Well, the season is well and truly underway here at Ginetta – since my last installment (yes, I have been rubbish) we’ve had our Media Day at Silverstone, as well as the first round of our three championships – the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup, Junior Championship and Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge.
As we prepare to travel to Donington this weekend, I thought I would jump on the Sir Stirling Moss bandwagon, in relation to his latest comments about Female racers lacking the mental aptitude to compete in F1.
Lawrence Tomlinson and I traveled to BBC Radio Leeds today to discuss the statement on air with morning presenter Liz Green, and as the Ginetta boss quite rightly pointed out – its not that women are incapable of making it, it’s simply that the motorsport paddocks are awash with male drivers.
Let’s look at this in a different context – if we were at a horse race, and 20 of the 21 horses were mares, you would expect a female to win. Therefore, as F1 is such a fiercely fought category to break into, regardless of sex, the fact that the odds of a standout driver with the skills and financial backing to make it into F1, are heavily weighted towards male drivers.
Whilst I could sing the praises of Susie Wolff and Danica Patrick, I wanted to bring this a little closer to (my) home: since joining Ginetta, there have been no less than four female racers who have impressed me both on and off the track.
Firstly, I have to mention star of ‘Britain’s Next F1 Star’ and BRDC Rising Star, Alice Powell. Whilst she was ‘before my time’ at Ginetta, we continue to work with her throughout the year, and as the first female to win in Formula Renault BARC, a former F3 racer and the current leader in the British Formula 3 Cup, the former Ginetta Junior racer has been a great ambassador for women in motorsport.
I have also had the pleasure of working with 2013 Ginetta Junior Scholarship winner Jamie Chadwick, who impressed both myself and Ginetta greatly with her driving skill and professionalism during our scholarship in 2012 – she was the highest-placed rookie in the Ginetta Junior Winter Series, and in her first race weekend at Brands Hatch at Easter, she finished within the top three of the rookie class.
Louise Richardson is another great example of a female in motorsport, with karting highlights which include 3rd in the MSA Super 1 British Championship, 8th in the Stars of Tomorrow Series (now known as Formula Kart Stars) as well as being Vice Champion at the Rotax Cup, British Open Championship, Kartmasters and TVKC Club Championship.
Louise became the first Ginetta Junior Scholarship winner and has since been a RAC MSA Young Driver of the Year Contender, she also finished third in the Ginetta Junior Championship, was considered for Racing Steps Foundation and wowed everyone with a G50 win in the wet at Thruxton last year in our G50 cup class.
Finally, I couldn’t write this blog without mentioning my good friend, Zoe Wenham – whilst she hasn’t come through the Ginetta single-make championships, Zoe impressed in karting (which, of course, is the usual starting block for F1 stars of the future) and moved into British GT for 2012, in which she finished as runner up, landing six podiums in the process; making her the most successful female in the history of the series. Not only that, but at Easter, Zoe once again made history as she became the first female winner of a British GT GT4 race.
Whilst there have been five female F1 racers in the past (Maria Teresa de Filippis, Lella Lombardi, Divina Galica, Desire Wilson & Giovanna Amati, Moss’ comments don’t discredit women as not being physically strong enough, but insinuate they are ultimately ‘too scared’ to run at the front and put themselves in danger on a racetrack.
If women are so scared of facing danger – why do they join the armed forces, police or fire services, or indeed, any rescue service? Surely Sir Moss, they are not incapable of performing they jobs too….?
To me, these kind of comments seem archaic and uninformed; modern race cars are safer than they have ever been before, but the aforementioned ladies (and plenty of others) have, in recent years, proven they are unaffected by the possible dangers associated with racing and have gone out and beaten the boys whilst they are at it.