Bernie Ecclestone vows to help female drivers break into Formula 1

Bernie Ecclestone has vowed to support Susie Wolff's 'Dare To Be Different' programme in whatever way he can in order to get a female driver into Formula 1

Bernie Ecclestone vows to help female drivers break into Formula 1

Ecclestone has come under fire this week for a range of controversial comments aired during an advertising forum, not least his remarks on female drivers.

The 85-year-old claimed a woman racing in F1 "would not be taken seriously", while also suggesting they would be physically unable to drive quickly.

That is despite the fact Wolff was on Williams's books for four years from 2012 to 2015, initially as a development driver and then test driver, taking part in four Friday practice sessions.

Susie Wolff's 'Dare to be Different' holds first major event

Wolff, who launched her initiative earlier this year in a bid to help women get a head-start in motorsport, has since spoken to Ecclestone for clarification on his remarks.

Via Twitter, and in an interview with the BBC World Service, she has accepted the fact Ecclestone's views were taken out of context, and he is determined to assist wherever possible.

Speaking to Autosport, Ecclestone said: "Whatever she wants to do we will try and support it.

"Let me be clear, I would love to see a woman driver in Formula 1. Absolutely. 100 per cent.

"I was asked on stage by Martin Sorrell [the interviewer at the forum] 'If by chance there was a sponsor out there that wanted to put 100 million into a team, providing it had two women drivers, what would you say to that? I said 'I'd be very happy and I'd give another 20 million to make it happen'.

"But people forgot to print these things. Thank God I don't take a lot of notice."

Ecclestone claims his contribution for women in motorsport over the years has been overlooked.

"I've offered more help than many others have done for women in Formula 1, and I still do. All the other people do is talk and do nothing," added Ecclestone.

"For any woman that wants to be in Formula 1, and has the talent, I would try and speak to the teams and get a drive for them."

Ecclestone, however, recognises talent alone is often not enough these days to secure a seat in F1 as drivers often need considerable financial backing.

Asked if he thought any particular female drivers at present had F1 potential, Ecclestone replied: "I don't know.

"You've got to see somebody, like Susie if you like, who has driven in a Formula 1 car, even if only in testing and practice. At least then you would get some idea.

"Obviously people saw her and formed an impression. If they thought she could get the job done and she was someone they wanted, then they would probably have contacted her.

"But for any driver, not just women drivers, a lot of the problems are to do with funding, and not simply about whether they have the talent."

shares
comments
Why F1 still misses Imola

Previous article

Why F1 still misses Imola

Next article

Haas F1 team needs to experiment more now - Esteban Gutierrez

Haas F1 team needs to experiment more now - Esteban Gutierrez
Load comments
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021