Women of Formula 1
Updated: Mar 14, 2019
The formula one season getting to start! This time I would like to get the chance to talk about women racing drivers in formula one. There are not so many female drivers in the history of the races, which is nearly 70 years old.
The first female driver who entered F1 was the Italian Maria Teresa de Filippis.
She was the pioneer who made her debut in 1958 at the Monaco Grand-Prix .
Maserati gave her a chance to enter the series with a 250F. At that time she could not qualify herself but one race later in Belgian she finally started her first race.
She has been discriminated as a woman at the following race in France; the race director denied her involvement, saying, " The only helmet a woman should wear is the one at the hairdresser's"
“ She has been discriminated as a woman at the following race in France; the race director denied her involvement, saying, ' The only helmet a woman should wear is the one at the hairdresser's' ”
Shortly after Maria ended her career after witnessing a tragic accident at the German Grand Prix, when her friend Jean Behra died in a racing accident. After this incident, she turned her back to formula one forever.
After fifteen years without any women in the category, another Italian, Lella Lombardi competed in three seasons, between 1974 and 1976.
Lella became the first and so far only woman to score points in the World Championship.
In 1976 the British Divina Galica tried to qualify for the British Grand Prix . This was the only Formula One Grand Prix in which multiple female racers (Lombardi and Galica) were entered.
In 1980, the South African Desiré Wilson tried to qualify for the British Grand Prix, not succeeding.
The last woman to try to compete in a Formula One Grand Prix was Italian Giovanna Amati in 1992.
She tried to qualify for three races, but failed in all attempts. She was replaced by Damon Hill, who also failed to qualify the car in the 6 out of 8 following races he entered that season.
"Being a female in a man's world is sometimes very tough, You just have to work harder. " Susie Wolff
In 2014, Susie Wolff was the first woman to take part in a Formula One race weekend in 22 years, when she participated in the first practice session at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Other female drivers have been contracted to F1 teams in testing and development capacities.
In 2012 Maria de Villota had joined Marussia F1 as a test driver,with the opportunity to sample Formula One machinery later in the year.
She was involved in a testing accident at Duxford Aerodome in England while carrying out straight-line testing for Marussia. She suffered head and facial injuries and had lost her right eye. In the following year she suffered a cardiac arrest as a consequence of neurological injuries suffered in her F1 testing crash. She passed away only at age 33.
In 2014, Sauber signed Indy Car Series driver Simona de Silvesto as an "affiliated driver", with the goal of having her compete in 2015. But the team had suspended de Silvestro's driving chances due to contractual troubles.
In 2016, she became the first female driver to score points in Formula E with a 9th place in the 2016 Long Beach ePrix with her Amin Andretti.
She currently races as a full-time driver for Nissan Motorsport in the Australian Supercars Championship.
In 2015 it was announced that Carmen Jordá had joined Lotus F1 as a development driver.
Her recruitment was criticized as a “marketing mimic” and as "the wrong message", suggesting she got the position based on her looks rather than her performances.
Sauber signed Colombian driver Tatiana Calderón as development driver for 2017. Calderón was promoted from her development driver role to test driver for the 2018 season, and tested an F1 car for the first time with Sauber in Mexico in October 2018.
So where are all the female Formula 1 racing drivers? When will we see a female driver be given a real chance to prove herself in an F1? Will it be different in the future? Which team principal will be man enough to provide the opportunity?