Susie Wolff, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015

Ecclestone considering championship for women

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Susie Wolff, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone has suggested to F1 teams they could run a separate championship for women to race in.

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Bernie Ecclestone keen to explore the idea of grands prix for female drivers (The Guardian)

"Ecclestone wants to look at the idea of an all-women world championship, with the races taking place before the main event on Sunday afternoons."

Hamilton calls for clarity over Alonso crash (The Telegraph)

"Charlie Whiting, the experienced race director, then took Hamilton to one side after the meeting to reassure the Mercedes driver there was no evidence the McLaren failed at the Circuit de Catalunya last month."

FIA post-race press conference - Malaysia (F1)

"I was shitting myself the last couple of laps because here and there the thought was coming to my head, I was looking at the top of the chassis and thinking 'this is a red, you’re about to win' and then I thought, 'OK, stop thinking that, otherwise you’ll miss the next apex or something'."

Ferrari win good for F1 - Wolff (F1i)

"They have won the race. It wouldn’t be right to say that we have lost it. In hindsight it’s easy to be clever."

Fernando Alonso: “I want to be in pole position, not second... (Adam Cooper's F1 Blog)

"To beat Mercedes you need to do something special, not to follow them, because if not you will be behind all the time."

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Comment of the day

A point worth remembering about the team radio clips we hear during the broadcasts:

It bothers me that people pick on radio transmissions – regardless if it’s about Vettel, Hamilton or anybody else complaining over the radio. These guys drive cars that pull 4-5Gs, pumped with adrenaline with a high heart-rate and lots of stuff to concentrate on – that they don’t always sound calm and collected should never be held against them.
TMF (@Tmf42)

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  • 129 comments on “Ecclestone considering championship for women”

    1. Michael Brown
      30th March 2015, 0:12

      Agree with COTD. Ever been interrupted while focusing? Not pleasant, is it? As long as it isn’t personal between driver and engineer, there isn’t anything to worry about.

    2. No no no, that’s the opposite of equality! Such a backward idea!

      1. Paul (@frankjaeger)
        30th March 2015, 0:39

        How so? I’m not disagreeing per say, just interested.

        Off the top of my head, I’d say since Motorsport is such a male dominated sport and it’s tough for women to break through to the highest formulas, wouldn’t a women’s championship be aiding equality and promote female motorsport in the long run? It’s an untapped oil well. Plus, some people argue that the biological differences between genders cause a performance disparity, hemming women from entering fairly competing with men

        1. The current formula which seems to advantage lighter drivers should suit women, when compared to previous eras when upper body stength was key but yet there are very few women at levels even close to F1. If the female championship used identical cars or at least machinary they could benchmark against those in the primary championship it might be that in ten years time there was no need for said championship, with women having proven they are worthy.

        2. I think that it would only further the paradigm that women are inferior to men. This isn’t rugby, yes women are not as naturally strong but as someone above points out, being light is crucial nowadays. Susie’s incredibly light. Also, as there are just fewer female racing drivers the grid would probably not be of high quality. Though maybe it could serve to help really great female drivers; they would get considerably more respect if they won races in GP2 instead.

          1. You’re right, it’s not rugby, it’s far more dangerous than rugby. With the huge focus on marketing at the moment if there was a female with anywhere near the necessary speed for F1 they would most likely have already found themselves in a racing seat. As this hasn’t I can only assume that the differences in male and female human physiology are enough that females as with every other sport perform at a different level than males. I’m all for equality but differences in physical traits cannot be equalised.

            1. With the huge focus on marketing at the moment if there was a female with anywhere near the necessary speed for F1 they would most likely have already found themselves in a racing seat. I can only assume that the differences in male and female human physiology are enough that females as with every other sport perform at a different level than males.

              I think that’s a false and unnecessary assumption. False because I don’t think we’ve seen anywhere near enough women racing drivers at the junior levels to make that claim. You might as well take the example of Hamilton as one of very few black racing drivers and say all people from his ethnic background are likely to be world champions. Either way you’re drawing an unreliable conclusion based on too little data.

              And unnecessary because if you want to draw conclusions about people’s physiological limitations, that can be done by assessing their physical capabilities instead of making this kind of logical leap.

              It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that in a sport which has historically been administered by and competed in almost exclusively by men, women have found it difficult to be taken seriously as participants, because we see so many examples of this in other walks of life: in other sports, in industry, in the media and so on. We know about the overt sexism faced by the tiny few women who have raced an F1 car, and I find it hard to believe that’s not the tip of an iceberg.

            2. @keithcollantine Really? The appointment of Carmen Jorda to the position of development driver for Lotus is evidence that my statement is true and necessary. As for your statement regarding Hamilton’s race, this only goes to support my views that physiology plays a huge role in this argument, look at the final of a 100m sprint race at the Olympics.

              If you want to wait for generations before enough women take up the sport in the junior leagues to find that special combination of skills that will make them a formidable F1 driver then by all means. I would rather see women driving the same equipment within the next few years rather than the slim possibility of one female driver being able to arrive at the pinnacle of the sport in 10-15 years time.

            3. The most dangerous sport, statistically, is equestrianism. Many of the sporting fields in equestrianism are integrated-gender.

            4. Bernies idea is not all that bad. I support it not because of equality issue but because it’s one way to get women into racing.

            5. @Ross you are wrong… there are no major physical differencies and a huge examble is that there are Woman Fighter Plane pilots that are pretty damn good in that.

            6. Ross, I think you’ve failed to grasp the concept @keithcollantine was explaining. Because again you’ve taken a single person (Carmen Jorda) and used her to demonstrate that women will never be as good as men. Surely you can see how that’s an absurd leap?

              Your example of the finalists of the mens 100m at the Olympics is also flawed. That two thirds of the finalists came from just two countries says more about what makes a good sprinter than the colour of their skin.

              My background is in military aviation, and I can assure you that women are just as capable at working in high-G environments (higher, and more sustained, than in F1) with very high spatial and technical workloads (again, higher than in F1) as men. The things holding women back in motorsport are the lack of opportunities, the lack of funding, and the perception that “it’s a boys thing”.

              Fix those before getting teams struggling financially to spend even more money.

        3. Next up, not only a gender world championship, but a race championship.
          You see where this is going, right?

      2. So we should get rid of the womens golf and tennis tours too? I have advocated this for years, it would give us more f1 racing and help to compare the cars, i suggest each mens f1 team has 1 car entered (same race crew) and a 20 lap race.

      3. Not only that, look how many women are near the top of the motorsport ladder. Very few. It would either be a tiny grid, or a normal grid with very little talent.

        This is just another Bernie brain-fart.

        1. @jarnooo you’ve got to start from somewhere tho. If there’s a championship for women, more would be interested in the sport. Just like any team with 2 genders (tennis, volley).

          It’s hard for men to get a place in the top sport, imagine for a woman. If they put up a good show in a parallel championship, maybe they would start a career. Don’t limit your thoughts to F1 only, maybe a Le Mans team would pick them, or GT racing somewhere.

          I think as a way to promote the sport to a broad audience, that’s the best idea Bernie has come up, ever.

          1. If you are going to have a women-only series, it would be better to have one as a “intro to car racing” series, as a network of national series with perhaps a couple of international invitationals, that invite the best racers from each country to compete together and push their limits. Put in place the networking and sponsorship assistance that would be needed to balance the two areas where women face a demonstrable disadvantage over men in motorsport, get quality driver managers interested in helping out, and there would in a few years be an outpouring of female talent.

            Of course, for this to work, the women would need to face men early and often. Doing multiple series and disciplines seems to help racers develop regardless of their gender, so it would be useful for there to be “wildcard” entries for some men in some of the “women-only” championship rounds, and also to encourage the women to add some integrated-series races to their racing seasons, even before applying to GP3/F3/[insert next series here].

            (Le Mans and GT series tend not to have this problem so much because there is a history of women coming through sportscar feeder series, at least in some countries. Most years there is at least one woman who shows competently well in Le Mans).

          2. So they should have a men’s only netball championship?
            Women are generally less interested in becoming racing drivers. Having a women’s only racing championship isn’t going to make a 6 year old girl get into karts over what most girls are into. The same way having a men’s only netball competition isn’t going to make 6 year old boys play netball. Excuse the examples, they are all I could think of lol.

            1. There already is a men’s only netball international championship – no “should have” about it. It’s a particuarly popular sport for men in Australasia, though even there it’s a minority sport. Australia has mixed-gender netball teams as well, just to complete the possible combinations. The International Federation of Netball Associations has not caught up with these events, which have occurred within the course of the last decade, and these teams compete in a framework devised by the International Men’s and Mixed Netball Association.

        2. :-) or, his own wife`s

        3. Very true. Even the women who started the Formula E season have been replaced now. There doesnt seem to be much talent out there.

      4. I think that female series could be interesting… unless the driver’s parade is done in bikinis.

        1. Right, much better without bikinis.

          1. gustavo maia
            30th March 2015, 3:08

            Dont be that optimistic. Just consider that they could, at some point, replace gridgirls with gridboys in speedos.

            1. If you are going for equality, I would suggest that gridboys be the norm for a female driver….

            2. Let’s just hope there’s no race in Thailand or it would get very confusing!

            3. @abbinator I have worked in Thailand, and been at the racetracks very often. There has indeed been Gridboys, and they weren’t dressed as women.

            4. @mike If you’re going for equality, then get rid of the disgustingly sexist and antiquated concept of grid boys/girls fully.

            5. @fluxsource

              …. Is it sexist if you have half of them grid boys instead of girls?

          2. OMG! Toto would rightly block such idea.

      5. It’ll take a while, but it is inevitable that a woman will break into F1 and succeed. There is no reason why this won’t happen. A separate series may promote women racers in the short term, but would it cause promising young talent to be funneled into that series instead of being given a fair shot at breaking into F1? That’s the main issue I’d have with it. I’d like women in F1, and anything that may actually detract from that has to be a negative.

        1. @colossal-squid But isn’t it sort of like Tennis? Serena Williams might be capable of being a lot of male Tennis stars in a match, but it’s not as though she will all of a sudden join men’s single championship. The the F1 women’s be the top of the ladder for them, like F1 is for te drivers right now. I think it’s a great idea compared to the bullfeces Bernie has recently come up with.

        2. Maybe there are physiological reasons why women have a hard time competing with men in racing. I must admit that I know nothing about the subject, but if this is the case, I think they should have their own series.

          1. Not really. The main area in which women are less physically capable than men is in explosive energy (vital to sprint running, football and similar pursuits). There is very little use of explosive energy in motor sport, unless your car breaks down 20 m before the finish line.

            From a physiological perspective: motor sport requires a somewhat lower level of energy output that is then sustained over a long period of time (pretty similar between men and women, with individual difference mattering more than gender), endurance of such things as temperature and extraneous noise (not studied to such a great extent, but what is there suggests women are slightly better at it on average), skill at directing multiple muscle groups at the same time in response to stimuli (ditto, but with more effect from individual differences) and manual dexterity for the steering wheel controls (which is basically decided at indivdual level, and is the most trainable of the traits mentioned).

            1. There is very little use of explosive energy in motor sport

              That is laughably false. Try turning the steering wheel left, right, left, right.. very fast to, say, correct a potential slide/oversteer in a high speed corner; which happens in microseconds, – is essentially exactly explosive energy released instinctively. I am not saying women can not do this, I am just saying you are wrong and explosive energy has a lot to do in racing. But its not only explosive speed, energy and instinct, its ones ability to control it. I have no doubt women can do it, but is it a fare comparison – is an argument that will not be resolved in this discussion.

            2. The amount involved isn’t as high as the explosive-energy-intense sports. As sports go, the “explosive” side is pretty unimportant in motor racing. If the racer has enough explosive energy capacity to pass the 5-second cockpit escape test (the sheer speed of which requires more than just “sustained energy”), they’ve probably got enough for the situation you describe.

              The reason it’s significant is that there’s thousands of these corrections with practically no rest unless the circuit boasts a long straight – which is why “sustained energy output” and “directing multiple muscle groups in reaction to stimuli” are rather more important to motor racing than “explosive energy”.

      6. No its not. Do women run with men in the 100m at the olympics. Were not equal biologically.

        1. That’s true. However motorsport and 100m are very different. There have been many successful female drivers, just not so much in F1. I think the argument that women couldn’t compete with men in F1 is silly.

          1. I believe the combination of strength, co-ordination and the “killer” instinct which statistically favour those with higher testosterone levels during early childhood development. There’s quite a bit of science behind it. Have a look at “digit ratio” research. It’s quite interesting but unfortunately females are at a statistical disadvantage in these areas when compared to males.

            1. @drone The strength needed to run a F1 can be reached by both genres; men have no known superior coordination than women, as for the testosterone story, well, it surely counts, but I also fail to see any ‘killer’ instinct in some drivers.

              At the end of the day, I’d promote lower series to attract more females and test capabilities on track. I’d surely not reduce the problem to some supposedly needed characteristics. After all, women have their own strengths which could very well serve them in a race.

      7. Actually I don’t think it’s bad. But I expect many people opposing it, including women arguing this is discriminatory.

      8. Well, equality of rights is achieved differently depending on the situations. You don’t expect women to pee in urinals, right? You don’t expect men to breastfeed children, right? You don’t expect women to be as physically strong as men, right? You don’t expect men to be easily able to voice-act a child, right?

        Equality is a tricky thing when there is no equality to begin with. It’s equality of rights, not equality of condition.

      9. Chess is very similar to F1: theoretically there shouldn’t be a huge difference between men and women, yet the top women are much worse than the top men. In the end of the day a women-only series serves the purpose to encourage women to join the sport, the most talented won’t just stay there, they’ll try to move into the real series.

        1. An Oxford University study found that 96% of the difference between male and female scores in chess could be accounted for by the fact that more men play chess (link: http://www.clickliverpool.com/culture/culture/122587-chessmen-or-chess-women.html ), this being in a setting where the ratio involved is around 16:1. Given the ratio of 16-year-olds with a racing licence is 49:1 in favour of men, a 99.66% difference could statistically exist with zero explanation needed from alternative sources.

          1. You just argued yourself out of the point you were trying to support. Under that notion, statistically and inevitably same would be the case with F1. There will always be more males than females eager and hungry to express and/or satisfy their need and aggressiveness to race/compete – this is just something males do by default from young age. Look at young men/buys growing up and compare that to young women. Using your logic, males will dominate the sport and will continue to always raise the bar higher and higher and higher… and again, based on sheer numbers, women will continue to be disadvantaged because there simply isn’t enough of them. So whichever way you look at it, in the current system, women are disadvantaged.

            So, the only way to reduce the gap is to promote women into racing, and one way to do that is to create a new series.

            1. Not at all. The statistic that fewer women than men compete in motor racing says absolutely nothing about why they do so (I have a number of theories and none of these are biological in nature). It simply shows that one cannot argue that one gender is more or less capable than the other because the largest amount such a factor could account for would be 0.34%.

          2. At last. A straight forward analysis without any sexual bias. Of course statistics only work if the sample size is large enough and that is what is completely missing at the current time.

            Now let’s take a look from the long term perspective. More opportunities for women to race means more chances to develop the skills and expertize to a higher level. Bernie’s suggestion promotes some encouragement to develop women drivers as much as possible. Long term i would not expect the number of female drivers in a 20 car F1 Grid to reach 10, but at least, in say 2040, in 25 years , I would expect it to be greater than two. So four to six would be my hope but I also believe we will never get there without a women’s only series that provides the ladder to recognize and encourage the girls with the desire to to be the best they can be the chance to show their skils and get the financial backing to push themselves to higher series and eventually to a Women’s F1 World Championship.

      10. This is yet another bad idea in the bad idea mine Bernie’s been working this weekend. The sports most similar to motorsport – sailing and equestrianism – feature largely mixed fields (if, in some cases, gender-separated medal tables and, in sailing’s case, a few boat classes for one gender only). WEC has an integrated field without problems (albeit without many notable female successes either). Rallying and DTM have had successful women in both driver and co-driver seats. F1 had some women compete in it a few decades ago, doing as well as could reasonably be expected given their equipment.

        If F1 decides not to admit women, by forcing them into some support event, then it is not only being discriminatory, it is implying it is scared of the possibility of potential equality in a manner that it did not used to be and other similar series and sports are not.

      11. There are not enough female talent because there is no opportunities. Can you imagine a father telling to his young daughter to focus on racing because there is world of opportunities to take advantage of?

        Creating a parallel championship for women is in my opinion a great idea, this means that opportunities will appear and with time more and more women will get interested and the talent sooner or later will star to appear, by then if they star to match men in the same sort of machinery there is no doubt in my mind that the teams will star to promote their female drivers to the “main” championship.

        Yes it doesn’t seem the better idea of equality, but we have to start somewhere. They can even use cars from the previous year and use the data for development. I can take a lot of positives from this to be honest, we just have to think in the long term

        1. don’t know I start was replace with star – sorry about that

        2. bob's lawblog
          31st March 2015, 14:54

          I can’t imagine anyone encouraging their child, male or female, to focus on racing because of the wealth of opportunities, largely because there is no such wealth.

      12. In case the women championship would be introduced, I don’t even know if we would get a big grid. As far as I know these are the only ladies with decent open wheel experience who could compete in this series:
        – Susie Wolff
        – Beitske Visser
        – Tatiana Calderon
        – Danica Patrick
        – Simona de Silvestro
        – Michela Cerruti
        – Katherine Legge
        – Pippa Mann
        – Carmen Jorda
        – Ana Beatriz
        – Milka Duno
        – Vicky Piria

        1. A female F1 champiosnhip would be awesome.

          The first year, there would not be a lot of talent, but over the years, the quality of the field should improve.

          If enough talented women end up in WF1 (yes yes, I already have a name for it), they could merge the two formulas.

      13. I can’t make up my mind if it is a good idea, or a horrible idea. If it is used as a development series, then maybe it’s a good idea, but if it’s used to keep women out of the main game then it is a horrible idea. Being skeptical, I’m sure Bernie just sees it as a way to make a quick buck.

        I would like to see a Formula 1 where men and women compete head to head on talent. Would be amazing. For that it ever happen though, as many females as males need to be getting drawn into the sport as children, and being karters.

      14. I don’t think it’s that bad an idea, but having a separate f1 championship would only really appear to make the point that women aren’t as good as men and have to have their own formula 1 championship instead. How about an all female junior formula which would allow for qualification for a super licence instead meaning an increased pool of qualified female drivers for teams to consider.

    3. I agree with the COTD. Listen to any driver in any racing series, and you will here the complaining, cursing, and throwing the team under the bus every once in awhile. I think it would be more concerning if a driver was never like that, then you can question his motivation to win.

    4. Now THAT’S an interesting idea. A women’s F1 championship would help a lot of women trying to be sucessful in the sport. And it’d bring a lot of sponsors too.

      Sure it’d be better not to force things and make the path to F1 easier for girls, but considering these days a women racing at the top doesn’t seem likely, a separate championship wouldn’t be bad. Maybe they can run old spec cars.

      I’d watch that. Maybe if one of them is very good, she’d picked up.

      1. I’d watch it too. Especially if it was a genuine F1 series.

      2. @fer-no65, I agree it’s an interesting idea. In chess, where there are also no apparent reasons why men and women should perform differently, there are also a few women’s tournaments, and the idea is not controversial there, as women can also compete in the men’s tournaments.

        However, the implementation into motor racing is a bit more difficult. For one, racing cars is a lot more expensive than setting up some chess boards, and what level of cars should this women’s championship be at, GP2? Does there need to be a whole feeder series for female racers? Filling the grid with decent drivers might also be a problem.

        Still, it could be a good place to start.

      3. Indeed. To be fair to Bernie, in pretty much every other sport the two are separated and no one screams inequality.

    5. Graham (@guitargraham)
      30th March 2015, 0:30

      re womens championship: drag reduction system takes on a whole new meaning

      1. Imagine if Hispania Racing Team (HRT) were an entry…

    6. Would the advertising be for women too?

      Tena Lady, Always, Aldays and such?

      1. I would expect the audience to remain male dominated.

      2. I thought those were Rosberg’s personal sponsors…

        1. Ba dum, tsss ;)

    7. gustavo maia
      30th March 2015, 0:34

      Expanding on the female drivers, the point is whether they were fit or not to compete. They just did not went throught the previous selection of junior categories.
      It took 20 years to brazilians were able to compete in the F1. It took another 20 for even a regular brazilian driver to find a seat.
      I dont think we are expecting a female senna or schumacher to allow women to race.
      For one, if women feel that being a F1 driver is important they will find a way. There are women training and machting rigourous military physical standards.
      On the other hand, if it is important to F1 to have female drivers, just promote the participation of women in junior series and kart. Through competition, in 10 years, teams will find a couple of them with real capabilities – other than generating photo-ops, as seem with Williams.

      1. Paul (@frankjaeger)
        30th March 2015, 0:44

        +Carmen Jorda

        There’s no denying she’s easy on the eye, but her, and Wolff’s credentials are poor compared to some rookies e.g Magnussen/Nasr/Sainz Jr

      2. This isn’t a series one can get into on individual determination alone. It requires sponsors to be willing to sponsor women – and like it or not, business and sponsorship are heavily male-dominated, as are media sports columns. The rise of the internet and the reduction of the press’s importance as gatekeepers of news can help here – if sponsors let it.

        No sterling, no Sterling Moss – or Tatiana Calderon (who looks more likely to make it into F1 on merit than Carmen Jorda, though Susie Wolff’s gradual improvement during Williams testing means she may well be the next woman in F1).

    8. I’m still undecided regarding a separate women’s Championship. Most sports follow that format, but there are small instances of women drivers competing in motorsports; and not too many have been successful to the point of challenging for championships

    9. They can barely keep the championship they have now running and now they want to create a new one? The answer is simple, get a good lady driver, not Wolff, not the lotus lady. Put them in gp3 and gp2. Wait till they finish in the top three of both those championships and then get them in a car like a proper driver once they have proven they deserve it. The women in the sport now are gimmicks. Williams proves this its why it has just hired Sutil, they have no intension of giving Wolff a full race seat and The lotus lady’s gp3 record is just laughable, I seriously laughed it is so pitiful. All it takes is one good woman driver and a generation of them will be created.

      1. They don’t do that with many men these days. Why would that be necessary for a woman?

      2. All this “women in F1” is a pointless argument to me. Trying to promote a gender to get there isn’t equality. All you have to do is simply not put obstacles to them because of their gender.
        Look if a female is talented enough and wants it enough i see no special obstacles to her getting there threw the normal route men get there.
        Is not like a crowd will stand outside her motor garage throwing tomatoes at her and screaming “No females in racing” and make threatening calls to any racing team trying to hire her.
        Leave f1 alone and women and men alone too. If a woman gets there, then she got there, if she didn’t then she didn’t. End of story.
        No is not a tragedy if no woman appears in F1 for many years to come. I don’t see how F1 will be different if one or two of the drivers have different genitals between their legs. When i watch a race all i see is a helmet and two hands, their gender seems quite irrelevant to the race enjoyment.
        So to me a female driver wouldn’t make any difference to how fun or enjoyable a race will be because of gender, ether for the worse or better. It’s just another driver that can only make difference to the fun of a race based on her skill in the track and nothing else.

    10. Good COTD, Hamilton actually sounded genuinely un-nerved because they nearly caused him to lose concentration mid-corner, rather than angry. More, “holy crap! I nearly crashed!” than “you idiots, you almost made me crash….”

    11. Can’t believe Keith snitched on Perez like that. Lol.

      1. @dmw Ain’t I a stinker?

        1. @keithcollantine you got any idea if it was your tweet that caused Perez to get the extra point?

          1. I asked Charlie Whiting in an email and he confirmed it should be four.

    12. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
      30th March 2015, 1:51

      Why isn’t DeSilvestro given a chance in a team, to run durinf FP or YDT? Why didn’t Sarah Fisher get a seat by McLaren as a test driver / maybe even lent to Spyker ( she had a shot in a McL in 2002). We need talented drivers. Talking about that, Lotus should have hired a young lady who was at the RedBull young drivers “school” (and if I don’t remember this wrongly, was sacked not for lack of talent but only because the program shrank) but I can’t remember her name.
      Lotus technical director must be being assessed by David Guetta lately.

      1. Because the last team she tried to get to that point with (Sauber) ran out of money, and I think it put her off. Maybe when F1 grows up she might try again.

    13. gustavo maia
      30th March 2015, 2:04

      If F1 has female drivers, there will be also grid boys or trophy guys?
      There will be a guy in a speedo been showered in champagne in the podium?

      In fact, the first step for F1 to show real women integration is to review the position of grid girls.

      1. the first step for F1 to show real women integration is to review the position of grid girls

        Can’t argue with that. It’s embarrassing.

        1. Cheerleaders, Ring girls in boxing, other motorsport grid girls… yes they are all a bit of a hangover from a bygone era.

          1. Yeah, because women magazines aren’t filled with commercials with half naked men …

            1. F1 isn’t a men’s magazine. It’s a sport that can’t afford to turn down a single fan, regardless of their gender. Even if Bernie hasn’t figured that one out yet.

            2. well, if we are gonna have em, we could at least get them from the same place as the MOTOGP boys do ;)

    14. I think a women’s championship is a good idea for two reasons.

      Firstly, maybe we just aren’t equal, regardless of the physicality of the sport, maybe innate differences mean the sexes aren’t equal at this competition.

      Secondly maybe we are and there is no gender reason we can’t compete, but at the moment women just don’t feel there is the avenue available to them. A separate support race would give them a showcase, and any women who demonstrate true competitiveness will break through.

      Either way it’s gets people what they want and we can finally dispense with the token gesture test drivers.

      1. gustavo maia
        30th March 2015, 2:16

        It will just provide a new problem: why female drivers were payed less? Or do you think the will have equal pay to men.
        As I said, If women want to be driver, they will find a way. If F1 want female drivers, open more chances for the girls in kart/junior series. By time and competition, there will be girl in the same level of guys, able to really take a seat and not only be used as a gridgirl in a jumpsuit.

        1. Plenty of male drivers aren’t paid the same as each other, they’ll be paid what they are worth which is based upon competitiveness and marketing appeal.

          A female driver who can match Vettel or Hamilton’s times will have no trouble demanding £30m or more, and if they’re not quick enough guess what, they’ll get paid less as you’d expect in a free market economy.

    15. I think if Bernie really wanted to foster female involvement in motor racing and Formula 1 he should fully fund the top 50 female kart racers under 13 in the world. Prolly a lot cheaper than his plan and much more effective.

      1. @fletch If Bernie was serious about a female F1 driver, then he would have gotten Simona de Silvestro on the grid at Sauber, and moved to have Beitske Visser as a development driver somewhere in a year or two.

        Considering the success (money-wise) of GP2 & GP3… this is probably another one, call it GPWomen. He’d probably position it to rival Formula E….

        1. Simona de Silvestro & Beitske Visser?

          Really? I can’t see many men getting to F1 with that results record!

          1. @asanator A few of the pay drivers have had worse records :).

            PS. Just realised that Bernie’s idea was probably just a few days early..

            1. … e.g. Susie and Carmen. It’s equal that pay drivers apply to men as well as women, ironically.

      2. That is a great idea – investing in grassroots motorsports, giving stipends for good drivers to allow them to grow without having to always find all the sponsors themselves. But then it won’t be a show of “easy on the eye”-candy to fill the program and flog cars to for Bernies FOM/CVC @fletch.

        I agree with what @fastiesty mentions too.

    16. Separate championship for women sounds good. Only concern is if we have enough interest to hold one. Maybe it will come once the process is kick-started.

      Better than putting a women in championship predominantly contested by men and expecting her to beat them to the top. We might vouch for equality but everything has its limitations.

    17. It might be refreshing to hear what women think about having their own racing series. It’s one thing to have men deciding if they need a series, how do they feel about the idea?

      I would prefer to see women competing and doing well in existing racing series myself. Drag racing has had some very successful racers who are women. I’m sure they valued their successes against their male counterparts quite highly.

      There are young girls in karting racing against boys their own age who have done quite well. Trouble is, they likely have to be much better than the boys to even have a chance at the next level. Maybe a series for women would give more chances for their talent to develop and for them to get noticed.

      Just thinking out loud here and believing it is quite possible a women will come along someday soon and take the racing world by storm.

    18. How about we all just stop quoting Bernie for a month, and see how much better things look at the end of said month?

    19. Why a separate series for women? Flying a fighter jet and racing F1 cars share many similar traits..and female pilots have proven to be just as capable as males. There isn’t a female only category for war now is there?

      Racing is unlike other sports. I don’t think gender plays any role in F1, if you’re quick enough, you’re good enough.

      1. There are more fighter pilots in the world than Formula 1 racing drivers though.

    20. gustavo maia
      30th March 2015, 9:03

      By now we already know how silly Mr. eccleston’s ideas are. At this point, in fact, journalists who reproduce such opinions are the target of the mockery.
      Futhermore, It should be clear that is not under Mr. E powers to change anything in the competition. It probably is delegated to one of those strategy groups.
      In the end, giving airtime to Mr. E. end up being contraproductive to the category. Who can take seriously the idea of a mirror female series. It is not only detrimental to women, as saying they are unable to compete, but it makes no sense commercially. They are having trouble putting to two dozen cars on the grid. Where will they find sponsors for another dozen.
      Broadcasting such silliness is somehow disrespectful to the audience. It is kind of asking the clown how to make the trapeze more exciting on the circus. the clown will seriously say – just add monkeys and elephants to it. It is only laughing matter.

      1. journalists who reproduce such opinions are the target of the mockery.

        So you’re saying that when Ecclestone comes up with something like the double points which were introduced last year the media should just pretend he hasn’t? Surely you see that isn’t realistic?

    21. i don’t think creating a women world championship would improve the situation , and i also don’t think any team would be interested in

    22. Having read all the comments so far, as a woman I can add some crumbs as to why there isn’t enough out there. As a female spectator I already get the comments “But you’re a girl (of 39 no less), how can you be interested in motorsport?” et al. How much worse is it if a girl wants to participate? It’s not only men saying this. Girls also need to be able to start and be supported with the karting and junior formulas to get to F1 which I don’t see happening. Our stereotyping hasn’t yet allowed for gender equality and women ourselves need to support other women wanting to do all things. Having a women’s championship without starting at the bottom will only fail and prove the point that it is not for women. I don’t see Red Bull or any other sponsor choosing girls to support either, only once they’ve turned into swans! We want racers!

      1. Well said.

    23. Bernie’s noticed a lack of ‘really glamorous ladies’ in the paddock lately due to the dwindling number of teams there to hand out pit passes so this is his way of improving the show. Bring more women into the pit lane as ‘drivers’ and pen a letter to the teams explaining how important it is to their sponsors that their female drivers are really glamorous.

    24. Girls are less aggressive than boys. I think that’s great, I wouldn’t change it for a second. It’s also the reason why in any activity that calls for aggression men will always outperform women. Showjumping is the only competition I can think of where the two genders compete equally, and it’s notably less aggressive than other sports.

      So a separate series for women makes sense to me. We only have to listen to the testosterone-fuelled radio to understand that F1 is for the boys. I don’t want women to have to be that aggressive in order to enjoy racing cars. A women’s series would be like athletics or tennis or football – an arena for women to be athletes not (as has been mentioned) decorative objects applauding the boyz, with the undercurrent of being the prize.

      Bring it on. Start the series, the girls will come. Not to a great standard in Year 1 perhaps, but that is very much the point I think.

      1. @lockup While I do take your point about aggression, I’m not convinced women aren’t, or couldn’t be, aggressive enough for F1. I think if it were more as @friedatwo has pointed out, with more and more women/girls getting involved in karting and the junior series, the right amount of aggression can easily be instilled. After all, too much aggression can be a bad thing in racing too. You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to fly a fighter jet, nor drive an F1 car. Ie. women can do the actual physical part of driving an F1 car just as men can…same with fighter jets. And that often requires calm in the cockpit too.

        Women’s hockey is growing in leaps and bounds at the youth level, and is bigger than ever at the top level, and you are right that they don’t play as aggressively as men…and many people prefer that. The women are out there skating and making great plays and not trying to take each other out of their careers with massive body checks, fights, and concussions. They’re playing hockey, and it’s really entertaining to watch. And the country swells with pride just as much when it is a gold medal on the line, be it for the men or the women.

        1. Good to know about women’s ice hockey @robbie, women’s soccer is the same over here.

          For me equality of respect is often confused with equality of each individual characteristic. I wouldn’t think any less of a girl for being beaten at motor racing by a boy.

          I’ve seen it said by kart track owners that in a mixed field the boys immediately pass all the girls, and that rings true. In fact I’d even say the key difference between Seb/Lewis/Nando over Jenson/Nico/Kimi, say, is that the first group doesn’t have to think at all about putting their opponent to the sword, it’s automatic, whereas the second group instinctively play a bit more fair and have to process a decision before executing a hard move. Nico said Lewis was ‘more decisive’ wheel-to-wheel.

          Anyway in a way these are separate, in that a woman could still move up from the girlz’ into the boyz’ sandpit, if she were beastly enough :)

          (BTW did you notice Merc took my advice yesterday? :))

          1. @lockup Fair comment. I just wonder if, with more young girls taking up karting, would come a greater pool to draw from such that there would be more ‘beasts’ out there.

            Sorry if I missed your advice to Merc (or maybe I did see it but can’t think of it) so remind me…just haven’t been able to dedicate a ton of time here these days other than at selective times. Hard to keep up sometimes when there is so much here to talk about.

            1. Yeah more girls karting would definitely improve things. Not sure if we’re agreeing here or not but I reckon more girls would do it if there was a boy-free option.

              I was suggesting Merc let Ferrari win one @robbie, to take the heat off. After Oz and the 30-second winning margin.

              Just kidding of course, that it was deliberate :) Tho it has totally reduced certain people to silence and cleared the way for the rest of the year maybe. And I can’t claim any credit for Torro Rosso emphasising the point by racing the Force Indias and Loti.

            2. @lockup LOL oh ya THAT advice. Don’t know how I didn’t remember. But ya, BE and Horner should be more silent now, or in BE’s case…change the topic. Like to a Women’s Championship for example.

              It has been said that if you throw a bunch of dolls and a bunch of toy trucks into a room and don’t hand any specific toy to any specific child, the girls will still for the most part gravitate toward the dolls and the boys to the trucks.

              Perhaps you (or kart track owners) are right that the boys will always pass the girls, and therefore they should have their own separate series like with many sports, as opposed to show jumping, or my example…fighter jets. But since women can fly fighter jets I just wonder if it is not so automatic as the kart track owners you cite would imply.

              Maybe a larger pool of girls to draw from would not mean they are suddenly the ones out there doing the passing, but I just think it is hard to find the next Senna coming from the female side when there are so few to choose from. Even among all the male racers, the next Senna is rare.

              Maybe if girls started out karting against other girls to get their feet wet and their confidence built up, and then after a few years, say by 14 years old they are then racing against boys, it wouldn’t all be just boys passing girls. ie. have we yet given the karting girls the psychological momentum to go to the track knowing they are every bit as good and can be the passers not just the one’s being passed?

              My main thing is that unlike a sport like hockey where 99.9999% of women would likely never be able to compete against men, hence a separate league…same as golf etc etc. cars are equipment that do not require brute strength to manage. Women can get themselves every bit as physically capable to drive a car and a fighter jet as men, so I just postulate that it is about the right opportunities at the right time…a different grooming for the big leagues perhaps than boys get, with the same result in the end…capable racers.

              So ya, perhaps the boy karters just go out there and pass the girl karters…but perhaps for now that’s because on the way to the track the boys were being pumped up by their parents as the next Senna, and the girls were told to just go out there and have fun, no female Senna to reference…yet.

            3. It’s hard to know isn’t it @robbie exactly what the factors are. Not physical as you say. I get the impression there’s a certain amount of bullying when girls are trying to get into karting, but anyway if there’s a bunch of girls who want to race against each other but aren’t [whatever] enough to compete with the boys I feel that would be fine, and I’d watch just like I watch other female athletes who aren’t as fast/strong/beastly as the boys.

              So on this rare occasion I’m with Bernie

    25. A completely separate f1 championship for women is unlikely, but they may let teams a third car if only a female driver is behind the wheel. Let that third car to obtain championship points for constructors championship and form a sub championship for female drivers. But those are not enough alone also Bernie should put his hand under the stone and must offer a considerable extra money for teams that are employing female drivers.

    26. Ecclestone should be retired.

    27. Sergey Martyn
      30th March 2015, 12:36

      Please someone send a copy of “How to Shut off the Overly Busy Mind” book to Bernie.
      F1 lingerie league?
      Considering the speed of generating the stupid ideas it won’t be long until he proposes F1 for kids, F1 for amputees and finally F1 for senile grannies.
      I insist on Thorazine sprinklers installed into Mr. Ecclestone brain.

    28. I usually ignore “Bernie says…” stories these days, but just for once he’s started a worthwhile debate.
      Not just about racing women, but also the format of the weekend, with long periods of empty track and development drivers “participating in a Grand Prix weekend” which is rubbish – they should be racing.

      And the wreckage of the feeder-series structure – How do we know if Susie Wolff is better than Alex Lynn? Or Carmen Jorda and Max Verstappen (OK, we know that…) or Palmer and Sainz, or Nasr and Merhi? And how will a separate women’s race help that?! They’re not running or boxing, they’re driving cars. That’s stegosaurus thinking. Attracting new sponsors? I suspect Bernie himself is part of the problem there, and it’d be like Susie Wolff driving round in a pink car, which she hated. Why not go all the way and put them all in little shopping cars and estate agents’ cars? (What’s that? We already have that and it’s called the BTCC?)

      Maybe what’s required is funding (and Bernie has plenty of that) for Racing Steps-type schemes to encourage teams and manufacturers to see beyond their prejudices.

    29. I’m all for mixing men and women in F1.
      And as for grid boys.. Why the hell not!? Women need eye candy too..

      1. Sergey Martyn
        31st March 2015, 12:24

        You watch too many Village People clips! :-)

    30. Compared to most of Bernie’s suggestions, this one is brilliant. It is not original though – the Lotus Ladies Cup has been held every year since 2011 (I have no information about the 2015 season): http://www.lotusladiescup.com/

      While this is certainly something to consider, I still do not see why female drivers could not compete with male drivers. We all know that the fastest man in the world is quicker than the fastest woman but so far I have not seen any proof that the best female driver would always be slower than the best male driver or any serious analysis of this topic.

    31. I had been screaming all my life for a separate World Championship for women. Happy to know someone was listening… and that too, Bernie!

    32. This is Bernie effectively concluding that women are simply not good enough for Formula 1, so he needs to give them their own little championship. He needs to encourage women to race in Formula 1, not send them somewhere else. The quality of drivers will be abysmal. I can’t imagine why any self-respecting female driver would choose to race in this championship when they could forge a career in IndyCar, sportscars, Formula E, etc., on the same terms as the male drivers.

      Having said that, it’s impossible to take Bernie seriously on this. Aside from the glaring impracticalities of this (for instance, there aren’t enough cars to fill one F1 grid never mind two), this is an idea coming from the man who categorically stated that he wants pretty ladies standing around on the F1 grid. And now he’s suggesting that the best idea he can come up with to promote gender equality is segregation. I refuse to take anything he says on sexism seriously.

    33. A female version of F1 is probably the closest Bernie came to making sense in a very long time.
      Not sure if I like or dislike the idea, though.

    34. I wonder what the qualifications of being a “gridboy” will be like. Here we would be talking about a different kind of package.😄

      1. Great thinking there! Personally, I’d be laughing my backside off if there were male grid girls who have to pose in the same grotesquely over-sexualised manner as their female counterparts, i.e. a bunch of ripped, tanned folks in hotpants and muscle shirts, casually flexing their pectorals. It’d leave so many inscure F1 fans fuming.
        On the plus side, the Russian GP would be history, for obvious reasons. And maybe my gf would finally start showing some interest for F1, even if it’s only for the grid.

    35. It’s a good idea as long as I get fair warning before the race starts so that I can change the channel.

      Similarly, I’ll be dropping F1 from my motorsport watch list if the second they put women on the grid.

      1. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

    36. Sergey Martyn
      31st March 2015, 14:10

      Who will finance women F1? Bernie?
      He wants entertainment but for whom?
      I can’t imagine housewives screaming and cheering watching cars with Tampax, Chanel, Gucci and Wonderbra liveries.
      Wake up, Bernie, and please retire…

    37. Let’s check out what women write on their message boards and forums dedicated to F1, please hare links, folks. ( I have some strong suspicions that general majority of visitors here are men, otherwise please kindly prove me I am terribly and unfoundedly biased).

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