Women in Sport: Formula One

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

The drive to get more women involved in sport is making strides in many male-dominated sports, such as association football, rugby union and cricket, but is lagging behind when it comes to the sport of motor racing.

Formula One (F1) is a well-established and very popular sport, which is followed by more than half a billion fans worldwide, of whom 38% – that is, 91 million – are women.

However, motor racing is one of the few sports in which men and women can, at present, compete on a level playing field.

More than 900 drivers have competed in F1 Grand Prix since the championship began in 1950, but only two of them have been women! Namely, Maria Teresa Filippis in 1958 and Lella Lombardi in 1975.

But is all this about to change?

Chloe Targett-Adams, who joined F1 ten years ago as a senior inhouse legal counsel and, following her appointment in 2017, on the management side, as Global Director of Promotions and Business Relations, is now leading the global promotion of the sport.

As an important part of her role, she wants to see more women involved in F1 to reflect the substantial women fan base of the sport and also to reflect how society actually functions nowadays.

In recent years, Susie Wolff and Tatiana Calderon have been recruited as test drivers and Monisha Kaltenborn and Claire Williams have been appointed as team principals.

In fact, Calderon is tipped as a future F1 driver.

But, to achieve a more equal representation of men and women in F1, Targett-Adams says that “it’s important for girls to get involved at grass roots level.”

We wish her success in her crusade to achieve a better gender balance in F1 at all levels of the sport and in the near future!

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘ian.blackshaw@orange.fr’