FIA replaces masculine language with gender-neutral terms in F2 and F3 rulebooks

Formula 2

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The FIA has modified its regulations for Formula 2 and Formula 3 to make all language referring to drivers gender-neutral, in a first for the two series.

Like Formula 1, F2 and F3 are open to drivers of any sex and gender, unlike many other major sports.

However, the sporting regulations for all three series – the highest levels in the FIA’s single-seater pyramid, use masculine language and pronouns, referring to drivers as ‘he’ or ‘him’ in many cases. This has been criticised not only for being inappropriate for championships that are supposedly inclusive of all drivers, but for creating potential loopholes where it could be argued that certain rules strictly would only apply to male competitors.

The newly-updated 2024 editions of the sporting regulations for both championships feature more inclusive, non-gendered language in place of the masculine terms used previously.

The same change has not been made in the updated F1 sporting regulations. However RaceFans understands similar revisions are planned for a future update to F1’s rules.

An example of the modified language is Article 24.15 of the F2 regulations, which mandates that all drivers must use at least two compounds during feature races that run without the need for wet weather tyres:

2023 F2 regulations excerpt

24.15 Unless he has used wet-weather tyres during the feature race, each driver must use at least one set of each specification of dry-weather tyres during the feature race.

2024 F2 regulations excerpt

24.15 Unless the driver has used wet-weather tyres during the feature race, each driver must use at least one set of each specification of dry-weather tyres during the feature race.

This year’s Formula 3 championship season included one driver who is a woman – Sophia Floersch (pictured), who raced with the PHM team. While there were no women competing in Formula 2 this year, Tatiana Calderon raced in the final four rounds of the 2022 season for Charouz.

The FIA and Formula 1 have made efforts to increase opportunities for drivers who are women to compete in the highest levels of single-seater racing. The all-female F1 Academy junior series was introduced this year. In 2024 it will race exclusively as a support category at grands prix and each of the 10 F1 teams will back a driver in the series.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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78 comments on “FIA replaces masculine language with gender-neutral terms in F2 and F3 rulebooks”

  1. Who cares? FIA should have more important things to worry about than vowels or language use generally.

    1. 1. Do these minor changes use lot of FIA’s resources? Probably not.

      2. Is there any good argument in favor of keeping the rules as they are written? Not really.

      3. Is it possible that some that some team could try to benefit these loopholes in the rules in the future? While I think it’s very unlikely they would be successful, it is entirely possible that some team could try to raise the argument that “he” refers to only some of the drivers, which could cause the stewards some extra work (remember the “any does not mean all” -argument a while back).

      All in all, I think it’s a no-brainer decision for FIA to do these changes and be done with it.

      1. @hotbottoms Of course nothing away from anything else regarding the first part, but still weird they care about such trivialities.

    2. It’s wrong to be dismissive of efforts to improve inclusion within our sport. We can’t complain about a lack of diversity and simultaneously have the rules of the sport written excluding half the population.

      1. Plus that it simply doesn’t make any sense to have language here be gendered when both F3 and F2 have -or have in very recent seasons- had female drivers.

      2. We can’t complain about a lack of diversity and simultaneously have the rules of the sport written excluding half the population.

        Couldn’t agree more.

        1. Isn’t calling this “half the population” discriminatory in itself? Do you suggest that there are only two genders, thus there are only two halves? Not very neutral…

          1. You’re kidding, right? You either are XX or XY so you are male or female.

          2. this is trying a bit hard lol

          3. That’s a falacious argument. If 50% of the population were to be ‘he’ for example, why would you assume the rest were only one gender?
            Half does not mean only one type

          4. There are only two genders pal

          5. There are only two (2) genders (there is a third who can have both sexes but still clearly is 1 of those 2 genders.)
            What you want to say:
            That people doesn’t want to indentify with a genders is something for themself (between their ears) but fact is still they are 1 of those two genders……..

          6. To get technical for a moment, sex and gender are not the same thing. Sex is as determined by chromosomes, and there is male (XY), female (XX), and very rarely there are trisominies of XXX or XXY. Gender is the way someone identifies and presents themselves, so someone can be genetically XX but identify as male gender. Sex is physical. Gender is psychological. That is how those words are used in UK English, but other languages and dialects may have different conventions.

        2. 24.15 Unless he has used wet-weather tyres during the feature race, each driver must use at least one set of each specification of dry-weather tyres during the feature race.

          That was terminally bad phraseology anyway, even without the gender-specific “he”
          It would still be bad if it said “she” or “they”

          After all, if the “he” (or “she” or “they”) is an engineer working on two cars and they have worked fitting different tyres on another car and comply with the rule as worded. Changing the object partway through the sentence destroys the clarity.
          The new version is clearer.

          The use of thee and thou (and the plurals which I can’t recall using) is so much less gender bound

          1. Good point Steve, but wouldn’t it be clearer still to say “Unless the car has used”?

      3. written excluding half the population

        So the wording of the rules may be responsible for a lack of diversity? Is it an actual obstacle in the way of women? They would succeed in F1 otherwise, but the fact that the rules are using “he” thwart them?

        1. It’s the infinite search for discrimination to explain why men and women don’t end up with the exact same outcomes, without ever considering the possibility that men and women are different. Somehow fixing the discriminations never results in equality, but that means that we need to try harder at finding and fixing the discriminations.

          And whatever you do, ignore the fact that the more feminist a country is and the freeer women are to choose, the more traditional the choice of jobs is.

          1. Excellent points, well said!

          2. And whatever you do, ignore the fact that the more feminist a country is and the freeer women are to choose, the more traditional the choice of jobs is.

            Choice. Simply that.
            Having said that, the rule as previously written would potentially allow a female driver to only use one tyre specification – because the rule says what he must do and patently does not apply to a woman. Thus, the change makes the rule fairer to men by forcing women to comply in the same fashion.

          3. @SteveP

            It’s very common to use the masculine form by default, even when it also applies to women. It’s just a feminist delusion that the previous wording would keep women from competing. There is absolutely no way that the stewards, race director, etc would not just interpret the rules as applying to a female driver as well.

          4. Ludewig:

            And whatever you do, ignore the fact that the more feminist a country is and the freeer women are to choose, the more traditional the choice of jobs is.

            What? where do you get that “fact” from? Is there any truth inthat at all, or is it a made-up fact used to justify an anti-equality position? What do you consider to be traditional career choices? Lack of opportunity does not make something a traditional career choice.

    3. I missed the mention of the F1 Academy Series or is that not also changing?

      1. You are missing the fact that F1 Academy is not a FIA series, so has no FIA rulebook.

    4. It’s a simple find and replace (‘he’ —> ‘the driver’) and (‘his’ —> ‘the driver’s’)

    5. José Lopes da Silva
      8th December 2023, 13:34

      Everyone cares, since this is by far the most commented article of the moment here in Racefans.

  2. Would be cool to see a current F1 driver identify as a woman to do a single tyre stint and win.

    1. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
      7th December 2023, 12:04

      Do these f1 teams even know what they are doing? Should have been exploiting this rule.

    2. missed opportunity

      1. Maybe the person driving the car doesn’t identify as as ‘driver’ and can still use the loophole.

    3. This would have been quite amusing, but definitely not something a team would want to play a part in. Best to just say ‘the right thing’ and go about your business as usual.

      It reminds me of 2002 when Massa got a penalty in Italy, and since he was out of the race he was given a grid penalty for ‘the next event’. Sauber – who apparently cared very much about said penalty – went through all the trouble to substitute Massa for Frentzen for the Indianapolis race, and then put Massa back in the car for Suzuka. Ever since, the rule specifies that the penalty applies to the driver’s next event.

      1. That was clever by sauber, I didn’t remember this.

  3. Perhaps it’s just because of the current time we’re in, but I also notice in commentary when referring to drivers generally, rather than specific drivers, or specific moments in racing, they’re almost always referred to as ‘he’. An example is when talking about how DRS works generally, something like ‘when the driver gets within 1 second, he can activate DRS’, where because ‘the driver’ is an ‘object’ they should be referred to as ‘they’.

    Any update for extra inclusion is always a good thing.

    1. If the driver is an object, it should be identified as “it”. “They” is a plural form, referring to more than one person or object, but has sadly found its way into a totally different usage. I used to love the English language – I grieve for what it has become.

      1. “They” is not exclusively plural, and has been used as a singular term since at least the 14th Century.

        Anyone who doesn’t believe me needs to rethink *their* approach.

      2. I used to love the English language – I grieve for what it has become.

        Any/all language of today is only a product (and representation) of the people who use it.

        1. Yes, this is true. Languages have always changed organically over the centuries. Unfortunately in the past few decades there have been many changes (such as the misuse of “they”) which are not organic changes, but have been forced to accommodate a particular social or political agenda.

          I’m not making any comment in the agenda, just the way in which it has made our language stilted and ugly.

      3. In this case “They” refers to “anybody who” so it is referring to a number of possible people and is therefore plural.
        On a side note Sofia Florsch made a good account of herself, scoring points when her teammates didn’t.

      4. Except long before people were aware of gender identity and the many issues around it. “They” and “Their” was also used when referring to a person that you did not yet know the identity of. So if, to name but a random example, someone lost their luggage and the people at the airport didn’t know or couldn’t infer their gender, they would have already said, “they can pick their luggage at gate A.”

        So no, you wouldn’t have referred to anyone person as “it” and also no, the English language has no issue with the pronouns “they” and “their.”

      5. This post represents an impressive misunderstanding of the English language, well done.

        1. Matt90, if you don’t understand the English language, perhaps I can help you.

      6. (@avroanson)

        Ignorance at its finest.

        Person 1: where’s your friend?
        Person 2: they’re over there.

        Dialogue like this has existed for decades or longer, yet you choose to ignore it and claim a falsehood as true, because otherwise your failure of an agenda would have no footing.

        1. Rubbish. Nobody ever said “They’re over there” when referring to a single friend. They would have said he or she (as the case may be) is over there. Stop making up silly statements to support your own agenda.

          1. Avro: “Rubbish. Nobody ever said “They’re over there” when referring to a single friend.”

            I beg to differ. If I was sitting down and writing, I expect I would write “he is” or “she is”, but in conversation I know I sometimes use “they” to mean he or she. This is especially true when the question is genderless? For example, Q: Have you see the person selling the tickets? A: Yes, they’re over there. Just because it isn’t common in your nek of the woods deosn’t mean it isn’t commonly used in other areas, and English is defined by the way it is used, not by arbitrary dogmatic rules invented by the Victorians.

          2. @avroanson because you don’t do it it doesn’t mean everyone does the same.

            I’m using it and I’m happy there’s such a simple change I can make to be more inclusive. I don’t have the same luck with my own language, but with English is pretty easy to adopt they/them and simply forget about the gender.

      7. Avro, “it” refers to an object, not an individual of unspecified gender. We do have such words in english, for example, child is a singular substitute for boy and girl, person for man or woman. Why do you think “they” isn’t an acceptable substitute for him or her, or “their” for his or her?

    2. Isn’t that perhaps because they’re referring to a male driver?

      1. Dot com: “Isn’t that perhaps because they’re referring to a male driver?”

        Isn’t that exactly the pount, trying to break away from the assumption that drivers will be male?

  4. © Chris Rea ‘This is the road to Hell’… Hope that this gender neutral agenda will lead you to an extinction.

    1. Oh, the moral panic. Inclusive language, what has the world come to?

      1. Inclusive language, what has the world come to?

        The problem isn’t people wanting to use inclusive language forms, the problem is that people ever used exclusive language forms.

      2. The pearls don’t like to be unclutched.

        1. BINGO “unclutched”!

    2. Of all the battles that aren’t relevant to you to fight,
      Of all the people you choose to target with hatred,
      You choose this? Why?

      I find it so hard to understand why you care so much about someone so irrelevant to your life that you’d wish someone’s “extinction”.
      Sad, sad person…

  5. Quite right too.

  6. Also – I love the way you Guys/Girls/Things at RaceFans, have found a picture of an attractive, distraught looking Female (in flattering make-up) to use for this article.
    Might that get you more hits than the headline?
    Why not a picture of a Guy? ….. Discrimination!

    1. How dare you assume that’s a picture of a woman. Assuming gender is a violent crime, along with not using the correct pronouns, or not leaning to the political left……….

      1. I’m not sure why did they raise the issue of women racing in F1 (despite the fact that nothing prohibits it), when there are no genders. F1 likes to be woke progressive, and now they seem to want to be “gender neutral” (whatever this means), so there are no women, as well as there are no men. There are only feelings (that can be “fluid” and prone to change). But seriously, if they ever make up a rule that there must be a certain percentage of female drivers (I’m surprised they didn’t announce this already), first reaction would be that at least half of all the racing drivers in the world would change their gender (by declaration, on Twitter or whatever). At the same time, there would be a strong (again on Twitter/whatever) reaction from all those other genders.
        For the sake of sanity, I think that the safest course of action for F1, and any sport or organization, is to stear clear of mentions of genders in any way or form.

        1. F1 likes to be woke progressive

          You say that like it’s a bad thing.
          “aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)”

          God forbid that people should be educated, aware and responsible in their behaviour, eh?

      2. Oh Gubstar.
        I didn’t think….
        Is this a still from Lewis’s movie?

        Is it …. is it ….. you know who? :)

    2. If showing a picture of a pretty girl instead of an ugly guy is discriminatory against men, then I don’t mind being discriminated against so much. Take one for the team etc.

  7. They’ll soon have made it completely impossible for there to ever officially be a female racing driver, not just in F1, but in any FIA recognised series. They can’t exist – by regulation.
    When they become a driver, they lose their gender, their humanity and their identity all at the same time.

    Anyway – the word “he” was never going to stop a female from racing anywhere. It never did before, either.

  8. Well thank God for this step by FIA.

    I’m sure the girls wouldn’t have been able to grasp the meaning of the rules the way it was worded before.

  9. This is really good news, I was discussing this very issue with Motorsport UK as they also review their rule book. Barriers to inclusion need to be lowered as some wording had clearly not been touched since the 1950s.

    Let cash be the only barrier, then we can work on that later…

    1. Let cash be the only barrier, then we can work on that later…

      Motorsport is expensive, so this will remain a problem. It is certainly possible to change the way lower categories are funded, but the numbers are an issue. Simply because the series that cost money will likely always badly outnumber the series that make a lot of money ( which can be ‘taxed’ to fund FIA programs ).

      That said, a salary cap in F1 and a hefty increase in the entry fee can reallocate a lot of money into the junior series on which F1, whether they like to admit it or not, depend for their drivers and a lot of their staff.

      1. Michael, I don’t think a salary cap is the answer. In other sports, such as cricket, football, etc, the sport sells TV rights for the premier levels and uses that money to build up infrastructure, support the lower leagues, run school programmes, and so on. Those sports do not need to cap what stars can earn in order to finance itself. In motorsport, Max Mosley gave his mate Bernie Ecclestone the TV rights to F1 in perpetuity. The profits of F1 are used to make shareholders rich, and the sport survives on crumbs from the master’s table.

  10. Pretty useless. There is 1 way to get more women into race series:

    Start with the youth.
    You still segregate there, so it will never happen with the adult- logic.
    F1 academy is not the way as well, those are way to old to ever make that step.
    Focus on girls who are karting now, give them the actual proper training and through all the series.
    You’ll simple get plenty of women drivers able to drive F1. It’s not so hard

    Changing language does nothing

    1. It would seem a lot of appearing to do things, without actually having to do anything.

      Youth/Grass Roots is always where you can make the biggest change going forward. How about looking at the blockers or inclusivity problems there if they are serious? The problem there is, you run into actual difficult problems adn tough choices that no one wants to discuss.

  11. Why don’t we just call these drivers by what they want? They have never said they want be called they/them! They are male, they would speak out if otherwise!

  12. Baffling. All those race fans ignoring the comment section in the racing articles, but flooding the comments section in the non-racing articles.

    Also baffling. People being enraged about new wordings because they feel it is absurd to be annoyed about the old wordings.

    1. they’re accounts, not necessarily people. Talking to yourself is a thing, and when it can just be opinions then it’s easier to have a lot of them

  13. It’s kinda weird it was ever gender specific, none of the contracts I’ve had the pleasure of analysing or signing have done this.

    Even weirder is the timing – no woman (or person of whatever gender) is anywhere near competitive motorsport at the moment.

    1. JHG “Even weirder is the timing – no woman (or person of whatever gender) is anywhere near competitive motorsport at the moment.”

      I think Sophia Floersch might beg to differ. And if you haven’t seen it already, look on YouTube for “170mph F3 crash in Macau (Sophia Floersch)”. If that doesn’t make you wince, nothing will.

      Regarding timing, remember this change is for F2 and F3 regs, F1 having already done it. F2 cars are also being redesigned in 2024 to make them more like F1 cars. The current generation of F2 cars are heavy and clunky, and this probably disadvantages women in the F2 class, making it difficult for them to excel in that category. So the timing of these wording changes is actually quite appropriate, and just one of several initiatives aimed at removing barriers.

  14. Let’s flip all of the language in the rules around to refer to she, her etc… Then let’s see how fast all of the people saying these current changes are a trivial waste of time change their tune.
    It’ll be pretty damn fast I can assure you.
    Put the boot on the other foot and see how you react. That will tell you if you’re being sexist and/or stupid for exactly zero reason.
    Try it and see. I dare you.

  15. Fair enough, since it is a unisex championship

  16. I can see that this has sparked a debate that quickly developed into much wider societal, philosophical and biological (?) realms, but if I may return to the actual matter for a moment: I just wonder, what is the argument against making this specific change of wording?

    Maybe I’m just a simple person, but phrased like that, I cannot really come up with one.

    1. @Bob as always, gatekeeping.

      Honestly, I came to the conclusion that the only viable option with these people is to accept they exist, let them cry over the inevitable change and wait for them to naturally disappear.

      If you can’t see why this is important by yourself, you just lack the basic knowledge, common sense, awareness that is needed to grasp the concepts behind. They will always, inevitably, rebate with unrelated arguments, whataboutism and such.

  17. I guess that in the new regulations and team communications porpoising would be much more enjoyable once the grids begin to welcome women.

  18. I pray that the F1 fanbase doesn’t shift to motoGP anytime soon. I kinda like the grid/umbrella girls on the grid over there.

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