The debate is useful because it comes from afar and because to a greater or lesser extent it affects most sports disciplines. What happens is that if the role and the index of women who dedicate themselves professionally to the sport is higher in fields such as tennis, football or basketball, Formula 1 has only seen two women participate in any of its activities. great prizes. The pioneer in this case was the Italian Maria Teresa de Filippis, who ran in three dates of the 1958 World Cup with Maseratti, and was able to finish tenth in the Belgian Grand Prix, although no point was taken given the system used in That moment. Yes, it was obtained 15 years later by his compatriot Lella Lombardi, who enlisted 18 times between 1974 and 1976 and finished sixth in the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix held in Montjuïc, the one that ended with four dead. Since her retirement the following year, no other woman has taken the start again in an F1 race, something that the drivers of the new W Series want to try to change.
It is a new international championship of cars restricted exclusively to women that will start in 2019, which will feature five races on circuits that once hosted F1 events, and which was born with the intention of attracting attention and attracting drivers from all over the world. the world to, in the medium or long term, find the first F1 world champion. The contest, sponsored by a private company, will consist of six appointments, all of them in Europe, and there will be between 18 and 20 participants that will be selected from a process that will include work in the simulator, physical tests and also on track, among other. The cars that will be used will be Formula 3, all of them equal from the mechanical point of view. The promoter of this championship, backed by David Coulthard, former F1 driver, and Adrian Newey, technical director of Red Bull and one of the most influential engineers of the event, will distribute 1.3 million euros in prizes, of which more than 400,000 will go to the winner.
"At the heart of the W Series' DNA is the belief that women can compete in car races in full equality with men. However, the exclusive promotion formulas for women are essential to increase the proportion of female participants, "declared the organizers on Wednesday, a day chosen to publicize the project. The idea of an exclusively feminine contest is not new and it had already been shuffled in the past, and already then generated a lot of controversy, just like now. While there are those who believe that it is impossible to aspire to see a woman in F1 without this type of initiative, there is also the current of those who believe that this type of promotion formulas do nothing but accentuate discrimination.
Among the most critical is for example Claire Williams, current director of the F1 Willams team, which considers it "a repressive step". In the same line, Pippa Mann, Indy Car driver, said: "It is a very sad day for motor sport. Those who have money to support women what they are doing is segregate them instead of supporting them. This is a historic step back that only disappoints me, "said Mann. "I agree with the arguments, but in total disagreement with the solution. Women need long-term support and trusted partners. I want to compete with the best of our sport. Let's make the comparison with the economy: Do we need boards exclusively for women? This road is wrong ", rivets Sophia Flörsch, pilot of the European Formula 3.
Bernie Ecclestone, ex-skipper of the F-1, said in 2016 that he did not see "any women" with chances to compete in the elite. "I do not think a woman has the physical abilities to drive at full speed an F1 and that's why they should not be taken seriously," he said at a conference in London.
In Spain, if until the crash of Fernando Alonso the precedents of drivers able to take the start in a test of F1 were limited to eight, in the case of women still does not seem to be able to be competitive enough. María de Villota worked as a tester for the Marussia team before suffering an accident during an aerodynamic test in 2012, whose sequels would end with her life a year later. The Valencian Carmen Jordá, meanwhile, has been performing development work in both Lotus (2015) and Renault, although its functions in this case were more linked to marketing than to competition. Jordá was part of the GP3 championship in 2012, 2013 and 2014, although he did not score any points in any of those seasons.
So things, who today seems to be closer to getting on a regular F1 car is the Colombian Tatiana Calderón, who currently competes in GP3 with the Jenzer Motorsport training -circulating the 16th in the general classification, with nine points- , in addition to having signed with Sauber in the development division. In an interview in EL PAÍS in 2017, Calderón said about the possible arrival of women in F-1: "I think it's not so much a gender problem, to have the opportunities in Formula 1 is very complicated for everyone. Sometimes, it's time to be at the right time, on the right team, times are changing and there are more and more women involved in motorsports and hopefully I can be the one to give them a chance. If you have to work harder and train more, it's done, it's not going to be an impediment. "