Women may not be fast enough for F1 – Ecclestone

2016 F1 season

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Bernie Ecclestone has cast doubt on the ability of women to compete in Formula One because he believes they may not be able to drive the cars fast enough.

The F1 boss was answering questions from an audience at the Advertising Week Europe 2016 conference.

Asked how Formula One could improve its gender diversity at all levels of the sport, Ecclestone addressed his answer specifically to the matter of women racing drivers.

Susie Wolff is F1’s most recent woman participant
“I’ve always felt bad about this because I don’t know whether a woman is able physically to drive a Formula One car quickly,” he said.

“And even if they could they’re never going to be taken seriously,” he added. “This is what the big problem is. And it’s completely wrong.”

Ecclestone added he would “love and would help to get a lady in a Formula One car” and said if a sponsor were to put money into an all-female team he would “put another 20 million in to make sure it happened”.

The most recent woman to drive an F1 car at a race weekend was Susie Wolff, who took part in four practice sessions for Williams over the past two seasons. At her final appearance she lapped within eight-tenths of a second of team mate Felipe Massa.

Asked about women team managers in F1, Ecclestone said he had predicted a rise in the number of top businesswomen.

“Quite a long time ago, maybe this was five or six years ago, I said ‘within five or ten years 50 percent of company’s CEOs will be women,” he said. “Because they’re more confident and they don’t have massive egos.”

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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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112 comments on “Women may not be fast enough for F1 – Ecclestone”

  1. Well, Danica Patrick, Sarah Fisher and Susie Wolff were all lagging behind in their respective series. Of all women, Simona de Silvestro appears to be pretty quick, I’d imagine she could land a drive in one of the smaller teams, be it on pure speed or fantastic PR she would bring in.

    1. You had Louise Aitken Walker did relatively well (for a Brit) in the WRC rally’s she took part in and managed 4th in the BTTC in 1989…

      I think it is more a case of lack of opportunities nowadays rather than they are not physically capable. I think it was Jonny Herbert said the other day that in strength, all drivers need a very strong left leg to be able to get the pressure required on the brake pedal…

      1. I think the lack of opportunity is a valid point. Early years karting tends to be mainly boys, for whatever reason. If girls were karting too then they would develop those racing skills which would form part of that base reflex skillset which helps to make a great racing driver.

        I refuse to believe that females aren’t as competitive or as fast as males. A female who enters racing ten years or so after males who have been doing it since they were 6 years old will be slower, but so would any bloke. There’s nothing inherently slower about girls.

        And for those who think girls aren’t as competitive – I have 5 kids, 4 are girls and Christ! You should see them scrap when doing anything remotely competitive!!!!

        1. “I have 5 kids, 4 are girls and Christ!”

          Ha! I misread that as the second coming :)

          1. Quickly typing at work, I should really have employed a comma!

    2. machinesteve
      20th April 2016, 14:27

      Don’t even honour this stupid old man with a debate.

  2. If a 17 year old can drive an F1 a fit woman can drive an F1 car. He has point about being taken seriously as the average age of a female reaching required F1 ability may be higher. With no stats to back it up, that statement may be false.
    Either way, I won’t be sad when Ecclestone has nothing to do with F1 and isn’t spewing garbage out of his mouth.

    1. Beat me to it.

      What’s so demanding about a lift and coast series?

      1. Beat me to it too!

      2. It is well above the average fitness level but still a base line fitness that is attainable for women, it is not like mixing men and women in boxing, rugby, football etc and physically I see no issues whatsoever, many women are stronger physically than F1 drivers, most F1 drivers can be described as a man-child, they are not physically impressive and nor do they need to be they just need a certain level of fitness in particular areas to be competent, drivers like Button dOing Iron Man contests is just an extra curricular activity that does not give any advantage in F1.

    2. Well we already had Susie driving the cars last years so its no problem to just drive them but i doubt thats what he ment.

  3. “Physically unable” is just being provocative, but less competitive by nature seems obvious.

    1. Yeah @balue women are less aggressive, thank goodness. This is why for me it’s fine that girls tend to be slower than boys, I don’t see it as a problem for them to have their own championship.

      I did hear Martin Brundle saying he couldn’t press the brake pedal hard enough to exploit the braking in the Mercedes he tried last year, but power brakes would fix that easily enough.

      1. Less aggressive? Not really. That’s just a stereotype.

        1. Of course they’re less aggressive. They have less testosterone and more empathy.

          1. Andy (@andybantam)
            20th April 2016, 0:17

            What, all girls?

          2. @lockup So more empathy means they’d push the brake pedal less hard?
            Remind me exactly why women make as good jet pilots as men?

          3. You do not know that many women, do you?

          4. Of course not ‘all girls’ @andybantham. And of course SOME women make great fighter pilots @wsrgo. I don’t know why people have to discuss this in such a way. It’s a range, which is different but overlaps with the range of men. I don’t think you really need this explaining tbh.

          5. @lockup You’re still not explaining what empathy has to do with late braking.

          6. Ah, okay @wsrgo: Brundle’s experience suggests that girls might need power brakes, though that wouldn’t be hard to do. Istr 130 kgf being mentioned on the current pedal. Empathy means experiencing the feelings of others, including the pain that goes with losing and the joy that goes with winning.

            So they aren’t really connected, except that women tend to have weaker legs and more empathy. That does not mean every woman compared with every man of course, it’s just a trend. So, as many posters have pointed out, you need a more extreme woman to be on a par, and F1 pilots are already extreme.

          7. @lockup

            By your own admission that “some” girls can make the grade, you damage your own argument.

            The simple fact is, there’s nothing to stop a woman being successful in F1. If more girls get involved at an early age, like so many boys do, it would only be a matter of time.

            You might not mean to stereotype women, but it does come across that way… Correlation does not necessarily mean causality, despite what you actually observe through personal experience.

          8. I’m not arguing that girls ‘can’t’ make the grade @andybantam, and I would love it if one or more did. I’m just saying that their characteristics make F1-standard female drivers rarer. They obviously have differences and I don’t think it’s stereotyping to discuss them.

            So it’s wrong as you say to prejudge whether any individual woman can make it in F1, but also IMO wrong to say women can only enjoy racing cars if they’re as good as the boys. Because the evidence from both theory and the world we see is that women TEND to be less good at it.

            So I would let Carmen and the others race each other, if that’s what they want to do, and I wouldn’t be looking down on them for doing it a bit more slowly than Lewis and Seb. I think Bernie’s idea that they wouldn’t be taken seriously is quite wrong, but I agree with him that a women’s championship would bring more girls into racing.

          9. @lockup

            First of all, I’m not arguing about this. I don’t think neither of us would want to give Bernie the credit for that.

            I just think that you’re being rather generalised. The spectrum of diversity within the world’s female population knows no bounds. If a baby girl is brought up with pink fluffy toys and stereotypical female traits are reinforced you will, generally speaking, end up with a “girly” girl. Not always, but most of the time. I’m being far to simplistic here, but there are a multitude of external contributory factors at work.

            To insinuate that women are genetically inferior to men behind the wheel of a race car is pure folly.

          10. Well we are not very far apart @andybantam. I would not say ‘inferior’. To me if women are slower it’s no more of an issue than them being shorter. The difference is just part of the partnership, not a reason for men to think less of women. One could say that demanding that girls be as fast as boys is a sneaky trick by misogynists! :)

            True there’s a question how much of the current difference is genetics and how much is nurture, but I don’t see evidence that clearly indicates it’s ALL socialisation. Some of each, perhaps.

            Though even if we say it is, a women’s championship would be a place to start restoring the balance. If they became as quick as the men then a challenge between the two series would follow as night follows day, and then if the girls won… OMG

          11. When you put it that way, I see your point. I must insist, though. I don’t demand that women play a larger role in our sport, but I do demand absolute equality if an appropriately talented female racer gets a break and makes it to completive grand prix racing.

            I think a separate championship would only drive the divide far deeper.

            It’s difficult for us guys to appreciate some of obstacles that successful woman face, whether it be trying to break a trade that has historically been a man’s job, or the glass ceiling in corporate salaries. I realise I’m being massively naive, but I’d like to see it all equal.

        2. RaceProUK (@)
          20th April 2016, 0:16

          A stereotype backed up by scientific evidence

          1. Most women don’t want to drive fast. We drive safely and don’t start salivating when a fast noisy boy racer whizzes by in the street.

            Although I love F1 I’m not what you’d call a petrol head. ‘Hammer time ‘ on the motorway – nope, no thrills for me.

            Mums and dads are different.

      2. @lockup:

        I don’t see it as a problem for them to have their own championship

        I wish there would be one.

    2. Women are not men. Men are physically stronger and there’s nothing new to it. It’s just “politically incorrect” to say it bluntly like Bernie did, most sports recognize it when they separate genders… Serena Williams could beat a top tennis male player but she’s an outlier, I have no doubt that the day a woman can drive as fast as Max Verstappen she will find a seat in F1, the problem is Max is not an outlier but that woman must be one.

      1. I’m going to go ahead and call rubbish on this. F1 drivers are not giant powerful man hulks. Fitness is far more important. If women can compete in UFC, triathlons, wake boarding they can do F1… And F1 drivers aren’t even big or particularly strong, that’d be held against them. Fitness and strength required for F1 is clearly achievable by women as can be seen by women in other sports. The limitation that means we don’t see it is because, well, how many parents put their kids in $6000 go karts? Not many.

        If Vettel can be a four times world champion ahead of undoubtably fitter drivers, then surely it’s achievable for women physically.

        The notion that women can’t be fit or strong enough to drive an F1 car is so laughable that I don’t understand how you can even think it. The standard required for F1 is much lower than you are suggesting. That’s why F1 drivers can still drive at 40.

        1. The Blade Runner (@)
          20th April 2016, 10:44

          I agree with you.

          In F1 the size and bulk of a man can actually be a disadvantage and many drivers currently resemble “super waif” fashion models.

          The female skeleton is generally thinner and lighter than a man’s but women are still able to carry more than enough muscle to control an F1 car.

          Anything Bernie says about women should be disregarded whether it’s positive or negative. His previous comments preclude him from ever being taken seriously on the subject.

      2. “Serena Williams could beat a top tennis male player”

        She and Venus once played a single set each against a man just inside the top 200. They lost. On what basis did you make this claim?

    3. Totally agree. Same reflexes, less strength..but enough with training. However, there is an argument for spatial awareness; a measurable difference between a male and female brain.

  4. A woman can quite easily cope with the strength requirements of driving a Formula 1 car. They can also quite easily demonstrate sufficient reaction times and spacial skills. So from looking at the women that do come close and their relative performance gap the male drivers it’s either that those that do come close are actually fairly average and the women who could also be exceptional aren’t coming through for institutional reasons, or the elements that make truly great drivers aren’t so easily quantifiable and women are inherently incapable of competing on a level field with men.

    The question is why does it matter? Because in all honesty I think the socioeconomic barriers are far more restrictive, how many drivers have parents that aren’t millionaires? I’m not all too concerned about the barriers to half of the 1% that can get into it I think opening it up to the entire 99.5% would be a better cause.

    1. Indeed. I liked seeing Pippa Mann’s tweet yesterday, reminding everyone, and Bernie specifically, that Indy Cars don’t even have power steering and women can race them, so why wouldn’t they be able to race in F1.

  5. Bernie is hilarious! He knows exactly what to say to be provocative and in the spotlight. Perhaps he should take in a major NHRA event next time he’s in the USA.

    1. NHRA is way too loud (as racing should be) he would have his driver turn around before he got close to the track!

  6. “Asked how Formula One could improve its gender diversity at all levels of the sport”

    Does this mean all levels of team in F1, or motorsport in general? :p

    1. I guess it means all levels as in:
      -team owners
      -race support

  7. “And even if they could they’re never going to be taken seriously,” he added. “This is what the big problem is. And it’s completely wrong.” And that is the problem in a nutshell. So basically no matter how good a woman is and how deserving of a seat, she will never ‘be taken seriously’ by the men in charge. And he expects to advance gender diversity in F1 with that attitude? Here’s an idea Bernie, how about you lead from the top on this issue? Afterall, IIRC, Bernie’s team was the last to actually feature women drivers in a race back in the ’80’s. You could do it then, why not now? So not only has gender diversity not advanced in that time, it has actually gone backward.

    1. It is well to always doubt the sincerity of anything that comes out of Bernie’s craw.

    2. I see your point, but I don’t think Bernie has the powers you think he does. When he was a team boss, he could do what he wanted with the team (and kudos to him for including women). One of the main problems in F1 governance right now is that the balance of power between Bernie, the FIA and the teams is causing gridlock (even though everyone uses Bernie as a convenient target to always point at). If women are going to be taken on, it’s up to the teams, and, unfortunately, they’re now run more like corporations than sporting teams . If you think about it, any inroads into gender equality in big companies has been because the government has either forced them, or bent over backwards to make it financially advantageous. But the ‘government’ in F1 lacks the power to force the teams (companies) to make ethical decisions. I say give Bernie MORE power so he can spank the teams and keep them in line.

  8. Jared H (@thejaredhuang)
    19th April 2016, 23:55

    I think female drivers could have a serious advantage since they are physically smaller and lighter than males. Having a driver that is 15kg lighter could definitely help. Bernie, like usual is just being a clown. There are so few women in racing because it is considered a male activity, how many young females do you see karting from age 4?

    1. @thejaredhuang And that is Bernie’s fault? Not the parents or social pressure that not pushing their girl if they show interest in racing? When we have a competitive women driver that win lower championships but can’t get into F1 for whatever reasons, then we can talk about Bernie’s involvement.

      1. There are many, many guys who win in lower championships and also can’t get into F1 for whatever reasons. You completely missed the point which @thejaredhuang was making.

  9. Andy (@andybantam)
    20th April 2016, 0:14

    There’s goes Bernie, throwing his “look over there” grenade again…

    1. Probably trying to distract his boss from his comments about immigrants being of no benefit (the CVC leader who brought Bernie to the conference is the grandson of refugees from the Holocaust and didn’t exactly get contrition from Bernie after publicly pointing this out)…

      1. Or the recently officially published tv viewing figures…

        There’s nothing like a good distraction, especially at a time when your sports gradual demise is in the spotlight immediately after the very public demonstration of failed governance during quali-gate.

        No ones noticed that Bernie’s already made for the exit…

  10. Michael Brown (@)
    20th April 2016, 0:28

    Wouldn’t women – with their (generally) smaller builds – be the best fit for F1 and racing in general? I mean, they can serve as fighter jet pilots and special forces operatives.

    Though if women don’t have interest in F1, they shouldn’t be shoehorned into it. There’s already a problem with pay drivers, we don’t need drivers who are essentially PR candy.

    I suppose an effort should be made to increase interest.

    Speaking of female racing drivers, how is Beitske Visser doing?

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        21st April 2016, 13:23

        I’m well aware of Carmen Jorda. Like I said before, there’s already an issue with pay drivers, so we don’t need teams hiring sub-par female drivers to be seen as progressive.

    1. Since you ask, Beitske Visser is currently running in 11th place in the Formula V8 series (aka the former Renault 3.5 Series), out of a total field of 15 drivers.

      1. Burningbjorn
        20th April 2016, 6:31

        the Numbers dont say everything:

        P6 in qualy, driving to p4 in lap one. Then she got hit from behind and had to pit, overtook a lot of cars to get back in the points.

  11. There he goes again, alienating half of the human race and wondering why F1 struggles to bring in new fans.

    1. I don’t care what that old man says. I just wanna watch, not drive.

      He is alienating viewers by being delighted that F1 is going exclusively to Sky.

      1. He is alienating viewers by pretty much everything that comes out of his mouth or is enacted from his fax keypad…

  12. It should all come down to talent which half the grid doesn’t have. Not gender or skin color…..if Susie Wolff was 8 tenths off massa….does she have enough talent? Obviously no….

    1. When you say ‘no’, I assume you are being sarcastic?

      1. That’s a proper no…. but she’s the best woman I’ve seen in a race car…. Danica Patrick is a total joke…she’s driving the best equipment in the cup series and can barely Crack the top 25. I wish Wolff could have raced a season of F1 because we’ll never know what she could have done but talent should always be first….if you find 22 kangaroos that are more talented than the drivers we have now, then put 22 kangaroos in those seats.

        1. Well, if someone who had never driven an F1 car in a competitive session before, finished just 0.8 seconds behind a guy who has been driving F1 competitively for the last 12 years, I’d say that’s a very good job.

          1. @wsrgo 0.8 seconds behind someone with same car is never a good job in F1. If you want woman to be taken seriously in F1 then by the same account you also should remove the “woman” part from the discussion. See Susie Wolff as a driver period, not a woman driver. No driver is ever considered to be a race driver when he 0.8s off the pace, regardless when the last time he drive an actual F1 car. That kind of strict competition that make Ferrari choose Mika Salo and Fisichella instead of Luca Badoer to replace Schumacher and Massa. When people stop needing to sugarcoat a female driver sub-par achievement, then we can start campaigning for her to get a race seat.

          2. @sonicslv Not once in my previous comment justifying

          3. @sonicslv Not once in my previous comment justifying the 0.8 second gap did I mention that she’s a female driver. Stop seeing stuff that isn’t there.

          4. @wsrgo This thread is talking about female driver though. And what reason do you need to bring and justify 0.8s gap then? I don’t think I’m seeing stuff that isn’t there.

          5. @sonicslv That makes no sense. I’m saying Wolff proved that women are no slower than men. Put any man who hadn’t driven openwheels for over a decade competitively and a 0.8 gap wouldn’t seem too bad.

        2. The best woman you’ve seen is one who has never won a race?

          1. Who do you know that’s better?

          2. Patrick, de Silvestro, Visser. They’ve at least won races in other categories.

  13. The problem is that you don’t take a random woman and put her in a car. I can only guess that there is much bigger percentage of boys getting into karting and racing in general, than girls. I guess in 20 years those numbers will be closer to even and we see more women competing in racing. As usual in this “sport”, you need rich daddy more, than talent, but we will wait and see. Maybe there will be one girl with great skill and desire and she’ll get into WEC or another proper racing series. But once again, in our biased world, women are more often used as a marketing tool.

    I guess Bernie hopes Trump will be new US president and that’s why he says stuff like this all the time. Maybe he’ll get his 6 US races this way:D

    1. Somehow I don’t think we’ll see Matilda vettel in the next generation of drivers. Seb might keep trying for a boy to put in a cart and continue his legacy.

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      20th April 2016, 12:33

      Even Trump has learned to tone down; the little man goes to the next level of senility.

  14. 50 years ago, it was wideley thought women do not have the mental capacity for studying Physics. 10 years ago when I studied 20% of graduates were women. Today I hear over 30% are women. Some of our studies were quite litterary rocket science. Women can do that, to my observance as easy as men. And are easier to work with.

    So in F1 we had Susie Wolf, 10 years out of single seater experience and she could do within a second of Massa.

    Michael Schumacher was few years out of the car and lost quite a lot of speed. Why wouldn’t a woman loose some speed aswell having not raced in years?

    Taking that in to account, if she had more speed before she lost it.. She was on pace then.

    Susie Wolf by no means is a legend, but my understanding is if she went through exactly same training, lower formula etc she would be there abouts. What about a really talented girl?

    How many 17year old girls are there in F3? I like to think less then 10% it is greatly considered to be a male sport, but there is nothing in driving an F1 car that requires superhuman strength or anything impossible physically.

    But back to lower series, once we see about 30% women there, some will make it to F1.

    Meanwhile even Vandoorne could not find a seat this year, what chance does the sole F3 girl who daddy paid her drive around final place have?

    If Bernie is serius, he should find best girls of karting, and pay for development of their careers. I am sure if he picked 100 best in the world, and ease them through proper mentoring in to F3, some would be good enough.

    It takes about 10-20 years to develop an F1 driver. So in about 10-20 years we will see one, now that public oppinion is shifting away from “impossible for a woman”.

  15. i think Bernie is wrong on both accounts. physically woman can easily drive f1 cars. They can fly jetplanes and that’s pretty demanding stuff. And woman will be taken seriously. They only thing they have to do is be fast enough. Susi wolff wasn’t fast enough. She was Claire’s attempt to get more female drivers in f1. But in the end Williams is not going to loose money (aka points) by putting her in a race if a faster person is available.

    So if you want female f1 drivers, you need young ones to start racing. But now the numbers are stacked against them. The chances that there is a woman f1 talent, who also like racing, has the drive to get to f1, has the opportunity (aka financial) and the support of her parents at an early age are pretty slim. For a boy those chances are a lot higher. if you have 250 talented boys vs 1 girl at pro karting (not real numbers) it’s not hard to see why guys are dominating racing at higher levels.

    1. People go for what suits them. The majority of nurses are female by choice.

  16. Sergey Martyn
    20th April 2016, 9:03

    Ecclestone may not be fast enough for F1 management – Women.
    Why there are so many overkill mumbo-jumbo technical rules in the sport itself but no rules are applied to management?
    What about elimination system for retiring the oldest managers out of F1?

    1. There are some rules applied to management – at least in FIA series. And Bernie’s little series of pronouncements that’s managed to defame women, foreigners, democrats and Jews in the space of about 30 minutes would be in clear breach of Statute 1 of the FIA Statutes. This bans political comments from people involved in the management of any FIA-bannered series when not clearly acting in a personal capacity. It is difficult to see how such comments as Bernie has made, in the context of an advertising conference where he was representing F1 series owners CVC, could meet that particular regulation. The comments about women would, in my opinion, have also breached Article 151 of the International Sporting Code, by bringing F1 into disrepute.

      If Jean Todt felt like it, he could end Bernie’s involvement in F1 in 8 weeks flat, simply by calling an Extraordinary General Meeting and presenting a transcript of the ridiculous statements Bernie made. As long as he isn’t too busy pretending to be powerless.

  17. In the same interview he said Trump would be an excellent US President, and Vladimir Putin should run Europe.

    He didn’t mean Putin should take over Brussels and run the EU, he literally meant Europe should become a part of Putin-led Russia. Because he ‘gets things done’.

    After that, “women aren’t strong enough for F1′ is rather tame.

    He should have retired ages ago.

    1. It`s cool to shake a hand with Putin in Sochi and do some business while in Europe, but 140 million of Russian citizens kinda not so happy…

  18. “And even if they could they’re never going to be taken seriously,” he added.“

    And that, Bernie, is because you have decided that you won’t take female racers seriously.

    There is absolutely no reason why a woman could not race in F1 and be competitive (if given the same opportunities to develop through the junior ranks as a male driver of course). To say otherwise is simply being narrow minded. Gender roles are changing and the world is a different place from what is was in the 50’s, 80’s or even the naughties. I full expect to see competitive female F1 racers in the future.

  19. Bernie is awesome, I’m starting to like him more and more. He’s controversial, but he knows what he’s doing. There is a reason that he’s running the show and that all of you are just complaining from your keyboards.

    I don’t expect to see female racers on the level of men. They don’t have the physical abilities to do it, and they mostly don’t have the same competitive spirit. How about making a top racing series just for women? It’s unfair to let them compete against men, they will be trashed.

    1. The thing that really worries me about a woman driving an F1 car is – would the 3 or 4 inch seat belts damage her boobs?

    2. It’s quite paradoxical to see such backward arguments in a forum devoted to the so-called most futuristic and technology advanced sport.
      It’s also funny to see the “physical abilities” argument when it comes to a sport in which the quality of the machine means 80 or 90% of the final performance.
      Let’s face it straight: the problem is not the “lack of abilities” of women, the problem is that motor sports are a “man’s world”. To blame women for their lack of presence In F1 is quite stupid. I do not see so many black F1 drivers around, is it because of their lack of competitiveness or strength? Come on.

      1. @interpaul
        Why backward arguments? I dare you to show me a female driver with the abilities to win championships in F1.
        If there was one, I’m sure she would’ve been offered a seat a long time ago. But there simply isn’t one. Women are just not made for F1, and all you politically correct robots somehow can’t accept that.

        1. So, following your reasoning, a german or a british is genetically more capable to be to an F1 champion than any of the 3000 millions of chinese and indians, because “I dare you to show me a (chinese-indian) driver with the abilities to win championships in F1” and “If there was one, I’m sure she would’ve been offered a seat a long time ago”. Call me politically correct robot.

          1. @interpaul
            Yup, a German or a British is generally more likely to be successful in a sport like F1. People with European ethnicity have the perfect combination of physical abilities, intelligence, reaction time and ambition. Africans have better physical abilities than Europeans (assuming they get the right nutrition) and East Asians have higher intelligence, but no one has the whole package like Western Europeans (White people).

    3. The reason Bernie is leading F1 is because he saw the beginning of F1’s TV zeitgeist. It has nothing to do with his comments, which represent a style that worked 10-15 years ago but don’t any more. His statements get views, in the same way as YouTube videos of drunk people doing silly things get views. Doesn’t mean either is doing any credit to their causes.

      (The style a controversarian needs to succeed now is to pepper their speeches with as many big fat lies as poosible. Bernie didn’t get close enough to factual matters to make many lying – or truthful – comments; he stuck too closely to the shores of opinion).

      1. @alianora-la-canta
        If you know so much better about what works today, why are you not running things?
        (And since you have identified the road to success, what kind of achievements do you have to show for it? I’m very curious!)

        1. Because “what works today” for a controversarian leaves me feeling cold and disgusted. I hate big fat lies! As such, the “successful controversarian” approach as the 2010s require is one I decline. I’d rather any success I get is based on a more positive approach (note: I suspect more positive approaches would work with F1 in general, but contrarianism has always been Bernie’s style, so if he wants to continue to succeed at it, he has to adapt his approach accordingly. It’s hard to do a big fat lie on something that is an opinion).

          I have merely identified the road to success for someone who insists on doing Bernie-style controversy as their primary approach. This only requires observation of the people who are successfully employing it. Several politicians I need not name have succeeded in the last few years on exactly this ploy :(

  20. I guess Bernie has lost it…totally, Putin comments, women, 25 races calendar…. poor man should rest

  21. So Bernie says we should have more women in top jobs because they’re more confident and they don’t have massive egos. No one has an ego as big as Bernie so it is interesting to hear that he himself admit that it is such a weakness.

  22. As usual, most of the comments and opinions expressed on this topic, and others similar, will fail to capture the concept of the mean, the median, the standard deviation, and the bell-curve (distribution).

    1. Probably because they don’t apply at the outliers (which top-level sport, by definition, is).

  23. when we look at the small size of f1 drivers and a 17 year old boy driving, even more in motogp, ie dani pedrosa who is 5 foot 2 inches, anyone that says a woman could not be strong enough to drive an f1 car is just sexist. sexism is what prevents them from climbing up the ladder in junior series to get to f1, they don’t get the attention and sponsorship, so never have the best car to win a junior series…. motorsport is still very much a boys club.

  24. I hear Caitlin Jenner likes to go fast….would that qualify?;)

  25. If Bernie is correct, when can we look forward to the first transgendered “woman” in F1? ;)

    1. Hopefully never. We don’t need people with psychological disorders in a sport as dangerous as F1. Would never end well!

      1. If a psychological disorder was an actual impediment to driving, it would be mentioned in the banned or regulated list of conditions in Appendix L of the FIA regulations. Banned conditions stop a driver from getting or keeping a racing licence at all (most heart conditions are classed this way, for example). Restricted ones allow access to a licence if and only if the potential competitor can satisfy a doctor of the FIA’s choice (or, if competing at a low enough level, a doctor from one of a pool the relevant national affiliate of the FIA recognises) that the condition won’t affect their driving. Those psychological conditions which can cause danger to self or others in a racing context are in the “restricted” category.

        However, gender identity matters are not considered an impediment to driving unless accompanied by a condition which was a limitation.

  26. That could have sounded right in the refuelling era or to some extent in the few following seasons. However currently I think a woman can do it thanks to decreased physical demands. With good preparation it is absolutely possible.

    But I wouldn’t have wanted to see a woman racing in F1 only because of her gender. Potential women drivers should prove they deserve a seat like it was no gender differential whatsoever.

  27. All drivers need is a racing brain and quick reactions, male or female, strength doesn’t come into it. We just need them racing at a young age along with the boys. No one wants to sign a untried driver who’s in their 30s male or female

  28. machinesteve
    20th April 2016, 14:25

    Does he actually have to be biting the heads of chickens and screaming at busses in a Napoleon costume before anyone considers him unfit to be head of a multi-multi-million pound sport like F1? No wonder the audiences and investors are running a mile. Hey I’m going to spend over a grand a year to get Sky Sports!

  29. This has all been muddied further by Susie Wolff publicly standing up for Bernie, saying ‘they’ve spoken’ and he supports her ‘campaign’. No mention of the fact that one was on record at a public forum and the other off the record?


    She should be condemning him for his flip-flopping neanderthal attitude to women, not siding with him because he said something to her that suited her agenda at the time of their specific conversation. Of course (and I hate to say this) this comes with the thumbprint of her husband telling her to take the heat off Bernie for other commercial reasons.

  30. I’m obviously no anatomicist, but the only physical disadvantage I can see on an above-average fit female versus a male of similar built and fitness, would be neck and upper back strength.

    As someone pointed out before, in a small frame (less than 170 cms) a woman could pack the same the same energy-delivering muscles more efficiently than a man, but I’m not sure if they could develop a neck like Alonso’s or Gutierrez’s to cope with sustained G-forces. Anyway, It might seem that that would also be irrelevant, as the above example shows, similar neck sizes do not correlate to similar speed.

    1. I’m sure it’s possible for a woman to do that with the right training. Especially since the advent of specific neck muscle machines. Neck/back strength is a necessary but insufficient requirement for F1, in that a certain amount is needed to succeed at all, but much above that minimum is unnecessary and merely adds extra weight.

  31. I think the bigger issue here is where the funding will come from to pay for the curbed alloys. Am I right guys? Hey? Am I right? I’m here all week.

    Seriously, though – I once had my doubts, but having seen the likes of Sophia Floersch and Alice Powell racing in the junior categories, I’m convinced it’s only a matter of time before we see a top rate female in F1.

    Watch Sophia’s Ginetta race at Croft from last year and tell me she’s lacking either skill or aggression! Seems she’s making a good impression in F4 already too…


  32. If F1 was smart and really wanted to increase viewership, they would make promoting women a priority. Through an extensive driver development program, like Red Bull’s, but for girls/women. In an age of women empowerment, this has HUGE worldwide market implications. With decrepit senile dinosaurs like him in control – highly un-likely.

    For those posting comments that women aren’t as physically able has men, you need to get out more. You obviously have not been exposed to strong women.

    1. Not just physically, but psychologically/mentally as well.

  33. Mr. Ecclestone, should you first think if F1 is fast enough????

  34. Eddie Buchanan
    19th December 2020, 23:45

    I think it would be great to see women race f1, but only in an all women’s league. There is more than enough money to fund such a thing and it would give great forms of investment and advertising for many companies.

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