Nothing is better than asking women to talk about women in motorsports. In collaboration with our partners France Racing, we gathered three women writers about motorsports. Nina Rochette from FormulaRapida.net, Dorothée Julien from France Racing and Chloé Hamon, also from France Racing took part in a chat about women working in motorsports.
Let’s talk about the drivers. We saw drivers arriving to key places like Susie Wolff and Simona De Silvestro [conference realised before Tatiana Calderón joining Sauber]. In junior formulae, we have Tatiana Calderon in GP3 and Beitske Visser in Formula V8 among others. Today, we see more and more women battling against men in motorsports.
However, Bernie Ecclestone had the idea of making a 100% women championship. This idea has been criticized a lot. Do you think the best way for a woman to show herself is to fight among men although her performances are not as expected?
Nina: I completely agree with Tatiana Calderón when she says it is a stupid idea to separate men and women. We are in motorsports where both the driver and the car matter. According to me, most women don’t want to battle only against each other. When I talked with Tatiana Calderón, she didn’t care about beating Alice Powell’s points record in GP3. Her goal is to battle, at her level, against the boys in her category. Same for Beitske Visser who focused of her season in Formula V8 and who might not want to be just among women.
I think it’s absurd to want to separate men and women. It’s stupid to want a F1 for women! The mediatisation will be less than men, the budget would never equal F1’s, it would be relegating this category to an under-F1, maybe at the level of F3. If women had the same access to sponsors than men, we would make a great step ahead.
Dorothée: A F1 women idea, I find it completely stupid! But what is not that stupid is to promote women in motorsport. Here is my point: it wouldn’t be that stupid to have women Grand Prix as F1 support series. It wouldn’t be much about separating women but more about promoting them. I see it as a positive discrimination. The idea of a women F1 is not viable on the long run. But, punctually, it might work, especially if the mediatisation is less. Once they have the helmet on, a woman is a driver like any other one.
Chloé: I agree with all that has been said. For a woman to exist in motorsports, she needs to confront herself to men with no differences. There is obviously some criticism but if a women F1 had to exist, they would be among themselves.
In the beginning of the 2000’, in America, we saw many women such as Danica Patrick, Sarah Fisher, Pippa Mann, Simona de Silvestro… Should we say the European part of the sport has a more stopped idea of motorsports?
Nina: I rather agree with that. Simona de Silvestro raced in Indycar and she said it was easier for her to find sponsor in America than in Formula E.
But the budgets are not the same?
Nina: They aren’t. There is just less barriers in America. Danica Patrick is the only woman who ever won in Indycar. There is less clichés about women in the US than in Europe where we still have a very masculine idea of the sport. But then in the US, I feel as if there is not the cult of the driver. They are here for the cars and the show. It’s a different approach between the US and Europe.
Chloé: European mentality is behind when it comes to women.
Let’s talk about endurance racing. We had Natacha Gachnang in ELMS, Ines Taittinger and Christina Nielsen this year in the 24h of Le Mans. Let’s talk about Ines Taittinger. Does she have the possibility to get to LMP1?
Chloé: There isn’t a lot of seats in LMP1. It’s already difficult for a man so image for a woman. As long as she wouldn’t have proved herself, the things won’t change, even with money behind it.
We however seen some men in junior formulae getting to the top thanks to money and not talent. Isn’t it paradoxical to ask for results to women when some men reach F1 only thanks to money?
Nina: This is everyday sexism. A woman will have to provide twice as much efforts than a man.
Chloé: And their incomes would be different!
Nina: I am not surprised as this is how life goes!
Dorothée: Men struggle to understand how difficult it is for a woman to have a career because she will have to provide three times as more efforts. We should leave to the women the right to be as bad as men before asking them to be as good as them.
Translated from French