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More than Equal publishes findings from female motorsport study

The major study on female participation in motorsport run by More than Equal has highlighted key areas to improve gender equality and inclusion.

More than equal seeks to break down misconceptions about female racers

A detailed investigation comprised of nearly 13,000 respondents and over 70 in-depth interviews with industry leaders has uncovered that motorsport is one of the lowest-performing sports for gender equality, only behind American football, with an average participation across all categories of just 10% for female drivers.

Lella Lombardi was the last female driver to race in Formula 1 in the 1976 Austrian Grand Prix, and More than Equal aims to help identify, develop and support female participation in motorsport.

The findings also showed female interest and fanbase, particularly in F1, has grown, with 40% becoming fans in the last five years while the average age of female supporters is around 10 years younger than their male counterparts.

The study has also looked into what are the main barriers to female participation in motorsport, which highlighted a range of issues including costs, negative stereotyping of skill and ability, a lack of research on physical barriers for participation, a lack of role models and an inappropriate culture.

Using the data, More than Equal – founded by 13-time grand prix winner David Coulthard – will build a female talent spotting and development programme with Hintsa, the Finnish performance specialist which has worked with multiple F1 world champions.

More than Equal Advisory Board member Kate Beavan, Entrepreneur Karel Komarek, David Coulthard, Hintsa CEO Annastiina Hintsa

More than Equal Advisory Board member Kate Beavan, Entrepreneur Karel Komarek, David Coulthard, Hintsa CEO Annastiina Hintsa

Photo by: Right Formula

After identifying the female talent pool, the programme will then support drivers to find racing opportunities, technical and tactical coaching, physical and cognitive preparation, commercial opportunity and personal brand development.

"What this research makes clear is that female drivers face a range of challenges and barriers that extend beyond those faced by their male counterparts," Coulthard said. "This report provides all the insight we need to help the sport to catch up."

Karen Webb-Moss, chair of More than Equal, added that with the evidence gathered from the study it is time for the entire motorsport industry to take action.

"The report shows that fans want change and that female drivers deserve real opportunities," she said. "So, despite the negative opinions of the industry's efforts around inclusion – the time is now for the sport to come together and address challenges that if tackled, would bring great rewards."

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