Coulthard: 'Mentality change' needed in FIA F2 and F3 to help women progress

David Coulthard says a "change in mentality" is needed in FIA Formula 2 and 3 to help women progress into Formula 1's feeder series.

Coulthard: 'Mentality change' needed in FIA F2 and F3 to help women progress

The 13-time F1 race-winner has recently kickstarted the More Than Equal campaign to help empower female racing drivers to reach the top tier of single seater racing, working across fields including driver coaching, psychology and sponsorship.

The not-for-profit development structure, which Coulthard has launched with Czech businessman Karel Komarek, will work with Hintsa Performance to undertake research into the reasons a woman has not taken part in an F1 weekend since then-Williams test driver Susie Wolff in 2014.

In an interview at Silverstone last week, BRDC President Coulthard said the lack of power steering in F1's feeder series makes those cars harder to drive than an F1 car, and put a “physical preference towards certain size and physically developed men”.

The former Williams, McLaren and Red Bull driver said: “We’ve put a lot of research into this. And all of [Hintsa’s] studies prove beyond any doubt that the champions that they’ve supported in Formula 1 and the drivers that won Grands Prix, there is nothing that they are doing physically that is not achievable by women.

“The challenge of coming up through karting and I don’t know if you have done any karting… there are periods of different formulas which are more difficult physically to drive than a Grand Prix car.

“A Grand Prix car generates huge amounts of g-force, which is the neck and your internal organs and what have you. But the actual process of turning the steering wheel at 200mph pulling 4G is not difficult, because you have power steering.

“Formula 2 doesn’t have power steering, Formula 3 doesn’t have power steering. They are incredibly difficult.

“When I was a test driver in Williams I couldn’t turn the steering like Nigel Mansell. I wasn’t strong enough. So my limitation was how much steering I could get on the car.

David Coulthard, TV Presenter

David Coulthard, TV Presenter

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

“So we need to change as well not only in helping developing talent, but we need to change the mentality in these feeder formulas, which then do put let’s say a physical preference towards certain size and physically developed men.

“But we’ll do that over time. If you don’t do anything, nothing changes. So we’re going to change things by doing something.”

Coulthard says he and Komarek will meet with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and CEO of F2 and F3, Bruno Michel, on Friday at the Red Bull Ring to discuss the next steps in their programme.

He added that though he has not yet begun lobbying for power steering in F2 and F3, he hopes to make changes “through this process of discovery and also ongoing conversations”.

W Series double-champion Jamie Chadwick has also previously expressed concern about the lack of power steering in F2 and F3.

She told the Press Association last week: "To get into Formula 1 you have to go through the feeder series – F3 and F2 – and it is extremely physical.

“Formula 1 is extremely physical, and we don't know exactly what women are capable of in the sport.

"If you are aged 15 or 16, and go into car racing, without power steering and driving big heavy cars, a lot of women do struggle, even though they have been successful in go-karting.

“We like to think that women can make it – and I am happy to be the guinea pig and will do my best to push and explore the options to Formula 1 – but we don't know.”

shares
comments
Ex-F1 driver Merhi to replace Boschung at Campos in Austria F2 round
Previous article

Ex-F1 driver Merhi to replace Boschung at Campos in Austria F2 round

Next article

F2 Austria: Vesti edges Vips to take maiden series pole

F2 Austria: Vesti edges Vips to take maiden series pole
What the future holds for two Red Bull juniors fighting in the F2 battleground Plus

What the future holds for two Red Bull juniors fighting in the F2 battleground

Despite having two talented drivers, albeit at very different stages of their careers, Prema Racing has had mixed fortunes in FIA Formula 2 this year. Both drivers told Autosport how they rate their seasons so far – and their next steps beyond 2022

FIA F2
Aug 24, 2022
The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause Plus

The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause

Track limits are the problem that motorsport doesn't seem to be able to rid itself of. But the use of so-called 'sausage kerbs' as a deterrent has in several instances only served to worsen the problem, and a growing number of voices want to see action taken

Formula 1
Jul 18, 2022
The on-form F1 protege carrying America's hopes on his shoulders Plus

The on-form F1 protege carrying America's hopes on his shoulders

Two feature race wins in as many rounds have helped Logan Sargeant to emerge as the closest challenger to runaway Formula 2 points leader Felipe Drugovich. The Williams F1 junior couldn't have timed his rise better, with interest in grand prix racing on the rise in his US homeland, and he could be his country's best shot at getting a driver on the grid for the first time since 2015

FIA F2
Jul 16, 2022
What racing in Australia means for the future of F1's junior series Plus

What racing in Australia means for the future of F1's junior series

The announcement that FIA Formula 2 and 3 would race alongside the Australian Grand Prix from 2023 came as a surprise, not only to fans but to the series’ teams too. But with Formula 1’s boom in popularity bringing more fans to the championships, team principals are relishing the opportunity

FIA F2
Jun 28, 2022
The other Doohan charting his way to motorsport success Plus

The other Doohan charting his way to motorsport success

Heading into FIA Formula 2 this season, there was a lot of pressure on Jack Doohan. The 2021 F3 runner-up joined a new team for his next challenge, as well as signing up to the Alpine Academy. He told Autosport how he’s tackling the step up - with some help from his motorcycle legend father

FIA F2
Jun 16, 2022
The Brazilian F2 driver hoping to return his country to motorsport's top tier Plus

The Brazilian F2 driver hoping to return his country to motorsport's top tier

With a chaotic but “pretty much perfect” FIA Formula 2 weekend in Saudi Arabia behind him, Felipe Drugovich now leads the drivers’ standings in his third crack at the series. The Brazilian driver explains how he's improved amid some difficult years, and shares his dreams of ending his nation's absence from the F1 grid

FIA F2
Apr 1, 2022
The Red Bull junior aiming to emulate Piastri in F2 Plus

The Red Bull junior aiming to emulate Piastri in F2

Norwegian talent Dennis Hauger has a tough act to follow in Oscar Piastri’s footsteps on his graduation to F2 as the reigning F3 champion with Prema. Here’s what he makes of the task ahead of him

FIA F2
Mar 16, 2022
The other Mercedes F1 young gun facing a big 2022 Plus

The other Mercedes F1 young gun facing a big 2022

With a disappointing 2021 season behind him, Frederik Vesti makes the move up to FIA Formula 2 with a reinvigorated sense of determination. Could this finally be the breakthrough year for the talented Mercedes junior?

FIA F2
Mar 14, 2022