Alice Powell

Female driver supports F1 series for women idea

Alice Powell

A female racing driver has tentatively welcomed plans for an all-women’s Formula 1 series, proposed by Bernie Ecclestone in Malaysia last weekend claiming that a separate championship just for women would spice up the sport.

“It is only a thought at the moment,” he told reporters at Sepang, “but they could race before the main event, or perhaps on the Saturday so that they had their own interest.”


Williams’ test driver is Susie Wolff, and Lotus has just signed Carmen Jorda as a development driver, but Ecclestone observed: “For some reason, women are not coming through, and not because we don’t want them. Of course we do — they would attract a lot of attention and publicity and probably a lot of sponsors.”

The proposal, however, was quickly slammed by Susie Wolff, who said she would prefer to continue her quest to join the grid as “a normal competitor”.

“I can hand on heart say it would not interest me at all to win such a (women’s) race. I would rather not be in the race because what am I winning? A race where they’ve just looked for any girl to make a grid up?” she wondered.

With a slightly different view is Alice Powell, a 22-year-old Briton who has raced in several open-wheel series including F3 and GP3.

“I have mixed views really because I’m used to racing against males,” she told Sky. “It’s one of the few sports in the world where men and women compete on the same level, and to me that’s quite special.”

“But I wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to drive a formula one car, so in that sense I think it’s a good idea.”

She concluded: “My question would be how would it be funded, because funding is already really, really hard.”