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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Women in F1

Katherine Legge is set to become only the fourth ever women drive in Formula 1 (of these four only one woman has competed, Giovanna Amati, who failed to qualify for the Spanish Grad Prix in 1992). Legge, the 25 year old racer, won the Toyota Atlantic Championship in the US, has been driving karts and then single-seater racers since aged nine.

I have followed F1 since I was small, I always watched it with my Dad on the weekends, and it’s great to see another woman on the scene. The culture of F1 is very masculine, and among the teams it has been long believed that women couldn’t handle the g-forces in the car on the track, although this has never been scientifically proven.

Despite this unfounded and archaic belief that women are ‘weaker’ than men, Paul Stoddart, of Minardi, makes this refreshing statement:

"We have always said that if a sufficiently talented woman racing driver arrived on the scene, who appeared capable of handling the performance of an F1 car, we would have no hesitation in giving her an opportunity to show what she could do. I believe Katherine has done more than enough to warrant that chance."
This is especially encouraging as until now the main female roles in Formula 1 have been in “marketing, catering, PR or on the grid, wearing a short skirt and a smile while the blokes get on with the serious stuff” and the commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone can get away with saying:

"What I would really like to see happen is to find the right girl, perhaps a black girl with super looks, preferably Jewish or Muslim, who speaks Spanish."

Go Katherine!

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