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 grid boys. The idea was to replace women on the grid but it didn’t please Sebastian Vettel. Do you think it is a good idea to replace women by men here ? Even only to desacralize the image?
Dorothée: It’s only commercial! There is not the idea that the woman only holds a sign. Otherwise we would use kids for that!
Nina: Here we have a good idea!
Dorothée: Showing a man wearing a tight t-shirt and a short has nothing to do with this. It’s only commercial reputation.
Nina: They got rid of grid girls in WEC. However in DTM, there is that strong culture of the grid girl. They wear flashing yellow overalls for the Deutsche Post. There are 2 or 3 photoshoots during the week-end if you want to take pictures with them! You just need to go onto DTM’s twitter account to see how they treat women…
The idea of having kids, like in football, standing next to their role model on the grid is a good idea, although there is still a problem of security.
Chloé: Alongside DTM, there is MotoGP.
Nina: For a moment, Marc Marquez used his brother, Alex, as grid boy.
Dorothée: We interviewed one for FranceRacing. They are only girls who work, and not for a lot of money. Then, it’s all about exploitation of the image of women that is to be questioned. I am not against having women standing in front of a car. What bothers me is when she is half naked, implying she is only here for her body.
Nina: Or to represent a brand like in DTM.
The grid girl is more a marketing tool than a green plant standing there…
Dorothée: In F1, you always have photos of grid girls, especially in Hungary where they are famous for being the most beautiful of the world.
Nina: There are also those who applause in the cool room corridor… they don’t have much utility. A grid girl holding a sign to see the name of the driver and his number, ok. But here I don’t see why…
Dorothée: It’s ridiculous!
Isn’t it a way to show the admiration of the woman for a driver? Like groupies?
Dorothée: That’s it!
Nina: That’s how we are seen.
Dorothée: Here is the problem…
Chloé: Moreover, some of them only learned the name of the driver half an hour before. Most of them to it for the job but some of them are passionate.
Nina: For the Grand Prix of Pau, most of them are local students. In F1, they are models.
Dorothée: If we got rid of grid girls in F1, no one would care. It wouldn’t change anything.
To conclude, if you had to inspire a girl to get interested into motorsports or event to have a career in it, what advice would you give her?
Nina: Don’t give up! No matter what she can be told, if she doesn’t feel legit, she doesn’t have to be! What we have below out belt doesn’t define what we like! If she wants to like motorsports, so be it! If she wants to see a Grand Prix, don’t hesitate! If she wants to work into motorsport, good luck because you’ll need it! She needs to continue, although it’s difficult because once you’re there, it’s awesome!
Chloé: If she wants to cheer up, Susie Wolff made a group with a lot of people [Dare to be Different]. There, we realise there are many women working to motorsports and more girls who want to work here than one may think. This group allows us not to feel alone and to show us that if we keep working, we will succeed.
Dorothée: In general, world doesn’t need to be defined by men. Also, women have their place in motorsports. Just don’t hesitate and go for it. Once everything is settled, you have to say although it’s complicated. The years going by, it will be easier.
Translated from French