those countries and other wealthy nations initially, and so racing was taken up by the rich minority. As racing is expensive, it’s no surprise that generally richer countries supply the majority of drivers, and that most of those drivers are white. Perhaps we need an FIA campaign in emerging countries (and any countries not supplying a proportionate amount of non-white racers). Call it ‘All races for all races’, or some such awful pun. Solved!

        There simply isn’t the racing culture in most countries, and they will always produce fewer drivers. The racing culture in places like Inida and China might develop over the next few decades given that cars are being used far more than they were even very recently, but I don’t know how you go about promoting it (the F1 race in China has limited impact after all).

  17. Yes, knowing Bernie, I’m sure he would like someone just like Danica in F1; an extremely beautiful bikini model that does some racing in her spare time. However, I for one don’t think we need armies of feminists tying themselves to the Monaco barriers as well the green freaks and the anti-Bahrain GP protesters. So whilst it is perceived as perfectly okay to use a pair of long legs to get you places in America, the same is not the case in Europe, where adding an anti-feminist dynamic to a dictatorial, extravagant, uneconomical and dangerous sport would not be appreciated.

  18. Ok Susie but remember that if you get a race drive through politics and fail massively that you will delay progress for female F1 drivers by years. I’d really rather we wait for a genuinely talented female driver. I don’t think it would be too long of a wait either.

  19. I love the Pope
    24th February 2013, 15:11

    I know my opinion is unpopular on this, but I just don’t get excited about woman drivers, or women’s athletics in general. Women’ s basketball, boxing, soccer…etc – all pale in comparison to the male versions. A huge part of racing for me is the manly duel or battle between the guys. The fact that they could die raises the intensity of it. It is why I played American football-for the chance to be a warrior battling other warriors like men should. I loved it and miss it. Why can’t guys be guys and enjoy sports and battle among guys? Why do we have to share something that is a part of who we are, when the door does not swing the other way? I have zero interest in female drivers. I hope to never see one and should there be one, I would not cheer for her in a million years. I’m just being honest. Would Senna v. Prost have been as intense if it were Senna v. Susie? It lacks the warrior element and just isn’t the same.

    1. I love the Pope
      24th February 2013, 15:13

      BTW, my wife loves F1 and she feels the same. She has never watched female sports and has no interest in a female driver. She played sports but is the first to say that guy’s sports are just plain better.

    2. Your differentiation between ‘girls sports and boys sports’ may hold for sports where the sexes are segregated – like football here in the UK. But it’s not the case in motor racing where women are allowed to compete with men. I see no reason why they shouldn’t and I hope in the future we see more of it.

      1. I Love the Pope
        24th February 2013, 21:03

        I understand your argument and I hope you understand mine. We have different views on the matter that I don’t think can be reconciled.

        1. I neither understand nor respect a point of view which dictates what people may or may not do based on whether they have a penis or not.

          1. Ha ! LOLed at that . +1. So what do you think about wolf ? Does she deserve a license based on her credentials ? Me thinks not !

          2. I Love the Pope
            25th February 2013, 15:43

            Sure you do, unless you believe men can be moms and women can be dads.

          3. I’m almost insulted you apparently think you can wrong-foot me by deliberately confusing “may” with “can”.

          4. I Love the Pope
            25th February 2013, 17:21

            Not at all, but since you agree with that point, all we do is go further than mere biology.

            That you do not agree with it is understandable. That you denigrate it as nonsensical is irrational.

          5. By your own admission, you’re trying segregate people for no reason. Biology doesn’t prevent women from competing in motor racing and you can’t make that so by wishing it, however much seeing girls and boys playing together makes your blood curdle.

            You’re the one who chose the word “nonsensical” to describe your views, not me, but I’d certainly go along with it. The irrational thing in this debate is your insistence that possession of a vagina should exclude someone from driving a racing car, as the two things are in no way related.

          6. I Love the Pope
            25th February 2013, 20:23

            Keith, you’re still missing it. We don’t believe that sex differences stop at the reproductive organs. Male and female are different – and the differences are soul deep. Equal in dignity? Yes. The same? No.

            It is far deeper than what you are giving it credit for. Again, I care not that you despise it, but to dismiss it, you’re going to have to go deeper, and I know that you won’t be able to.

          7. When you start inventing things like “souls” and using them to justify beliefs like this, you’re off into the territory of irrationality. I could say I believe all brown-eyed people are blessed with mystical flottlewanglers and only they are allowed to be team principals. It would be no different to you saying women shouldn’t be racing drivers because of their “soul deep” differences to men. Neither are views that should be entertained seriously.

    3. Then 1950s called, they said you were missing. Yeah, no, yeah. Something about outmoded opinions and not keeping up with the times?

    4. to be a warrior battling other warriors like men should

      – I guess you are not all that exited about having the army mixed nowadays then?

      Why can’t guys be guys and enjoy sports and battle among guys?

      – What if the gals want to enjoy sports as well then?

      I have zero interest in female drivers. I hope to never see one and should there be one, I would not cheer for her in a million years.

      – look back at the, admittedly only a few, excellent female drivers that have been in racing from the 1920s onward (living in the Czech Republic I would highlight Eliska Junkova ) who have been getting the respect from their fellow drivers not for their looks, or for being a rare female driver amongst men, but for their sheer ability behind the wheel.
      I have seen some footage, and would say its top level driving amongst the Nulovaris of the time.

    5. It is why I played American football-for the chance to be a warrior battling other warriors like men should

      I guess the army was too so-ed for your liking?

      1. David Langdown
        27th February 2013, 1:59

        Yes, and dressing up in all that body armour made you feel tough i suppose !

  20. Women drivers will enter F1 eventually, if they’re hard working and talented. Good looks and publicity should not be an issue. It sounds like Bernie is just rushing to get more headlines for the sport, but then again that is his job so you can’t complain too much.

  21. One name: Beitske Visser. I might be biased, since she is Dutch, But she dominated her karting seasons, won a fair amount of races in Formula ADAC last year, including one with a broken back the day after breaking it, which was the reason she missed a few races and didn’t end up finishing the season in the top 3.

    She’s racing in German F3 this year, and if she keeps winning, Bernie might want to keep a look out on her.

    1. Just looked thru the comments to see if anyone would mention Visser!
      She is by far the best young female talent in single seaters. I’m pretty sure we’ll see her in GP2 in the coming years.

  22. I say, Danica Patrick, and people immediately say ‘good looking’. I say Carmen Jorda, and people immediately say ‘hot’. I say Susie Wolff, and people immediately say ‘cute’.
    To me, this reeks of sexism, and as long as people do not get rid of this mentality, it will be difficult to look at female drivers on the same level as male drivers. I do believe that the female sex are on an average physically inherently less tough, but they have no mental deficiencies w.r.t. males, and with equal or slightly more training, women can be on the same level of men. There are female drivers like Alice Powell(2010 Formula Renault BARC champion), Samin Gomez(finished 7th in Formula Abarth last year), Beitske Visser(finished 8th last year in ADAC Formel Masters, winning 2 races despite missing some rounds) and Natasha Seatter(won Formula Gulf 1000 last year).
    We must treat them equally and only then will the aforementioned drivers come to F1, instead of less deserving drivers like Susie Wolff, Carmen Jorda, Vicky Piria and others whose appointment may lead to an increase in F1 viewing just because they turn up the ‘glam quotient’. Drivers are drivers, and talent comes BEFORE EVERYTHING ELSE.
    *P.S. I’m a male.

  23. Nick Jarvis (@)
    24th February 2013, 16:01

    The reason they are not in F1 is not sexism, it’s the lack of skill. If women can prove they are fast, they will surely be given a seat – they should not recieve a seat just because they are female, and should recieve no extra financial backing JUST because they’re female.

    1. I agree: perhaps women aren’t given the same opportunities as men currently and that should be ammended but I don’t want to see a female F1 driver just because she’s a female at the expense of a better male.

  24. If Danica Patrick would stop posing in swimsuits and doing risque’ commercials, I might have an ounce of respect for her. Instead, as soon as she obtained a small amount of notoriety, she objectifies herself and her body. Waaaaay to change female stereo-types there Danica. Now men will REALLY respect you in a male dominated sport. Hand me a basin, I’m going to be sick.

  25. Search for beitske visser, she seems to have some talent, she’s driving in German ADAC series.

    1. Now she’s in the ATS Formel 3 Cup.

  26. There is just one small problem with Wolff’s theory: any female driver in Formula 1 is going to need a certain amount of talent to recapture the “Danica effect”, and I can’t think of any female who could do it. Without that talent, cynics and critics are just going to assume that that woman is there to capitalise on sponsorship potential.

  27. I understand why you make comments such as a woman she be on the grid purely on merit but consider this. If you force the issue now in 20 years you will inspire the next generation to actually train and get to the position where they can genuinely compete on merit.

  28. Does anybody get the feeling that Susie Wolff is trying to set herself up to become “Formula 1’s Danica Patrick”? She’s been talking a lot of late about how she wants to get a superlicence, and the BBC is producing a documentary on her, and now these comments about what Ecclestone wants … it makes me wonder if she’s not lobbying for a seat of her own.

  29. As an aside, when are they going to get rid of the corridor of pretty girls in tight clothing before the podium celebrations? For such a modern sport, F1 is pretty backwards in some aspects.

  30. In Nascar she get’s bumped around, here she is getting taken out

    Here she try’s to take someone out, keeps way off the brakes and slams into the wall

    In Nascar oval racing you need to form alliances to bump and draft to get ahead, you need friends. It looks like she doesn’t have friends out there. Or brakes.

    Perhaps going into the pits would have been better than dropping smoke an oil on the last turn.

    I think she would do better in single seater but Indy is too deadly to drive in, and it might be too late to work her way up in europe. I hope she inspires young female drivers to keep trying to get ahead in the sport as F1 is all about characters from different countries with different styles and the great the mix of drivers / cars the more entertaining the racing is.

  31. Danica raced brilliantly with the guys at Daytona 500. She was rarely out of the top 10, led several laps and was in 3rd place starting the last lap, when she and Greg Biffle (2nd) got hung out to dry by the pack on the outside. She still finished 8th. I think that a pretty good statement of her abilty to race cleanly and well at over 190MPH. Credit where its due…she is a fighter. If she got a F1 test good luck to her. She has also won in Indycars.
    Sadly, I dont recall Susie Wolf ever showing this kind of form when she raced in DTM?

    1. I Love the Pope
      25th February 2013, 12:47

      She won once in Indy Car – was a massive disappointment overall.

  32. Bit off topic, but I see people speculating sometimes about how Danica Patrick would get on in F1. But that’s based on a rather arrogant assumption that she would even want to in the first place. Let’s face it, what would the draw be for her? She’d be leaving a sport where she’s got a genuine chance of winning, where she gets paid a huge amount of money, in favour of potentially having to pay for a spot in a backmarker team. NASCAR is (and I accept this may bruise the egos of F1 fans) a much bigger and richer sport than F1, and has a much fairer field of competition where genuine talent (which she has in spades) has the opportunity to be successful. You couldn’t even justify it by saying it would be a personal challenge; there are two, maybe three genuinely competitive teams in F1, none of which would be prepared to give her a set, and so she’d have no hope of winning a race let alone a championship. Where’s the appeal? To impress a bunch of Europeans?

    1. Thats a very good point!

  33. Well, it’s “for sure” that Susie Wolff is learning how to talk like an F1 driver ;-)

  34. The sheer feminism which pervades this whole article and the entire comments section is nauseating to say the least, and exacerbated by the fakeness that subtly transpires from many of the comments. Perhaps even more annoying is how nearly everyone participating in this discussion seems to consider Susie Wolff’s rise (if you can call it that) through the ranks of F1, and Danica Patrick’s pole position, as crystal clear indication of the social PROGRESS that the western worls has experienced and the strides the motorsport has made towards gender equality. This terribly cancerous notion is, of course, entirely based on the HUMONGOUS assumption that social progress requires gender equality.
    You people are all lying to yourselves and to eachother (hence the fakeness in some comments that doesn’t go unnoticed to the trained reader), because deep down we all know that only through commercial pressure (hence Bernie’s “massively pushing”) will a woman driver land a permanent F1 race seat, not through merit. Therefore ask yourselves: how can Bernie’s forcible placement of a woman in F1 be considered a victory for the gentle sex? It clearly isn’t, it’s not genuine, and it proves that you’re all lying to yourselves.
    And in the off-chance that we’ll have a woman driver in F1 in the near future, we ALL KNOW that her level of competitiveness will be NOWHERE NEAR not even Narain Karthikean’s 2012 achievements. Because all you feminists and fake feminists are clearly overlooking the fact that women have fundementally different physical characteristics, in this case inferior. That’s what makes the two genders distinct and, most importantly, complementary, and why gender equality should NEVER be used as the measuring stick of social progress, but rather of social REGRESS. And anyone who is angered, offended, or indignated by my innocuous remarks has reached a level of brainwashing that is beyond any hope of cure, particularly if that person is a man.

    1. @marciare-o-marcire
      Well, there’s lots of things (and I mean truly, really, lots of things) that could be said about that comment, but I’m afraid that no matter how I tried, I could simply never match its level of intelligence. Sometimes some statements are most eloquent when left to speak for themselves, I think.

      1. I was pondering whether to react to it at all, I clearly share with you @maciek that feeling of not being of the required level of understanding that comment.

        What I find astounding, is that in all that trained reading, it seems you have failed to notice the comments discussing whether Wolf, or for that matter Patrick would actually be good enough for F1 and how high a level of skill the actually possess, say compared to the best drivers but also to our grid filling drivers who are certainly not all there on just their driver abilities.

        1. you in that referring to the original poster of the comment

      2. Actually your statement is about as eloquent as the lamentations of an infant with a diaper full of crap. You literally said nothing, inferred nothing, concluded nothing.
        Then again, my logic is a rock-solid, impregnable fortress of intellectual fortitude so there really ain’t much you can say, infer, or conclude.

        1. yes, that comment certainly proves your point and it proves most of us are not on your level

    2. So mate, what do you think of female fighter pilots ?………..Inferior Yes ?

      1. Female human beings have inferior bodies and athletic prowess compared to male human beings, generally speaking, therefore the answer to your question is yes. Most female fighter pilots are physically less capable than male fighter pilots. Same goes for F1. What kind of dumb question is that anyhow? Last I checked, the olympic sporting events are separate for males and females, for obvious reasons. Your sarcasm is ineffective and unfounded.

        1. Given that being a fighter pilot (as is motorracing) is not about athletics, your comment does not make sense.
          Fitness level of females is not an issue for doing either of those. Nor is their speed, etc. There are some slight differences, but neither is inferior.

        2. David Langdown
          28th February 2013, 0:34

          Whilst you are busy comparing F1 driving with olympic athletes, female and male. Does it not even occur to you that Olympic athletes depend on their bodies alone and yes the male is stronger than the female ! However having the added assistance of a machine (jet fighter or racing car) the female, who’s logical brainpower is considered stronger, could have some advantage. Thanks indeed for your sarcasm.

          1. Really? And F1 drivers don’t depend on their bodies when they have to withstand 5G’s in a turn 60 times over 90 minutes? And 3/4Gs in braking multiple times per lap? I’ll bet that you wouldn’t last 5 of those laps before you start panting like a fool and your head snaps off from your neck. I’m very physically fit and I probably couldn’t last like 15. But I’m sure I could manage more than a woman, simply because women have different bodies, that’s all I’m saying, and you can’t deny that.

    3. Oh my God, guys.

      I’ve seen the light. This is a revelation. I finally realise what a brainwashed fool I’ve been!

      I can’t believe I spent all that time believing that women were equal to men when they were actually inferior all along! Curse you, feminists, for tricking me into believing in the evil ideals of equality and social justice! But no more! I finally understand how poisoned I’ve been by misandry and self-loathing!

      …or we could all actually have a really good point about social progress and harmful, outdated attitudes about women in F1 and you’re just a barmy misogynistic loudmouth – one of the two.

  35. Couple of years ago i was at the Malaysian F1. There was a young local ex-Pat girl driving in the Formula Ford (think thats correct) she was driving very well till some idiot ‘wanna be’ drove into the back of her. Talking with local ex-pats, they knew her and seemed to think that she was F1 material. She had been very successful in Asian go carts racing .Never heard of her since, has anybody ?

  36. There is a missed opportunity here. There are 2 teams who should take female drivers and can get a bucket load of sponsorship for it. I am of course talking about Marussia and Caterham. They are not competitive due to finances. They are seconds off the pace. So put in at least one female driver and no one will notice the difference in lap times, they just have to make the 107% rule. Then they can get the sponsorship that is lacking in F1. I am talking about the companies that cater for women. Makeup, fashion, and lots of other products that women use. Let it be a bit jokey. In the long run they would be able to afford to develop beyond the first race. They may even be able to get a budget of a midfield team.

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