Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing attends the Drivers Press Conference during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of United States at Circuit of The Americas on October 19, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Formula 1 News: The numbers do not favor women – Verstappen

Max Verstappen says there are so many more men who want to become race car drivers than females, the odds are against a woman making up to F1, but not impossible.

–by Mark Cipolloni–

Despite the poor odds, he expresses optimism that if a super talented female comes up through the ranks, she would be accepted into the current all-boys club and could be competitive in the top echelon of motorsports.

Only two women have been able to start an F1 race, not necessarily because of skill, but because their pool of candidates is so slim.  There are nowhere near as many women who pursue a race driving career.

That could be for any number of reasons, but it might be because it is ‘not a thing’ young woman aspire to do. Until the 70s, men were dying almost weekly driving race cars. Perhaps women simply did not have a strong desire to risk death to drive race cars.

Now, of course, racing is much safer, so that issue is no longer there.

Perhaps young women and their parents today feel the financial barrier to entry is too high, and so they don’t bother to pursure it as a career.

Formula 1 has started the all-female F1 Academy series to give more women opportunities, but that is just the small tip of the iceberg.

F1 Academy drivers get ready to test. Photo by Picasa for F1 Academy
F1 Academy drivers get ready to test. Photo by Picasa for F1 Academy

Three-time World Champion Max Verstappen was asked about this topic:

“I think if you look at the percentage of men and women in racing, I think already for men the percentage is very low to get into Formula 1.

“So naturally for women, it’s even harder because there are less women in the pool of candidates.”

“I do think physically driving F1 in some places is quite tough, but I do think that it’s all trainable if you work hard for it – but it is naturally a little bit harder for a woman.

“But if you have enough talent, then of course it is possible.

“I don’t think team bosses are people who make decisions to choose their drivers by their sex. They don’t think: ‘Oh, no, we only go for men’.

“If there’s a woman who is beating everyone else, then naturally they will have the opportunity to get to Formula 1.

“It’s just that there are fewer women in the sport and naturally, of course, the percentage to make it to the top is lower.”

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