Lotus hires Carmen Jorda as development driver

2015 F1 season

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GP3 driver Carmen Jorda has been appointed as development driver for Lotus.

The 26-year-old Spanish racer will work alongside the team’s third driver Jolyon Palmer as well as race drivers Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.

“It’s such a fantastic opportunity,” said Jorda. “I will be working to improve myself as a driver as well as helping the team to develop the car by testing new developments in the simulator.”

Jorda spent the last three seasons racing in GP3 and scored her best result, 13th, in her first year while driving for Ocean. After a season at Bamboo in 2013 Jorda moved to Koiranen for 2014, but cut short another point-less season with four races to go.

Her car was taken over for the final four races by Dean Stoneman, who took a pole position, two wins and a second place in it.

Jorda began her single-seater career in Spain’s Formula Three championship in 2006, achieved a handful of podiums in Euro F3 Open and conducted a partial Indy Lights campaign in 2010. She has not yet scored any FIA superlicence points.

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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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84 comments on “Lotus hires Carmen Jorda as development driver”

  1. Looks get you nowhere thesedays…

    1. only marriages to owner/directors of formula one teams…
      and lots of money, too…

    2. Funny this. A lot of the guys are good looking guys yet it’s never mentioned in the same way. It’s just a funny observation. I’m no feminist. Far from it. But this is actually a sexist thing I suppose? Looks gets you places as a male as well, yet it’s not mentioned in a derogatory way.

  2. I like how the last sentence basically deadpans “Carmen Jorda has no intention of racing in Formula One.”!

    1. Maybe that was exactly the intention of the proposed points system, to enable drivers without realistic hopes of making the grid become coffer filling “test and development” drivers @optimaximal (because those with hope should rather focus on getting points towards the licence)

  3. Lotus copying Williams and Manor? Another PR-only driver, with less chance of getting a race seat than rolling both sides in a coin toss, judging by her results.

    1. I’d guess she also brings some coin in. All in all not much different than what Palmer brings to Lotus or indeed even much of a difference from what Ericcson or a VdGarde has to offer Sauber and Caterham before that (and Chilton for Marussia).

      1. If Chilton actually paid up of course :)

      2. @bascb No, it is MUCH different, don’t compare race winners, podium and points scorers with her. It’s absurd.

  4. Embarrassing. She is absolutely useless in GP3, and I am pretty sure that even I could would be of more use from a development perspective, and I am completely dreadful! That’s a complete joke from Lotus.

  5. I’m almost surprised she isn’t also black, lesbian and handicapped…

    1. what a comment

    2. Well, clearly Dean Stoneman should be the development driver!

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        26th February 2015, 16:17

        And what about Esteban Ocon? Has he just been forgotton about in the Lotus stable?

        1. @fullcoursecaution He brings titles not money! The latter is what is required nowadays..

        2. Yeah, is Ocon forgotten or perhaps he has no cash to match his talent? Terrible situation…

          1. @pt why this anxiety about Ocon? He’s just done F3 and he’s 18. Why put him in F1 already, let alone in a development driver role? It’s much more valuable for him to race in GP3, FR3.5 or GP2. He can develop much better that way.

            It’s not because Verstappen rushed to F1 so ridiculously fast that it should become the norm.

      2. @mike Stoneman is a Red Bull junior. Doesn’t make sense to become Lotus development driver.

        1. An F1 development role plus GP3/GP2 drive wouldn’t do harm for Ocon’s career, would it? Jorda probably came with tons of cash, which got her that role…?

        2. True.

          My comment wasn’t meant to be a response.

    3. @xtwl haha brillliant! I nominate that for COTD.

  6. I guess this part

    Koiranen for 2014, but cut short another point-less season with four races to go.

    Her car was taken over for the final four races by Dean Stoneman, who took a pole position, two wins and a second place in it.

    pretty much sums up her prospects of getting closer to an F1 car than this. Shame Stoneman isn’t really in sight for an F1 drive or at least serious test.

    Then again, Wolff has shown that she can cut her own as a test and development driver and if Jorda can do the same (get close to the times of the regular drivers, or even Palmer) its not much different than a different driver paying to get some FP1 seat time, and over time we might get to see a really good female driver. I think F1 missed a good opportunity with DiSilvestro personally, she’d probably be at level with Saubers recent line ups.

    1. agree! i was totally rooting for de silvestro. if a woman could drive in F1, i believed she was the one!

    2. This is what makes me sad. Drivers getting results arent getting the opportunities. Meanwhile, people see this and go “see? Women are getting in just because they’re women, not on merit.” There are female drivers out there that are talented and getting results. Silvestro should be the one getting testing roles :(. She’s comparable to Hulkenberg: no podiums yet, but simply hasn’t been with the right team at the right time. And on her day, she’s up dicing with the top runners. St. Petersburg especially comes to mind.

      1. @joey-poey Isn’t it ironic that even amongst the women drivers that pay drivers trump real talents. When it is happening in all areas, it’s hard to say it’s not now endemic in the sport.

        1. Look up Ayla Agren. She seems to be doing alright (won the 2014 F1600 Formula Ford championship in the US, sealed by a great pass at Watkins Glen). A few years away from Indycar yet, but potential is there. If she repeats that performance in USF2000, there’s a full Mazda scholarship waiting…

  7. Just pointless PR, pun intended. dean stoneman took wins in the same car where she had zero points?

    1. in 4 races two wins and a second! she all season pointless!!!!
      really: choosing HER is insulting for the team and their fans!!!

    2. In Spa she was TEN seconds off the pace.

  8. Disappointing. I’d love to see a woman driver in F1, but this girl clearly doesn’t have the talent >.<

    "Her car was taken over for the final four races by Dean Stoneman, who took a pole position, two wins and a second place in it."

    I don't even…

    1. I agree.

      You can’t begrudge her taking the chance though, for her it’s fantastic. And I really hope she shows that I’m very, very wrong.

      But, Lotus’ decision isn’t even good for women in sports. All it says is that you can be a token part of the team that we use for advertising purposes. I hope she at least gets to drive the car out of her time there.

  9. I am sure that there there will be a lot of disapproving comments but I still believe that it is good that we see more female drivers knocking on the door of F1.

    I do not think that Jorda ever going to be a race driver – it would be bad if she got a race seat because of money or marketing reasons. But there is no reason why she cannot help the team develop the car in the simulator. I would even say that the role suits her better than it would suit a successful GP2/GP3 driver as young drivers with big potential should not waste their time in simulators with no hope of ever getting the race seat (remember Valsecchi?), they should race in one series or another.

    Jorda might not be a good race driver but it is good that people are getting used to seeing female drivers in F1. It is true that female drivers should get their seats on merit but I do not think it is ever going to happen if F1 is seen as a men’s world. So let Wolff, de Silvestro and Jorda pave the way for the female star drivers of future.

    1. I think I agree with that comment @girts (although I wouldn’t put Silvestro in the same line, I think she would have been at least at level with several recent Sauber drivers).

      Its not great to have a driver there only because the help the team meet the budget. But then again, having more women around is almost certain to help get a perception changed over time, and the budget needs topping up anyway.

    2. I think I agree with you. I’m not happy about the circumstances, and I think to us this isn’t gender equality shining through at all (even undermining the very idea) but to the lay-person, maybe hearing about it on the news? The little girl seeing her sat in the garage while her dad/grandad/brother is watching? I don’t expect Lotus to do this, but if F1 as a community are cool about this (instead of pious and self-congratulatory) it could be a good thing. I really hope it is.

  10. I don’t really have much of an issue with this as you don’t need to be a good race driver to be a good development driver as they require completely different skill sets.

    People complain about Susie Wolff been at Williams, But by all accounts she’s very good at what they have her doing with the development stuff in the sim & on the few runs she gets in the car.
    Perdo De La Rosa was the same, He may not have been one of the best race drivers but he was very good at what McLaren/Ferrari had him doing.

    1. they basically play
      video games for a living then?
      thats a dream j

  11. This sport we love is massively dominated by men from the bottom to the top, the reason isn’t because men are better at any of the things they are doing than a woman would be, from the mechanics in the pit lane to the blokes at top of the FIA. It’s the culture of sexism in the sport and unfortunately the world at large that we live in that discourages women in the first place.

    For there to be a woman working/competing at this level is a good thing. Im not saying she’s gonna be the next world champion, Im not saying she’s even that good at driving, but for young women seeing her and Susie Wolff up there driving F1 cars very slightly breaks the men only mould that F1 and motor racing in general has always had.

    1. I would really like to one day find a story about a female driver beating the boys in her series and not getting the recognition and help she deserves.So far, I’ve only witnessed the opposite with women being bumped up through the ranks for publicity and sponsorship.
      I feel motorsport is generally very much result oriented and have seen no problems with discrimination or racism at the higher levels i follow.Maybe there is at lower levels, I wouldn’t know.
      If you can prove you’ve got what it takes, that you can get the results , I believe you stand the same chance being a man/woman or white/black.

      1. @wally02avg De Silvestro led Indy Lights for most of the season, only getting pipped to the title in the last few rounds. However, after some success in Indycar, she tried to move into F1 with Sauber, but that went awry when they needed to sign Nasr & Ericsson just to survive. Bianchi and Van der Garde was the mooted driver line-up pre-Suzuka.

      2. See my comment above about F1600.

      3. If it’s so result orientated, why are there other pay drivers and click-bait signings? Why are so many talented drivers overlooked, male or female?

    2. What an inspiration for young women!

      “If I become beautiful and rich I can be 19 seconds off-pace after 3 years in GP3!”.

    3. So she should have priority over men solely because she doesn’t have a penis? Talking about sexism, dude.

      There’s no sexism culture, there’s merely no interest in women in racing and it’s okay to recognize that. It’s not like the terrorist win if there aren’t any female or male representation in a particular field.

      1. Saying there isn’t a culture of sexism in F1 is just massively untrue, generally the only women I see when watching F1 are presenting it, grid girls in mini skirts or girls lining the corridors clapping after the race and then standing next to the podium, which the main reason I switch off as soon as the race has finished!

        If you think that promotes women in motorsport and isn’t sexist and objectifying towards them then I don’t know what is.

        1. My girlfriend, rightly so, demands that if a female ever does drive in a race they should get a grid guy instead.

    4. People should get into Formula One on merit. If that means that only men get in, then that isn’t sexism.

      1. Ok, Im slamming my head against the wall here, but I will say it nonetheless.

        There is a culture of sexism meaning that it’s thought that only men can drive an F1 car and be successful in it, if you think that given equal opportunity, encouragement and belief in their ability a women couldn’t compete with men then Im afraid to tell you that’s a sexist point of view. What I have said here is referring to a much bigger picture than Carmen Jorda who I admit doesn’t seem like a great talent. If there was equal opportunity then there would be numerous Women in motorsport, however what a lot of people seem to be blind to is the huge extent of sexism within all aspects of life, let alone F1!

        I post my comments with respect and don’t want to cause arguments, feminism is a subject close to my heart and couldn’t help but wade in! I may well go back to a purely reading stance now, ta.

        1. @_ben_ But even with equal opportunities, you can’t deny the percentage of men / women who love motorsports will always result in having more male drivers than female ones. Add to that that just the most talented ones , and lately the richest ones, thrive in F1 and motorsports in general.
          Furthermore, paid drivers have also been criticized here, because people fairly think they are teking the spot of more talented drivers. That’s why I agree with having the FIA points to become an F1 driver (while I don’t agree with its distribution itself) so teams stop hiring female drivers like this one, who looks not being able to improve after 3 seasons. There’s female talent outside, that’s the one who should get the attention from teams, not Carmen .

          1. fairly as justice… sorry

          2. petebaldwin (@)
            26th February 2015, 20:10

            @_ben_ – I absolutely 100% agree that women can be as good at F1 as men. In regards to being given opportunities in the sport, it begins with karting for most people. I used to kart regularly and I can only remember seeing a handful of women competing against me in races throughout the decade I was racing.

            I would love to see women involved more in motorsport but it has to be done in the right way. If there is a culture of sexism and people thinking “women shouldn’t drive in F1” etc, what good is it putting women in a car who will be miles off the pace? It will only deepen the feelings that these sexist people have. If she was a man, would she be in F1? No. Would she be in GP3? Probably not…

            Simona De Silvestro is a good racing driver. Whether she is good enough for F1 remains an unanswered question but she deserves a chance. Jorda doesn’t.

            I guess my main issue is that bringing women into the sport because of PR reasons is only going to deepen the sexist views that many have. Why is she in F1 and not De Sivestro? I think I could have a good guess… It’s easy to say “money” but why has she found backing but not De Silvestro?

        2. My apologies, I worded that very poorly.

          If the best drivers in the world get into Formula One, and the best drivers in the world are all men, that isn’t sexism.

          There are women who aren’t drivers in motorsport and nobody cares about that.

          1. Sorry to tell you, but you’re wrong. You can’t base your argument on ‘ifs’.

            There simply isn’t enough evidence to even suggest, for the briefest instance, that women ‘might’ not be good enough. Because, as stated above, girls aren’t encouraged at a young age to try it. Eventually, numbers will start to even up at karting level. But even then we won’t really know, because not everyone wants to hire women, because they don’t think they’re good enough. For example:

            I had a looooong twitter argument with a guy who used to be an editor of a US motorsport magazine. He categorically stated he didn’t think women should work ANYWHERE in motorsport. Wielding spanners, facing drawing boards, or behind steering wheels.

            And when women are employed, its often for the wrong reasons. I don’t blame Carmen Jorda, because if I was in her situation I’d jump at the chance too, with the hope I might just prove someone wrong (people criticising my talent, or just women in general). Unfortunately, I think she’s been hired for the same reason we have grid girls. But whilst they are exactly what they look like, this has been dressed up as something else. And even when women perform, there always seems to be people ready to charge them with the same crime: its a PR thing; Its just for show; They’re not that good really; A man would do that job better.

    5. I think that there is an element of men having advantages over women, however small it is. Whilst in general life women can very easily be better at men that sport, when you get to the absolute top level men tend to have a slight edge – whether it’s a 100m sprint, football, tennis, or even golf, there tends to be a slight edge to men, whether that’s a slight physical edge, a slightly quicker reaction time, etc. – even if it’s only a 0.2% edge to men, that’s going to make the difference when you are up against the very best in the world, which is why most sports have to have separate categories for men and women.

      I remember the story of Michele Bumgarner, a female driver from the Philippines – she won the Asian karter of the year two years running in 2003 and 2004, and in 2005, after moving to Europe, established herself as one of the best karters in the world, with people talking about her making it to F1 eventually. She made her car racing debut in 2006 and finished a promising third in the Asian Formula Three Championship. However, by the time she got to series with high levels of competition she seemingly faded into insignificance, with a best finish of 15th in 2008 Star Mazda Championship season. While she was an extremely talented and quick driver, as you get higher and higher up the motorsport ladder the competition is so tough that a great driver can be made to seem very average, and the very marginal differences between men and women become increasingly significant as drivers become separated by tenths and hundredths of a second.

      However, that said, I think it’s certainly possible for women to race in F1 – de Silvestro is an example of a woman who I feel could have cut it in F1. Outside F1, Danica Patrick is another women who is a capable top-level racer. And let’s not forget that Susie Wolff was only 0.2s slower than Massa in her practice session at Germany. Despite all the criticism aimed at drivers like Wolff and now Jorda, I think that their development roles are a positive thing: a message needs to be sent out to the coming generations that it’s not completely impossible for a woman to be involved in F1 (or motorsport in general), because currently, the talent pool of women is much smaller than that of men. While the nature of the high-adrenaline world of motorsport means that the male talent pool will always be larger, IMO a large part of the small female talent pool is because for a long time there seems to have been a general belief that women cannot race competitively in F1 or other top-level motorsports. If more young girls had dreams of racing in F1 and had a go at their local karting track, creating a bigger talent pool, then we would have a greater chance of finding more female superstars who could cut it in F1.

      I don’t think that the best driver in the world can ever be a women, just because of the very marginal differences between men and women. However, I think those differences are small enough that finding a woman who can be competitive in F1 is definitely possible.

      1. You’re first argument falls short when we consider whether F1 is solely the domain of the very best drivers…

        1. Well, yeah @mike. But it itsn’t, otherwise I doubt we would have Ericsson on the current grid, and for that matter Will Stevens if Manor indeed make it to the grid this year, and I doubt we would have had a Nasr, Guttierez, Sutil, VdGarde, Chilton, Chandhok and Bruno Senna. etc driving recently.

          Yes, Jorda is not even close to either of them in what she has shown so far. But its nothing new that teams appoint drivers for other reasons than their raceing skills. Many bring money, some have been taken on for PR (in new countries for example), or just for their names. Reality is most of the test drivers aren’t there to eventually have a chance at a race seat anyway.

  12. Can’t help but wonder whether giving female drivers with such appalling records a chance harms the image of women in motorsport more than it helps.

    Still… good luck to her, and hope it turns out she has the necessary skillset to be a tester.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      26th February 2015, 20:13

      Sadly I think it does. If your view is “women are not capable of driving an F1 car”, someone or something is going to have to happen to change your view. Jorda crawling around a few seconds off the pace isn’t going to be that thing. If anything, it’ll confirm the beliefs.

    2. Best comment on this page.

  13. I have to agree with @neilosjames above. If there was a motorsport series for female drivers only (and if it would draw best available female drivers), Carmen Jorda wouldn’t be successful there either.

  14. Was not expecting this from Lotus, because in the past few years their ‘test and development drivers’ haven’t really been all that bad. I understand Lotus needs the money, it’s just a shame that it’s usually at the expense of another driver with more F1 potential (Palmer in this case).

    1. @andae23 is she really taking away a seat? Palmer retains his seat and she is “just” and add-on that pays for it. So I don’t see how that’s a bad thing – if she’d buy a race-seat then it would be different but imo, being reserve driver isn’t really much of a job these days anyway.

      1. @tmf42 If she won’t do any actual testing, than no. It’s just a bit silly how Lotus thinks she has a chance of getting an F1 seat.

      2. Well, Palmer himself is only in the seat because he pays too though @tmf42!

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          26th February 2015, 20:16

          Whilst that may be true, no-one can say he doesn’t deserve to be involved in F1. Paying for a seat is just how F1 is and will be whilst Bernie is still alive.

          1. So where then is the difference with Jorda @petebaldwin?

  15. I most thoroughly approve….

  16. I wonder what’s the bigger number, the number of times I blink in a day or the number of drivers who are more worthy of this role…

  17. She has more than enough talent and promise to be in F1. With a little more experience she’ll fast enough to drive the drivers parade truck.

  18. We probably must look closely at high resolution pictures of the Lotus. Perhaps we may spot the sponsor or sponsors that led to Jorda getting the development driver role.

  19. She is HOT!!

    1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      26th February 2015, 19:59

      @cosmas and that’s the approach Lotus board must have used to hire her.

  20. Ok she may be rubbish at car racing, after a brief research on google image I can only say, welcome to F1 Carmen!

  21. What’s the surprise here? This is the team that replaced Raikkonen with Maldonado.

  22. Im going to show myself as chauvinist here because as soon as i read the story I googled her as i knew nothing about her and as soon as I saw her picture I decided to choose images over the articles. Im not going to deny it she is very pleasent on tthe eye. After finally getting round to reading about her it seems that Lotus may have been hoping more people would looks at her pictures rather than read about her results. I hope F1 does not stay down this route as its hard to argue its a sport as it it.

  23. Wow!…best position 13th in 3 years.She should set the F1 world on fire!

  24. Stick with modeling and let the racers race.

  25. I totally get that F1 is male-dominated, and there should be equal opportunity for all genders, races, etc. I also get that it might be hard for a woman to work her way up through lower categories because of sexism. But if we’re trying to get to the point where gender doesn’t matter, isn’t giving someone preferential treatment based on their gender doing more harm than good? If I was a driver who was doing better than Jorda in GP3, and better deserved to be a Lotus development driver, even if I wasn’t sexist, I’d start to push back. Moves like this just make things worse. Too bad when there are many ways of actually making it better.

  26. According to Wikipedia she will be the 11th female to actually drive an F1 car in either testing or an actual Grand Prix. Maria Teresa de Filippis was first and it could be argued that Desire Wilson was the best.

  27. So surely there would/could be 10,000×10,000 super skilled Sim racers that would/could develop an F1 car by doing 7 gazzillion laps in turns , wha? money? you Have to PAY to be a simulator driver ? bugger me, !

  28. I don’t believe there is a culture of sexism in F1, despite Ben wasisface’s droning on about it. There are female engineers and team principles throughout the pitlane, My own sister used to build the Ferrari F1 engines back in the early 2000’s and never had a problem with it. With regards drivers, there simply haven’t been any competitive female drivers come along for a while that, quite frankly, deserve the opportunity. It isn’t about whether or not women are capable of driving in F1 competitively. I don’t think anyone REALLY thinks that women aren’t physically/mentally capable enough. De Silvestro may make the breakthrough (although 1 podium in 50 odd Indy races isn’t particularly spectacular), but ‘contractual issues’ scuppered that chance with Sauber.

    With regards Jorda, maybe she will turn into a brilliant “development” driver, maybe she will surprise in an actual F1 test as Mrs Woolf has to a certain extent, we don’t know. But positive discrimination has no place on the grid of an F1 race.

  29. mmm all this got me thinking… how about the F1 drivers sit out of the last race and the grid-girls drive their cars instead; for Double Points !
    how about that for a Season Finale uncle Bernie???

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