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  • Writer's pictureAnna Krejčí

Women in Motorsport

What are women doing to make a significant break-through to motorsport and how is it going so far?

“Oh, you’re only watching it because the drivers are hot.”

“You’re just a SIMP if you support this driver.”

“You’re a woman, how could you understand cars.”

Probably every female F1 fan has heard at least one of those sentences her life. I definitely have. The environment of raging engines is still harsh for us, women. But change is here and generally speaking, women are getting more and more chances to show their potential.

In 2009, The Women in Motorsport Commission was created with the sole purpose of including more women in motorsport.  As ambassadors, they chose these ladies: Susie Wolff, Jutta Kleinschmidt, Leena Gade, Michèle Mouton, Silvia Bellot, and Tatiana Calderón. They are trying to show that women can be as good as men and are trying to give them more opportunities. During the covid pandemic, they have introduced the project GIRLS ON TRACK – VIRTUAL EXPERIENCE and started organizing online conferences, live streams, webcasts, and workshops with women working in motorsport sharing their experiences. In November of 2020, I attended a medical online workshop with Dr. Clare Morden. It inspired me so much that I’m actually considering becoming a doctor in the single-seater series.

"The Women In Motorsport Commission has more than 70 national representatives in the world appointed by their National Sporting Authorities. Their mission is to help implement the WIMC initiatives in their respective countries in order to create a motorsport culture that facilitates and values the full participation of women in all aspects of motorsport." - official statement by the FIA.

Another project that fights the discrimination is the WeRaceAsOne initiative launched at the beginning of the 2020 season by F1 itself with the purpose of fighting the global inequality. At the beginning of this year, they upgraded their goals and one of them is to bring more diversity to the sport not only in the racial part but also the gender one.

Pay Gap in Formula 1

Let's take a look at this Gender Pay Gap report from 2022. It shows that the gender split, precisely in Formula 1, is on its way to equality. From the negative point of view: the positive uplift of 2,4% in the females column from the year 2018 to 2022 is a thing we can cry about. Yet we can see some sort of change. Not a big one yet, but they are working on that.

Timekeepers of the 70's

Little fun fact from history: in 1970's, the drivers' partners were often seen with stopwatches, pencil, and a paper.

Their observations, focus, and reliability made them the best at writing down driver's time. Nina Rindt and Helen Stewart – two of many that held the position of so-called timekeeper.

Honorable mention

Maria Teresa de Filippis. The first ever female Formula 1 driver. Born in Naples, Italy, she was challenged by her brothers, who claimed she couldn't drive fast. And that's how her motor racing career started. In 1948, she took part in her first race, which she won. After the war, she attended her first Formula 1 race in 1958 in Belgium. This, as already mentioned, made her the first female to compete in F1.

"I was either courageous or reckless, or foolhardy, call it what you want, I just liked to go at full speed." - Maria Teresa de Filippis

Talking only about Formula 1 – We have talented female drivers and now even two all-female racing series - F1 Academy, but why, in 47 years, we haven't seen a woman behind the steering wheel? (The last woman racing in F1 was Lella Lombardi in 1976.) It's a rhetorical question, which can be answered by each of you individually.

On the contrary, I'm sure we would spend a lot of time naming all the females who are actively taking a part in motorsport. It would be hard (and really not fair, if you ask me) to pinpoint only some of them right now. From race drivers through race strategists to physiotherapists – in motorsport, they all play a significant part and should not go unnoticed.



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