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Women in Formula 1

Lella Lombardi - finished 6th in the 1975 Spainish GP

Quite a long while ago I had a friend known as Spook. She drove an orange Fiat X1/9 - she drove it hard ... and well. I hate being driven, I always want to be in control and I simply love to drive, but I didn't mind being driven by Spook. One particular trip through a National Park became an opinion-forming moment for me. There should be more women in motorsport and they should be performing at the highest levels. Twenty years later .... it's still not happening. It may however be about to change with Danica Patrick.

USF1, a team being formed in North Carolina with the goal of entering Formula One with American drivers have said they would be interested in providing a test spot for Danica.

USF1 has some credible names behind it including F1 TV and print journalist and former Williams Team Manager, Peter Windsor. Windsor is highly connected and his involvement with an American Team with American Drivers, especially if one is female, sounds like a PR dream for Formula One and Bernie.

To date there have been five female drivers in F1;

  • Maria Teresa de Filippis – Italy – 5 races – 1 10th place – 2 retirements and 2 DNQs
  • Lella Lombardi – Italy – 12 races – finished 6th in one race 0.5 pts – 5 retirements and 4 DNQs
  • Divina Galica – England – 3 DNQs
  • Desiré Wilson – South Africa – 1 DNQ
  • Giovanna Amati – Italy – 3 DNQ

With just Lella Lomabardi scoring half a point in the 1975 season the record is quite appalling.

Danica Patrick has four years experience in Indy Car. A win in 2008 and five other places in the top six in the same year shows she is both improving and has what it takes to compete at the highest level of the sport

But the fact is that everything about F1 is hard … just ask the big car manufacturers such as Toyota and Honda. On paper a new team, especially an American one, does not bode well for success. However in an era of a Black American president – is it too big a stretch to think we may see a competitive female F1 driver?

Rod Halligan