Carmen Jorda, GP3, Circuit de Catalunya, 2014

Women are more competitive in lower-downforce cars – Jorda

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In the round-up: Former F1 test driver Carmen Jorda responded to criticism after being quotes saying women were better suited to Formula E cars because they are less challenging to driver than Formula 1 machines.

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What was behind Christian Horner’s remark about engines which led to Claire Williams’ denial yesterday? @Asanator has a theory:

I think this all rather stems from the Toro Rosso incident at the end of last year. Typical Christian Horner deflection but I’m sure he is conscious of the treatment Toro Rosso received from Renault with “refurbished” parts being supplied and wants to ensure that he receives parity should they decide to jump ship to Honda.

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70 comments on “Women are more competitive in lower-downforce cars – Jorda”

  1. Neil (@neilosjames)
    6th March 2018, 0:41

    “In my experience I can say Formula One – not all the other championships, karting, Formula Three, GT, I think women are capable of good results in all those series — in Formula One and Formula Two there is a barrier that is a physical issue. I think there is a big issue for women and that’s why there aren’t any in those championships.”

    The reason no women are in those championships – F2 and F1 – is because no women have got good enough results in the lower categories of late. Or in the case of F2, perhaps because none of them have rich enough parents (good results don’t seem to be required for a good number of the seats in that).

    I do see where she’s coming from – there are indeed physical differences between men and women. But the difference isn’t huge and insurmountable, and a female driver could definitely (and for most, without undue difficulty, if the motivation existed) acquire the necessary strength and endurance to drive a modern F1 car.

    1. @neilosjames
      I hate the term “mansplaining”, I loathe it, and I don’t believe it actually represents anything real, but come on, you are sitting on your chair, never probably driven anything except a go kart, if even that, and you are arguing a woman who has actually experienced it first hand, and can actually offer some insight.

      I’m sure the difference isn’t as pronounced as 30+ years ago, when there was no servo, hydraulics etc. but it’s still extremely physical sport. Why do you think all of them are training so hard?

      Yes, a woman athlete, is probably stronger than 99% of men, but the thing is, F1 drivers don’t represent an average Joe from that 99%, they represent the top 0.000001% of the male population.

      1. Biggsy as mentioned in the article, it’s been over 40 years ago since the last women drove in f1, I’m sure as you hint that f1 was more physical back then, less g-forces but a lot less comfortable with no power steering no power brakes no aids and stick shifts. And Biggsy there’s female racers in the US that’ve shown that women can drive modern day single seaters. Legge, Silvestro, Patrick, Mann.

        1. I think Beitske Visser can join that group of female drivers.

        2. @peartree

          it’s been over 40 years ago since the last women drove in f1

          what about susie wolff? she ran within 2 tenths of massa in FP1 a couple of years ago. given how far off stroll has been at some races, i would say there is fairly conclusive proof that a woman can compete in F1. carmen jorda is just wrong and, as far as i know, she has never driven an F1 car in a competitive session.

          1. Suzi was totally off the pace in all cars she raced. Everybody knows why she got the f1 drive and it was not because of her skill. Drivers like danica would totally blow her away.

          2. @frood19 Sure, but Lombardi was the last female to race, it’s on the article.

      2. pastaman (@)
        6th March 2018, 1:58

        Wish I could edit typos :(

      3. With no power steering, I’d have to think that an Indy car on a bumpy street circuit would be one of the more physically demanding rides out there. Between them, Legg, Patrick and de Silvestro have about 12 seasons of Indy Car on their resumé. Granted, none of them exactly set the world on fire, but they weren’t out there embarrassing themselves either. Apparently, Jorda doesn’t have the strength to handle an F1 car, but that doesn’t mean that she is right to say that other women racers are similarly handicapped.

        1. Think of all the men that spent millions and years and never got a podium in F1.

      4. Neil (@neilosjames)
        6th March 2018, 2:25

        Of course I’m arguing with her, because her statement was obviously incorrect… look at the lower categories. There aren’t any women with great results in F3 knocking on the door of F2/F1 and being turned away due to the lack of a 20-inch neck.

        I agree with you that F1 drivers work hard, but I fully stand by my view that women are physically capable of joining the party… this debate’s been rattling around for years and it seems like the only people in the public eye who think they aren’t capable are Carmen Jorda (and even she only said it’s ‘a barrier’) and Bernie Ecclestone (who was probably just being Bernie).

        Like @peartree said, plenty of women have proved it’s possible. I value their ‘insight’ a lot more than I value Jorda’s…

      5. I think you might want to think that one over @pastaman. As @peartree mentioned, there are already quite a few women showing that the downforce and speeds are not the issue. If they can cope with Indycars – with enduring high G-forces especially on ovals – that do not have power steering, they can certainly manage F1 where they DO have power steering.

        Let’s be real here. Jorda has looks, probably connections or money that brought here were she is. And she still might be a better driver than many of us here on the site. But she is below par in top levels of motorsport, really anything above F3 it seems.

        1. A 2 minute skim in her Wikipedia shows you that she’s an awful driver. We are talking of 0 wins, 0 fast laps, 0 poles and just 3 podiums in the Spanish F3 national championship in 12 years of “career”. We are talking of someone that in three years of the GP3 only managed to be better than the last three drivers in 4 of 48 races.

          Anyone, woman or man, would outperform Jorda if given the same opportunities that she had. She’s a better driver than me or you just because she was allowed to drive better cars for longer times. She’s not the one who can say that kind of things.

        2. pastaman (@)
          6th March 2018, 13:07

          @bascb wait, what? I think you may want to re-read my comment. I am saying that they are physically capable to drive F1 so you and I agree.

        3. Yeah, sorry @pastaman! should have drank my coffee and checked the referral, because that comment is really not an adequate response to your post.

          I agree with your post.

      6. +1, I’m sure Susie Woolf managed OK otherwise it would have been a complete waste of valuable car development time for Williams.

    2. Females are flying fighter jets capable of 9g….

      1. Exactly, and drive top fuel cars, fly in space shuttles, and ride on roller coasters. I believe a capable woman is able to be competitive in Formula 1.

      2. Females can fly jets and drive dragsters but those are all about short time time peaks of physical stress. The 9g maybe lasts couple of seconds in a jet. F1 car is continuous stress that lasts 2 hours in high heat and humidity. But f1 cars also have all the equipment to make them physically light enough that the huge upper body strength advantage* that males have does not come into play. The roads are flat and the cars have power steering. Even the males need to lose muscle because of the obese hybrid engines can’t meet the minimum weight limits. And the males can still drive the cars. Only issue is dehydration because liquids have weight and slow down the cars. F1 does not require peak human performance. As long as you are fit you are good enough regardless of gender.

        But jet flying and dragsters have nothing to do with f1. They don’t prove anything at all.


    3. The physical difference between men and women is pretty irrelevant when it comes to motor racing as it’s about the machine as much as the squishy thing within it and seeing as women have no issues with Indycar (which has high sustained g-forces, vicious road tracks and no power steering) I see no reason women would have problems with F1.

  2. I’m sorry but I can’t believe in what Jorda is saying. I know I’m nobody to say that I know better than Jorda but I can’t see any reason why she’s correct.
    I think there’s one strong example, maybe 2, Simona de Silvestro and Suzie Wolff both are mentioned by ESPN. Suzie drove in 4 FP sessions and to me she looked solid and safe and a little nervous as Di Resta in Hungary last season, with no car time it’s only natural that you can’t be expected to drive like a regular, both made no mistakes.
    Does Jorda knows that F1 has power steering, she’s right in saying F2 does not and Indy I think has no power steering and Simona drove Indy cars, Danika drove at Indianapolis as well.

    1. Oh, F1 cars have power steering? Well, I’ve learnt something new. I thought they didn’t have power steering.

      1. @drycrust, power steering has been around for about 25 years now (it was introduced in the early 1990’s at least, if not possibly earlier).

  3. Those are some nasty comments by Boullier. All this talk by McLaren is so reminiscent of Ferrari before the 2016 season. And we know how that ended.

    I feel these comments are going to bite back McLaren during the season. At worst, I think one of the three – Neale, Boullier, Brown – will have left the organization or be “reshuffled” elsewhere in McLaren by mid-season.

    1. Heh, the one positive of Boullier’s statements is that it makes me want Toro Rosso to do well this year.

      1. @phylyp i immediately had the same thought! i believe (just a hunch) that this difference in organisational culture will mean toro rosso does better than mclaren did last year (admittedly, a low bar).

  4. i dont get it. how much strong a f1 driver is? I mean i can see a clear difference in other sports between genders, but i dont see DiResta as a powerlifter. Plus , given weight limits a 80kg girl could have some advantage to a always dieting 80kg guy. I could bet that most 60kg mma female fighter is stronger than a 60kg driver. The only conclusion I get from Jorda’s opinions on female racers is that is not worthy to listen to Jorda’s opinions on female racers.

    1. pastaman (@)
      6th March 2018, 2:20

      Seriously. Carmen, shut the F up. If you weren’t attractive you would have no platform whatsoever. You are worse than a pay driver.

      1. I take beuty over money

      2. @pastaman really dude?

        Where I come from, people are entitled to their opinions. Why should you be able to express yours, but she doesn’t get the same?

        Blame Keith and everyone else for posting about it every time she gets a clickbait question. You won’t.

        You are the problem.

        1. pastaman (@)
          6th March 2018, 13:13

          @cm-cm did you read the article? Clickbait question or not, her response to it in full context was terrible. I am entitled to my opinion that she should stop giving hers when it comes to women drivers because she is only setting them back.

          Can you give me a single reason why she would even have the platform she does if it were not for her looks?

          1. @pastaman I am not a fan of hers, and agree her looks are probably a big part of her success.

            But she didn’t make herself famous, she didn’t hand herself the test drive, she didn’t publish these quotes.

            Furthermore, telling a woman to “just shut the f up” is part of why we have so many male feminists. It’s a legit problem, and your not helping either side with your over simplified response.

            I didn’t read the article, I find the response far more interesting. You still shouldn’t tell peoole you don’t know to “shut the f up” because you don’t like what is being said.

  5. Just based on crude observations, I have never attended any motorsport event where there has been a majority of women. In fact, every event has been predominately male. Same for garages. It’s not common to find a female mechanic.
    I just wonder if maybe females are generally not that interested in motorsport or cars. I’m not interested in netball and I suspect I’m not alone in the male population. If half a dozen women get FE seats that’s fine, however, gender should not be placed above merit. Perhaps they could start off with a couple of ladyboys…

    1. In fact is somehow astonishing the some men devoted millions of moneys and hours into motorracing. Yes, it can be fun, but is mostly resource consuming without immediate benefits – when not dangerous.

  6. In the end, it’s a good thing that the proposal for a regional-based race calendar has been put to hold as the difference in climate between certain venues of the same continent is just a bit too significant for those races to take place at the same time of year.

    1. the difference in climate between certain venues of the same continent is just a bit too significant

      I thought mankind was working hard on climate change. Give it a couple of years ;)

  7. Can’t help but notice the majority of ppl who don’t get what Carmen is saying are reasoning about bodybuilding and wma female fighters.

    Guys, it’s not about sheer force. It’s about endurance. Try thinking about that: why women don’t compete against men in Olympic Marathon?

    In motorsport is the same. A Mouton is extremely rare.

    Of course a woman can compete in a car. But to win is something else entirely. As i’m sure Serena Williams as a legend and top of her class could beat some good guys, she certainly would give a hard time to the likes of Federer, Djokovic etc. But win a full match over them? No.

    In the end, the teams pick what is more likely to win. Why do you think Hulkenberg was never a dream choice? His height. He powers through that because he is a very good driver. So, if a really talented woman can power through the physical disadvantage, she will make it to the field. But since this is unlikely, you just wait for it. Or make a female category.

    Or better yet, get triggered and cry out loud about patriarchal privilege and stuff while the world spins for both men and women under same sun.

    1. It’s about endurance. Try thinking about that: why women don’t compete against men in Olympic Marathon?

      Or women in general have more endurance, as it takes them longer :p

      1. The endurance here is at a lato sensu: how they endure the conditions under a required performance. That means getting longer won’t matter if they can’t do it in a smaller time.

    2. Neil (@neilosjames)
      6th March 2018, 14:29

      Guys, it’s not about sheer force. It’s about endurance.

      So you’re saying women will have no problem at all… right?

      1. @neilosjames Yes. If you believe a useless study and also thinks “ultra ultra marathon” is comparable to F1.

        We have whats called “footrally” here where you walk as long as possible before giving up. A dude won last year walking roughly 260miles but a woman was top three and there has been female champions before.

        1. Neil (@neilosjames)
          6th March 2018, 17:04

          @rethla The ‘ultra ultra marathon’ mention was a throwaway, speculative comment by a scientist and nothing to do with the actual study (or my point)… no one considers them comparable.

          My point was simply that men do not have superior endurance.

          1. They do however ;)

      2. I am saying the women that endures it will make it. But probably won’t best men. Because in marathons, motorsport and so on, the goal is to cover great loads of wear in the fastest time possible.

        The study says women endure better the repetitions. Great! But was the stride the same? Unlikely. Otherwise the world records in the marathons would be in favor of women, not the other way around. That’s the true evidence: results at real competition. If anyone disagrees, just put them to the proof: don’t make politics, get real.

        Just convert study conclusions in results and the debate will be over.

        1. But probably won’t best men.

          Just to clarify: won’t best the top men.

      3. @neilosjames

        That study, using an artificial way to measure endurance, is inconsistent with observed performance at actual endurance sports. I choose to believe actual performances over theoretical ones.

        Also, single studies are not trustworthy. See the replication crisis.

  8. In motorsport gender is ultimately irrelevant. It seems to me Jorda’s trying to cover her own inadequacies with comments like this.

    1. digitalrurouni
      6th March 2018, 13:31

      This a thousand times this.

  9. Carmen is not wrong. Formula E is easier for men aswell.

  10. YellowSubmarine
    6th March 2018, 8:44

    I once watched a BBC programme, long ago, that tried to explain what happens in a driver’s brain – as in, say, a boxer’s – to give them the drive (no pun int) to be aggressive enough to win. A whole lot of hormonal stuff was mentioned. The programme had a teenage girl driver on, and the narrator explained how hormonal changes in her body during teenage altered her in ways that made her quite different from boys if the same age, whose own hormonal changes moved them in the opposite direction.
    Everyone here is talking about the brute strength – what of the mental differences between men and women, the hormonal angle, etc? Who are the women setting MotorGP and SuperBikes and WRC alight? Karting? Is the absence of a large enough base of girls in these sports all because of social conditioning?

    1. as in, say, a boxer’s

      Short programme ;)

  11. Jorda obviously hasn’t had an exceptional racing record. But are there any stats of how she has compared with other female racers or has she been the only female driver in every category she’s competed?

    I have a degree of sympathy for her because for all I know she’s exceptional by female standards and a comparison with males might be unfair. I don’t imagine driving race cars is a heavily researched area on gender differences, but I don’t find it implausible that differences in musculature and hormones affects ability at the very elite level.

    1. Tatiana Calderon is an example of a current racing driver with a better record in those series in which Carmen Jorda competed – and, unlike Carmen, still has a racing seat (in a series Carmen wasn’t good enough to reach, even with a lot of money backing her). There’s a reason why Tatiana, rather than Carmen*, is the drivers’ representative to the Commission, and it’s not just because she’s less apt to say silly things at the wrong moments.

      * – Carmen is present as one of the national sporting authority (NSA) officialdom members, a career switch she made when the opportunities to drive dried up.

      1. @alianora-la-canta

        While it’s tough to compare them as they didn’t compete in the same championships at the same points in there career I’ll grant you Calderon does seem to have better results. They still aren’t quite the racking up of championships that you see with promising F1 drivers though, are they?

        So is Calderon also just mediocre by racing driver standards or is she possibly an exceptional example of a female driver?

        1. This is not an argument to exclude I have to say. I said on the more recent post that if a woman performs worse than palmer did (like tatiana) before f1, looking at what happened to palmer, she’s not worthy of being a f1 driver, but if I recall even the best female driver so far, lombardi, wasn’t exceptional and barely scored some points.

          So it could be that cause of physical limitations that’s roughly the max a female can achieve, just like when lifting weights you have male and female categories.

  12. Every time Carmen Jorda says the phrase “women should” or “women can’t” or “it would be better for women if” in the context of motorsport I always mentally take the word “woman” out of the thing I am reading and insert the word “I” or “me”…it makes the utter tosh she is saying make sense.

    Carmen Jorda does not speak for all women, she speaks for herself. She doesn’t speak about all women’s abilities, she speaks of her own. She is a mediocre racing driver and we shouldn’t waste time listening to her in the same way I don’t waste time listening to anything mediocre male racing drivers say. There are so many other women blazing the trail in motorsport who should be listened to but we always seem to be listening to her…

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      6th March 2018, 10:10


    2. digitalrurouni
      6th March 2018, 13:33

      Well said. Why the FIA is using her as a mouthpiece I will never understand.

  13. on COTD it is the first time that I read something about “refurbished” parts, can someone please elaborate on that?
    It would explain the reliability meltdown at the end of last season for STR, and it would be a very low blow from Renault, but that is something that does not surprise me

    1. I found this from the Brazilian GP which was around when it all kicked off between Renault and ToroRosso:

      I am sure I read about refurbished parts being supplied to TR by Renault towards the end of the season as they had run out of new parts.

      1. thank you @asanator

        So it wasn’t Renault provided those refurbished parts, simply the lack of new ones meant that STR had to find parts of the PU used previously.

        Very poor attitude from Renault, especially because they were fighting against them in the championship and ultimately manged to beat them right at the end.

  14. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    6th March 2018, 12:22

    Oh my god the season can’t come soon enough so these stupid gender issues can take a back seat to the on track championship battle.

  15. is a barrier that is a physical issue. I think there is a big issue for women

    This is a way overused argument…but the (probably) best performing woman in rallying made her name in, of all categories, Group B.

    1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      6th March 2018, 14:34

      Did Group A have more downforce?

  16. What experience is jorda talking about? She has never driven f1 car. She has driven the simulator but apparently did really really poorly. jorda was slow that I’d not really even trust her opinion about f3 either. She may have some ideas but if I wanted to know about what kind of physical stresses f1 car exerts on you then I’d rather ask susie wolff. She is pretty slow as well but at least she actually has experience as she has driven the cars. Even if it was the 2015 cars which are not as physical as 2017+ cars

  17. So ask Susie. Nobody is stopping you.

    She has simulator experience which is more than 99% of us mortals.

    I hate how someone asked Carmena Jordan a bunch of questions, then someone else posted it, then a bunch of men go on and on about how not good she is…

    She’s just answering questions that Someone asked her.

    Why all the hate? I know, she’s slow, and beautiful, but damn guys… if I didn’t remember all the Maldonado hatred, i would assume you all hate women. Luckily I know it’s a privledged, sub par driver thing… but I can promise you your average woman would read these comments and assume Motorsport fans are sexist as hell…

    1. Why? When women who have shown themselves to be better at racing than Carmen (including ones that are more likely to have been heard of by the average woman) disagree with her?

    2. Is it possible to criticize a woman’s opinion without being labeled a woman hater? I hope it is!

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