Lella Bombardi, pictured here at the 1974 Race of Champions, is the only female to score a point in F1
The FIA have announced a new initiative group to encourage more women to compete in motorsport. The Women and Motor Sport Commission (WMC) is led by World Rally winner Michele Mouton, and held its first meeting on Monday.
Throughout the years, very few females have competed in Formula 1, with only one woman ever getting a points scoring position, when Lelle Lombardi got half a point (race stopped halfway through due to a crash that killed 4 spectators) at the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix. Now though, the FIA wishes to see more women compete in motorsport, as Jean Todt explains:
The FIA's membership around the world comprises men and women. Each
has an identical part to play in sport.
Like many international federations, we will support, promote and
help advance the participation of women in motorsport to ensure
equal opportunities at all levels."
Michele Mouton added to this, saying:
"Women already have their place in motorsport, they have proved it.
But for many years people have asked me why there have been no women
following in my footsteps. I really hope the commission can help
answer that question and that we can attract and support women in
all areas of our sport."
It’s absolutely true that we need to see women competing in the top tiers of motorsport. At the moment, the best female driver is Danica Patrick, but she has only won one open-wheel race, in the IndyCar series, and is
However, there are many females who compete in karting, so the challenge for the WMC is to get these drivers to the top level of motorsport. At the moment, the best female talent in karting is probably Jessica Hawkins, who is a member of the Zip Young Guns All Stars Team. Odd name, but its founder Martin Hines has guided Lewis Hamilton, David Coulthard Anthony Davidson, Gary Paffett and former British Touring Car Champion Jason Plato in their careers at some point, so Hawkins is probably the most promising female talent that might just make it to the top tier of motorsport some day.
But, that would be years away. So, at the moment, the top female drivers around would probably be Simona De Silvestro, Ana Bratriz and Sarah Fisher (all IndyCar), Natacha Gachnang (GT1, also Seb Buemi’s cousin) and possibly Katherine Legge as well.
Just one more thought though. While the FIA should definitely promote women competing in motorsport, they must also be careful not to create an artificial advantage to women at the same time.