Nothing is beyond the reach of women. Women have made great strides in every sphere of life, from employment to raising children. It's been 100 years since some developed economies such as the United States, Germany, and Great Britain introduced women's right to vote. However, a century later, there is still a long way to go in many areas of our daily lives when it comes to gender diversity. International motorsport is one of the few sports with a more stereotypical masculine reputation, and it has taken a lot of time and work to overcome this stigma. However, more and more women are getting into motorsports careers and women’s racing, which calls for wits, tenacity, and lightning-quick reflexes.
Women's involvement in motorsport has a rich history. It started with the development of the automobile and continued until the late 1950s, when racing began to take off. Maria Teresa De Filippis led the charge as the first woman to compete in a Formula 1 Grand Prix in 1958 and participated in no less than five Formula 1 Grand Prix. Although there was still much need for growth during the 1980s, more women were competing for podium positions. In this decade, Michèle Mouton and co-driver Fabrizia Pons made history in women’s racing by being the first woman to win a World Championship rally in Sanremo.
Several programs and initiatives have been created to promote women in motorsports. The creation of the W series is the most well-known effort made to promote gender equality in racing. The W Series is a free-to-enter championship introduced in October 2018 to provide women equal chances and remove the financial hurdles that have historically stopped them from advancing to the top levels of women’s car racing. The W-Series drivers are selected primarily based on their ability and skills. All the drivers use mechanically similar series cars. This means that the most talented driver will win the championship rather than those with the wealthiest backers. The W Series has attracted the most professional female drivers to race in a single championship. Jamie Chadwick, a 23-year-old British driver who won the inaugural race, entered the Extreme E series and the Formula Regional European Championship and was hired as a development driver for the Williams Racing Formula 1 squad.
Women still make up a small percentage of the racing field. Top Formula 1 drivers like Lewis Hamilton are trying to bring a change. Hamilton, the owner of the X44 Extreme E team, has prioritized female equality in motorsports as well as climate change. Hamilton is a passionate supporter of the Extreme E series, in which you have one male driver and one female driver per team. Formula E is on the mission to create awareness and encourage women in motorsports by introducing the Girls on Track programme
The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), the sport's regulating body, should strive to create a clear route for female drivers. The FIA Girls on Track programme has attempted to achieve this goal for the past two years. Susie Wolff, a former Williams F1 test driver and ambassador stated, "We want to inspire the next generation of young girls." Wolff further added, "We want to make sure they are supported through role models and mentoring in sport,"
Girls between the ages of 8 and 18 are given a chance to explore career opportunities in women motorsports business through FIA Girls on Track. The program aims to demonstrate to young girls from all social backgrounds that female racing is a welcoming prospect with a variety of career options that are not just restricted to males. In this programme, women are exposed to several sessions and workshops where they are educated about the number of jobs in motorsports. Girls may take on various challenges at the Berlin EPrix, including making miniature automobiles, learning how to replace a tire, and coding-based exercises.
Several opportunities and options are available for women in the motorsport industry, from driving to engineering. One of the trendiest jobs available is Formula- E Data Engineer. Formula E is the future of motorsport. This Data Engineer post is ideal for graduates seeking their second career in women’s motorsport or for some graduates trying to switch to women’s car racing from another profession. You will get to know how to create data and big data platforms. The sessions will teach different programming, scripting languages, statistical modeling, data mining, and machine learning. Different options are available for women to start their careers in the motorsport industry. They can work as engineers and directors in marketing and hospitality for teams.
ESPN surveyed all 10 Formula One teams to evaluate the proportion of women in top positions and the racing team. Also, the percentage of women in the core performance group traveling to the Grand Prix.
Mercedes has the largest workforce, which employs about 1,000 employees. Among those, 117 are female, and 31% hold senior positions. Four women are among the 65 members of Mercedes' core racing team, and out of 20 people working at the factory in the race support team, four are women (20%).
Haas, the smallest team on the grid, employs 167 workers, 15 of whom are women (9%).
McLaren has 66 people who regularly travel in the race team, out of which there are five women, and one woman is in a senior management role.
According to Alfa Romeo, the number of race teams changes, as it does for all teams, but regularly, 51 people travel to races, out of which five are women (9.8 percent ).
Women in motorsports have and continue to play a crucial part in every facet of racing, and not just as drivers. Here are a few examples of today's powerful women in the motorsports industry.
Ruth Buscombe – Senior Strategy Engineer with Sauber's F1 team
Cristiana Pace – Motorsport Senior Engineer
Claire Williams OBE – Deputy Team Principal of Williams F1
Charlie Broughton – Award-winning Motorsport Technician
Women have succeeded in every field, whether they are engineers, racing car drivers, or technicians. We need to create awareness to support and promote women in motorsports. There is a need to have more role models to increase the visibility of women in racing. The next generation, especially young females, need to be inspired to pursue a career in racing. Sponsors need to come forward to support women in motorsports. Susie Wolff, the CEO of Formula E, expressed it best when she remarked, "Ultimately, when you're out on track with your helmet on, nobody can see the driver. Nobody can judge you on what you look like if your hair is long or short, if you're black or you're white, if you're male or female. All that matters is your performance." Women need more opportunities to show how good they can be at motorsports. We need to normalize women’s motorsports and their participation in every aspect of it.