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F1 chief makes female driver prediction

Stefano Domenicali commented on the chances of a woman driving in the elite motor racing championship

Formula One should not expect to see a female driver in its ranks in the next five years, according to its president, Stefano Domenicali.

The Italian said that though it is “crucial to give the maximum possibility for women to come” to the elite motorsport championship, which it is “totally dedicated to,” he added that “realistically speaking, unless there is something like a meteorite, I don’t see a girl coming into F1 in the next five years”.

“That is very unlikely,” Domenicali added, while claiming that F1 is “working to see what we can do to improve the system.”

F1 has shown a desire to do this by promoting the W Series at its Grands Prix this season which has only female racers.

“We are very happy with the collaboration with Formula W,” Domenicali said on this.

“But we believe that to be able to give the chance to girls to be at the same level of competition with the guys, they need to be at the same age when they start to fight on the track at the level of Formula 3 and Formula 2.

“We are working on that to see what we can do to improve the system. And you will soon see some action,” he vowed.

“We want to build up the right parameters with the right approach for them to start racing against the guys, at the right age, with the right car.”

Domenicali did not expand on what plans there are to ease women into F1, but the likes of two-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick have said she is “happy to be the guinea pig” when it comes to integration despite also confessing she is not sure women can cope with the physical demands required to cut it at the top level as F2 and F3 cars don’t have the power steering that their F1 counterparts do. 

“Without power steering and [a] driving big, heavy cars, a lot of women do struggle, even though they have been successful in go-karting,” the Brit noted.

Thus far, only two women, both compatriots of Domenicali’s, have started an F1 Grand Prix.

In the 1950s, Maria Teresa de Filippis tried five times while Lella Lombardi participated in 12 races throughout the mid-1970s and was the only one of the pair to score points by getting half of one when finishing sixth in the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix.

Domenicali was speaking at a press conference ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix this week and also revealed that discussions were taking place to hold a race in South Africa without specifying whether this could happen in 2023 or 2024. 

China is also trying to make its way back onto the calendar after being absent since 2019, but Domenicali pointed out that while Covid fears and regulations have complicated this, progress is on the horizon. 

“Covid is unclear, and all the major sports leagues are waiting to understand what is going on, [but] we believe we will have a clear guidance on what is the scenario for China in the future by the end of this year,” Domenicali said, while highlighting how Chinese Community party elections in October are also crucial. 

After those, “the first point will be to understand what are the Covid regulations applied in that country and then we will see how the situation will evolve,” Domenicali stressed.

When probed on whether China’s human rights record and isolation on the world stage could put the Chinese Grand Prix under threat, the F1 chief remarked that “the political line of the sport is always very thin” and that the championship needs “to be always prudent”

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“But we always said we want to put the spotlight on our positive values. In all the countries, we are going to be highlighting what we believe is the right thing to highlight. If it is not happening, we will take the right decision to move out,” he added. 

Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia will remain on the calendar despite drivers being shaken by a rocket attack on an oil refinery near the track in Jeddah on race weekend back in March. 

“They are pushing to change what they believe is the right way to move forward,” Domenicali said regarding promises by the Kingdom to improve its human rights record.

“You cannot expect a millennial culture to move from day to night but we will help with our spotlight to make sure what they promised will be delivered. Otherwise, then things will be different,” Domenicali claimed.

Moving forward, Domenicali believes that the race calendar could have 24 races next year as “the market has requested this number”.

Anything less than 23 or 24, described as the “tipping point”, is not possible as the traditional European Grands Prix “cannot be expected to have the financial strength to cover the money the others are paying” he stated in a nod the financial might of the Middle East and Asia.

With local favorite and reigning world champion Max Verstappen currently leading the drivers’ standings, F1 resumes this weekend with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa Francorchamps.


READ MORE: Hamilton happy to ‘get out’ of Saudi Arabia after controversial Grand Prix

https://ift.tt/jIx6QqP 25, 2022 at 05:29PM
from RT – Daily news

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