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Ecclestone keen on all-female world championship

ESPN Staff
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Carmen Jorda recently joined Lotus in a development role © Sutton Images

Bernie Ecclestone has suggested the creation of an all-female world championship to run alongside Formula One to encourage more women to enter the sport.

The wrong direction

  • Creating a series to stand alongside F1 just for women would be a step backwards, not forwards, for F1, effectively segregating the best female drivers into a series which would likely carry limited value or competition compared to the likes of GP2 or IndyCar, where F1 hopeful Simona de Silvestro currently competes.
  • A pathway to F1 for women already exists - it is and always should be exactly the same pathway open to budding male drivers. Making female drivers a sideshow during F1 weekends is not a solution.
  • Nate Saunders

Though Susie Wolff made free practice appearances for Williams in 2014, becoming the first woman to appear at a grand prix weekend for 22 years in the process, the last woman to start an F1 race was Lella Lombardi in 1976. Ex-GP3 driver Carmen Jorda was recently signed to Lotus on a development deal and will drive in a Friday session at some stage this season.

Speaking to the British press in Malaysia, F1 chief Ecclestone suggested a separate event before the grand prix would open doors to female drivers.

"I thought it would be a good idea to give them a showcase," Ecclestone is quoted as saying by the Guardian. "For some reason, women are not coming through - and not because we don't want them. Of course we do, because they would attract a lot of attention and publicity and probably a lot of sponsors.

"We have to start somewhere so I suggested to the teams that we have a separate championship and maybe that way, we will be able to bring someone through to F1. They could race before the main event, or perhaps on the Saturday qualifying day so that they had their own interest.

"It is only a thought at the moment but I think it would be super for F1 and the whole grand prix weekend."

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