Equal-gender racing team plots F1 entry in 2026

A team consisting of an equal gender split workforce has unveiled plans to join Formula 1 for the 2026 season, with ex-BAR team boss Craig Pollock at the helm.

Craig Pollock (GBR) PURE Engines on the grid

Named Formula Equal, the proposed team is expecting to operate with 50/50 percent split between men and women working at the outfit, and is planning to work out of an unspecified "Gulf area country" - with Saudi Arabia believed to be among the key underwriters of the project.

Pollock, formerly the manager of 1997 F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve, revealed the plans on Tuesday in an interview with CNN, and stated that the team's ambition was primarily to ensure that women had a pathway to reach F1 in a variety of roles.

Formula Equal is the latest potential F1 applicant to have publicly unveiled its plans, following the FIA's launch of a tender process for new teams for 2025 and 2026, with Andretti the most high-profile of these.

Junior series team Hitech and French-owned Panthera Team Asia are also believed to have submitted official Expressions of Interest in the tender process.

"This has been going on for close on four years, the building up of a brand new Formula 1 team, but taking into it our ambition to deliver and build opportunities and pathways for women to get to the very top level inside motorsports," Pollock told CNN.

"The concept and the idea was to try and build a Formula 1 team that is 50% male, 50% female, which is extremely hard to do if you have an existing Formula 1 team. This is a lot easier with a clean sheet."

Pollock added that it would be "fantastic" to extend that ratio into the team's driver pairing, but was wary of the current lack of women racers with the requisite superlicence points to reach F1.

He added that the 50/50 ratio would extend to all facets of the team, including the engineering department and at board level.

"I think it'd be absolutely fantastic [to have a female driver]," Pollock explained.

Williams has three-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick on its books as an academy driver

Williams has three-time W Series champion Jamie Chadwick on its books as an academy driver

Photo by: Williams

"But the reality is to be able to get into the cockpit of a Formula 1 car, you've got to have a certain number of points on your superlicence.

"I can't put my hand in my heart and say yes, but we are keeping a very close eye on it. I just hope for the women that this is the case.

"But to make this very clear, this is not just about women driving Formula 1 cars. This is about throughout the team; we want it even up to the board level if we can do that. We would like to have a gender equal Formula 1 team going forward."

Pollock declined to answer if Saudi Arabia was involved in the team, but revealed that he was in "intense discussions with a Gulf area country" to base the team in the Middle East - citing the plethora of flight connections that F1 teams already make in the likes of Doha and Abu Dhabi as a benefit.

Falkirk-born Pollock was involved in taking over the Tyrrell team in conjunction with British American Tobacco, before he was ousted as team principal at the resulting BAR team in 2002 as David Richards took over.

He then partnered with Kevin Kalkhoven to purchase the PacWest CART team in 2003, renaming it PK Racing. Pollock was then bought out a year later, the team later becoming KV Racing when CART title winner Jimmy Vasser purchased some of the Scotsman's shares in the team.

Pollock later set up the PURE engine project in anticipation of the 2014 turbo-hybrid engine regulations, signing ex-Ferrari engineer Gilles Simon to lead the operation, but the company then folded thanks to myriad financial issues.

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