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Jenson Button believes women will race in F1 again

ESPN Staff
June 18, 2013 « Murray Walker admits he is battling cancer | Lotus pace will return - Boullier »
Jenson Button relaxes in Cannes © Getty Images
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Jenson Button said that he believes a woman will drive in Formula One again but that will only happen if they are given more opportunities at an earlier age.

Following Maria de Villota's crash at Duxford last year, Susie Wolff remains the only female on a team's driver line-up in Formula One in her role as Williams reserve driver. The last woman to take part in a grand prix weekend was Giovanna Amati in 1992 but she failed to qualify for a race, and Button believes women will only succeed if there are more chances for them at the start of their careers.

"I think it will change over the years, get women in [at] lower levels but it is a very demanding sport," he said. "It's specific training and taking time to get race fit. I personally think it's possible.

"The big issue is that I don't think women are given the opportunity at an early age. There are a couple of women racing in NASCAR who have actually won races."

Button was speaking at a media event in Cannes alongside Ron Dennis, the chairman of McLaren Group, who was more cautious on the subject arguing that "men physically outperform women".

He also slammed drivers who spend considerable time on external commercial deals, saying it compromised their driving.

"Some people lost sight of what the objective is," Dennis said. "When you lost sight of what you are doing, then you lost sight of what it takes to be a world champion."

He added that McLaren tried to pay its drivers enough so they did not need to chase such third-party income.