Pierre Gasly, Alpine, Yas Marina, 2023

Gasly sees good chance of female driver reaching F1 during his career

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by and

Pierre Gasly believes the chances are good he could face a female rival in Formula 1 during his career.

Although F1 is not restricted by gender, no woman has attempted to qualify for a grand prix for more than 30 years. However recent years have seen new efforts to encourage more women to participate in motor sport.

An all-female single-seater championship, W Series, was founded in 2019, but collapsed last year. A new series for women, backed by F1, was set up last year. F1 Academy will appear exclusively on the support bills of grands prix next year.

With few women due to race in the series which award the most FIA superlicence points next year, the prospects of a female competitor appearing in F1 soon are remote. But Gasly, who made his F1 debut in 2017, sees a realistic chance he will face a female competitor later in his career.

“I would not be surprised,” said Gasly. “I think it is definitely possible.

“There is a lot of efforts put in place from the organisation, from our team in supporting women in our sports category. I’m sure if one woman really shows that she’s got the speed and talents to be part of the 20 best drivers in the world, I’m sure she’ll be given an opportunity.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Gasly drives for Alpine, which launched a programme called ‘Rac(h)er’ in 2022 to encourage more women to participate in motorsport as drivers as well as engineers and mechanics. Its junior driver roster features several female racers: Sophia Floersch, Abbi Pulling and several karters.

World champion Max Verstappen spoke highly of his sister Victoria’s karting abilities when RaceFans interviewed him earlier this year, though she did not pursue a career in motor racing. He believes getting more women involved at grassroots level is key to increasing female representation in F1.

“If you look at the percentage of men and women in racing, I think already for men the percentage [chance] is of course very low to get into Formula 1. So naturally, of course, for women, it’s even harder because there are less women.

“I do think physically driving F1 in some places is quite tough but I do think that it’s all train-able if you work hard for it. But it is, of course, naturally a little bit harder for a woman.

“But if you have enough talent, then of course it is possible because I don’t think team bosses are people who make decisions to choose their drivers, and look at it like ‘oh, no, we only go for men’. If there’s a woman who is beating everyone else, then naturally they will have the opportunity to get to Formula 1, but it’s just that there are less women in the sport and naturally, of course, the percentage to make it to the top is lower.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 F1 season

Browse all 2023 F1 season articles

Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

45 comments on “Gasly sees good chance of female driver reaching F1 during his career”

  1. I wonder if it will be a biological female first or maybe mtf first because of the physique . Because of the hrt they will have lesser muscular buildup than biological males but still more than biological males. Also, FOM would have something new to brag about diversity amd inclusivity then.

    1. I have an opinion
      11th December 2023, 8:41

      I would be very ok with Marie-Pierre Gasly partnering Esteban next year at Alpine.

    2. Have you seen an F1 driver recently? Muscle mass is only an asset up to a point and a liability beyond that. The taller drivers end up built like twigs to avoid going far over the 80kg (fully kitted) minimum driver weight.

    3. Well, we have Britney, who took a WDC while trashing a (then) 3-time WDC in the process LOL

  2. It’s going to be Lia Block. She’s fast, marketable and young enough to climb the career ladder.

    1. It’s way too early to judge that. She doesn’t even have experience in open-wheeled single-seaters yet.

  3. Coventry Climax
    11th December 2023, 10:01

    She’ll first have to do really good in the F1 Acadamy, which run F4 cars as far as I understand, so there’s still a bit of road to cover. We’ll see. Hopefully the female driver that goes to F1 goes there because she’s really, really good, and not because of marketablility.
    I hope there’s a decent competition between all these Acadamy drivers, as that’s only good for them, the series, the value of the championship and the cause.

    1. Hopefully the female driver that goes to F1 goes there because she’s really, really good, and not because of marketablility.

      I wonder how ‘really, really good’ she has to be.
      Beating a (pay) driver like Sargeant should suffice, but I guess criticism won’t stop until she is a WDC contender.

      Personally, I wouldn’t mind if F1 requires all teams to have both a male and a female driver (after few years to develop the talent).
      F1 is (or IMO should be) in the first place a team sport, and as long as all teams have the same rules it will be fair for all and the competition.
      It could also help the sport commercially. From memory there is only one teamsport which requires both male and female athletes: korfball (aka basketball without the backboard).

      1. This will probably happen eventually.
        And, thinking about it, why not?

        All it takes is one more new rule.
        F1 loves introducing new rules, so introducing one more new rule can not be an issue.

        But don’t wait years.
        Do it now.

        1. F1 isn’t going to introduce a rule mandating they have to field a driver equivalent to a backmarker F4 driver…

          It isn’t even a rule F1 could implement, as the requirement to hold a superlicence would still exist.

      2. Craps on a driver for not being good enough, by F1 standards anyway. Deriding him as a pay driver despite not really being a pay driver, in a world where all drivers pay for their drives.

        Given the female drivers are rarely good enough to be up challenging for the championship in F4 or Formula Regional, just where exactly do you think these female drivers to satisfy your delusional 1:1 F1 ratio. If drivers that finish at the top end of F2 are derided as a pay driver, just exactly what do you expect low level F4 drivers would be able to do in comparison?

        People may like to knock the likes of Latifi, Sargeant & Mazepin but they would still run rings around any female ‘talent’ with great ease.

        1. I’d like to see that sort of challenge: chadwick vs mazepin to see if the best female driver is still not f1 level (I consider mazepin indeed not f1 level).

          1. Mazepin raced Chadwick in the 2019-20 F3 Asian championship. They placed 3rd and 4th respectively, behind one Jack Doohan who has been making FP1 appearances with Alpine. 3rd may be better than 4th but falls some way short of “running rings around her with ease”.

          2. A reply to WH:
            A statement that massively misrepresentative of the situation. It was a winter series which usually are weaker than summer series. She finished 47 points behind Mazepin, and had half of the points the champion. Mazepin had placed 2nd in GP3 prior to this and 5th in F2 following. Meanwhile Chadwick’s best results are sucking in FREC & IndyNXT, where she beat only 2 full season entrants and those who did partial seasons.

            They are not even remotely comparable as drivers. Yes, he would run rings around her easily. You just don’t want to accept that, for obvious reasons…

          3. @amped, I can only guess why you would so confidently assume my willingness to accept facts, or indeed reasons underlying that position. I’m sure it’s not projection.

            I can accept the on-track record just as readily as I would hate to give the impression it is a remotely impressive record by an F1 standard, for either driver. I merely intervened against the impression that the two had never been anywhere near head-to-head in their career, that such a scenario was a mere hypothetical.

            You think that finishing behind a driver in one out of three races is “running rings” – good for you, but it must leave your vocabulary pretty impotent for other more dramatic comparisons, even within the same championship. There is no doubt that it is nonetheless the more impressive performance of the two, whatever that is worth.

      3. If you want to mandate the choice of drivers (instead of “let the best win”, or at least “freedom of choice”), than why it has to be male and female only? They must be of different races also, come from different backgrounds and different countries, and both should be checked (regularly) for political correctness and if they share all the views with whoever is “the boss” at the moment.
        Is it fun to think of all the absolutely arbitrary rules you’d like to enforce on someone else? To decide, using arbitrary criteria, who can participate and who cannot. It’s like playing God in a way.

      4. Coventry Climax
        11th December 2023, 19:47

        Like I said: Hopefully the female driver etc.
        Why would you question my hopes?

        I said I hoped she’d be really good. To me, that means beating any Latifi, Sargeant, Mazepin or Stroll hands down, no question.

        Opposed to what you say, I would absolutely mind all teams being obliged to run both a male and a female driver. What’s next? The obligation to run colored minorities? Disabled?
        Lets get this clear: I don’t give a hoot where the person driving an F1 car comes from, as long as he/she/it is doing a terrific job. They should be there on merit, nothing else and like anyone else.
        It’s that exact like anyone else that defines equality.
        I think it’s actually even very condescending if having to run drivers of whatever ‘minority’ were madatory.
        It simply is not what F1 was, is, and should be about.
        F1’s a team sport alright, but not a vehicle for political or cultural advancement.
        And to the Devil’s dwellings (not sure which words are allowed here anymore) with ‘commercially attractive’: That’s most certainly not what women -or any person for that matter- should be about when we talk about sports.

        1. Why would you question my hopes?

          Where, when, and how did I ‘question your hopes’?

          1. Coventry Climax
            12th December 2023, 19:18

            Where you quoted me saying it and then started with ‘I wonder’?

            But it’s OK, don’t worry.

      5. Personally, I wouldn’t mind if F1 requires all teams to have both a male and a female driver (after few years to develop the talent).

        You would not have developed sufficient talent in a few years. Not even close. So you would just introduce mandatory first and second drivers. People already get upset over poor performing drivers in a team and wish them away, so it actually would be pretty horrible for your ideals, as many people would wish the female drivers away.

        And we already see that drivers tend to suffer mentally from getting consistently beaten by their team mates, so it would be cruel towards those female drivers. I would argue that your ‘solution’ is actually abusive.

        From memory there is only one teamsport which requires both male and female athletes: korfball (aka basketball without the backboard).

        That sport is actually segregated in a way, because the men are only allowed to play defense against the men and the women against the women. And because it is mandatory for both teams to field the same number of female players, the quality difference between men and women is cancelled out between teams. In F1, the drivers compete individually and against all drivers, so most if not all female drivers will obviously lose out to their team mates and probably, often end up doing a Checo, losing to drivers in worse cars.

        Also, korfball is a very localized sport with one country always winning and it’s neighbor almost always getting 2nd place. It’s also not a popular viewing sport. So it’s a pretty horrible example to give to make your point that F1 would be better off by forcing women into it.

    2. She would even need to do F1 Academy… It like W Series is not mandatory or necessary.

      If a female driver came in and did well in F4, she would progress up the ladder in the normal manner ignoring the existence of the series for female failures.

      1. Coventry Climax
        11th December 2023, 20:25

        For your information, she will be participating in the ’24 season of F1 Academy.
        If she flunks there, it won’t be her that’ll make it to F1. Could she have taken another route? Sure, I don’t mind. I’m not even particularly in favor of a specific women’s series, as that is -by definition- not about equality, as far as I’m concerned.
        But as it stands; my opinion, put mildly: She’ll need to make a more than decent impression there.
        Do I hope she will? Not more than any of the other men/woman, boys/girls that may aspire to get there. That’s equality too, you know. To me, the requirement is that they have to be good, not that they should be girls, colored, maori, eskimo or whatever.

        1. Oh I see, I thought you were referencing a theorotical driver. Accept my apologies.

          1. Coventry Climax
            12th December 2023, 19:20

            No need, it’s OK.

        2. Could she have taken another route? Sure, I don’t mind.

          I think a more interesting question than whether you care is whether this series will increase her chances of reaching F1 or decrease it.

          It seems pretty universal in sports or any form of competition, that competing against the best is needed for talent to really bloom. People stop pushing themselves when they win easily, so they need strong competition. And you learn way more from the best competition than from mediocrity.

          And F1 Academy is just not going to offer the best competition.

          1. Coventry Climax
            12th December 2023, 19:32

            There’s certainly truth in what you say, but let’s first see how she actually does in F1 Academy.

            If what you say is true, she’d at least need to feel the incentive to win, and should she not win, be pushed to do the best she can and try to win.

            Then there’s these things to consider:
            A certain Max Verstappen seems to need zero incentive to perform the best way he can, race weekend after race weekend.
            We had Jamie Chadwick in the W-Series. She won the title in a quite commanding way, to say the least. What happened next, is people started saying the competition was weak, but she too won race weekend after race-weekend. Not saying she’s fit for F1 though, for now.

          2. An issue is that if you are winning below the level you are capable of, you probably don’t even know how and that you can do better. So athletes may think that they are doing well, when in reality, they are stagnating, or even learning bad habits that only work against weak competition, and they have to unlearn. So lack of motivation isn’t even necessarily an issue, when the athlete does stagnate.

            And I think that most people would consider it abusive if Lia gets her motivation by being trained like Max was, especially since she is a girl.

            And that Jamie won so easily in the W Series, but struggles so much in cars that others use to get to the top spots, shows that the W Series was weak. For example, in Indy Lights, all her 3 team mates finished 5-10 spots above her. Of course, given her career so far, it seems likely that she has plateaued at a level that is substantially below F1. But that then means that her W Series competitors, that she soundly beat, were way below that level still. That is completely unlike the stiff competition that Max faced, but also unlike his performances. Max was pushed up the ladder really fast, but showed at each level that he was full of talent. Even as a 17 year old F1 driver he immediately showed his talent and showed that he could up his game to keep up, but he was never left to get comfortable and stagnate at a level below his real talent.

            Given the pool F1 Academy gets their drivers from, I can guarantee you that the general level is going to be really, really low, with any true big talents, like Lia may be, being far more talented than all or all but one of the other drivers.

  4. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    11th December 2023, 10:02

    It will be shoehorned if so, a publicity display at best

  5. Doesn’t seem likely, as you need to get 40 superlicence points and that means being in top-3 in F2 or in FRECA and F3 multiple times. In F2, Tatiana Calderón never even finished in the points on a car which Anthoine Hubert won two races.

    Unless, of course, they remove superlicence requirements. But still, it wouldn’t be good publicity if they allow in a female driver who won’t even make it to the race due to 107% rule.

    1. And then make it 110%, so that she can get within the limit!

  6. Pierre Gasly is greatly overestimating the amount of years he has left in F1.

    1. Was thinking the same thing!

      More to the point, the superlicense points are a massive barrier here, as they should be (at least according to the FIA). Before that was a thing, Ecclestone tried very hard to get Danica Patrick into F1 when she was at her peak performance/popularity in Indycar but nothing came of it. Even if someone tried to fast-track a promising woman through, you can’t bypass the points.

      I’m sure a woman can some day get the points needed, but let’s be real: the list of people who get that superlicense is extremely small. Even many perfectly fine drivers in top series like Hypercar and Indycar can’t get the number of points needed to race in F1.

      1. From what I understood even chadwick, who was head and shoulders above the rest she competed with wouldn’t be good enough to get a superlicense?

        1. I doubt that very much. When she competed in the 2020 Formula Regional European series, she did rather poorly compared to her three teammates – who finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the championship. They scored about 350 points each while she got 80. And in this past Indy NXT season she was last of those participating in all rounds (12th out of 25 overall), although she did have a few decent races.

          That’s part of the problem. By dominating an all-women series, Chadwick is being made out to be the standard bearer of female racers, and that’s very unfair on her. If you look at the entry lists to those two series, there quite likely isn’t a serious F1 prospect among them. But they can all do quite well in other forms of racing – as can Chadwick. F1 cannot be the standard. F1 is for the extreme outliers.

  7. Pierre obviously has high opinions of himself if he thinks he will still be in F1 for the next decade!

    F1 Academy, like W Series, will never produce a driver good enough to rise up the ladder. Even the more experience drivers in it when competing outside of it finish in the nose bleed positions. The 2nd & 3rd place finishers in F1 Academy also competed in F4 UAE this year, finishing 33rd & 24th respectively.

    Pulling, whilst promising in British F4, didn’t really show anything of note in W Series or F1 Academy despite the low competition levels.

    Floersch, whilst her performance in F3 is not terrible, nor is it a performance indicative of a driver that will progress to F1.

    1. If the current trend of experience fetishism continue, Pierre will still be in F1 in the 2040s.

  8. I’m hoping for a third-generation world champion Rosberg.

  9. Not a chance, at least not a biological female. The physical advantages a male has are too great to overcome in a sport that is all about milliseconds. Nearly every sport on the planet has a separate female competition for that reason.

    1. Don’t tell the men racing in GTE.

      Women can race with men just fine. There just aren’t a lot to choose from, so finding the right woman to race at the Indycar, F2, F1 level is a challenge. Maybe even impossible with the current selection racing in lower series at the moment. Let’s not forget that just about all male drivers aren’t good enough for F1 either. Heck, easily more than half the current F2 (!) field will never compete in even a single Grand Prix.

      1. This is a good point, usually to get a top driver you need to destroy everyone in f2 your first year, if you end up winning after a few years you can usually be a backmarker in f1 and are usually dropped after a few years, probably only 4-5 f2 drivers per year would be good enough to get in f1 and stay.

    2. You know that the all female car came second in GTE class championship in WEC this year (and arguably had a higher than average level of bad luck compared to their competitors)?

    3. Maybe not your average biological female, but hey, does not have to be average. Pretty much nothing is average in F1.
      Jutta Kleinschmidt’s karyotype is 46XX I presume, and she has won the Dakar Rally (plus another 3 podiums) in the car category. OK the Dakar is not F1 but it is also extremely demanding physically.

      I can agree that F1 racing may be physically tougher for a biological female than for a biological male. And than even with zero discrimination, biological males will be a majority in the F1 grid in the foreseeable future. But hey, it is not an impossibility and I hope to watch at least a female driver in the grid, on merit, in the next few years, ever before Pierre Gasly retires if he stays in F1 for a while. On the other hand, I would hate to watch a Mazepin-level female driver promoted just for her gender and the marketability of the event. We do not need a WDC contender just yet, although it will eventually happen, but a decent midfield-level female driver should be very welcome.

      1. Maybe not your average biological female,


        Jutta Kleinschmidt’s karyotype is 46XX I presume,

        What do you mean by that? It sounds like you are trying to add in a caveat, she is the most successful female rally driver, but you don’t actually have any proof that she is genetically female, only a presumption? Is that what you are saying? Would you ever consider saying something like that about a male driver?

  10. Doriane Pin looks really excellent in WEC and IMSA. She is the best driver in the all female Iron Dames when she races with them in IMSA (and the Iron Dames came second in the WEC GT class in this years championship where Doriane is not their team mate, so those other women she is quicker than are not slow). She seems a match with Daniil Kvyat when teamed with him in an LMP2. She might only be an average or average to low F1 driver, who knows, but I bet she would be much better than Mazepin or Stroll.

    1. She recently did well in F4 South East Asia as well. She’s definitely an interesting, and still quite young, driver.

      Though as an aside, the Iron Dames main WEC GTE line-up featured both a Bronze and Silver rated driver, so it’s to be expected that they’re not all at the same level. It’ll be interesting to see if those rating change for the 2024 season, because there was a bit of grumbling about those ratings being perhaps suppressed a bit. That wasn’t just sour grapes aimed at them; there were similar complaints about some others in GTE, Ben Keating being perhaps one of the main question-marks.

Comments are closed.