Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

F1 talent scheme launched to mentor next generation of female drivers
F1 Sport

F1 talent scheme launched to mentor next generation of female drivers

The More than Equal initiative, a global development programme created to assist women’s progress toward Formula One and in motor racing, has announced its first ­selection of female drivers.

The six have been identified as those showing the greatest promise who will benefit the most from taking part in what is considered a unique approach that uses Olympic-style ­talent ID to foster female participation and advancement in motor sport.

The programme is the latest aimed at addressing the imbalance in ­gender in motor racing which is still ­overwhelmingly dominated by male drivers. F1 has not had a woman start a grand prix since Lella Lombardi raced in Austria in 1976.

More than Equal is a privately funded programme aimed at ­identifying young female drivers and offering them every possible ­assistance to develop outside the car, similar to that adopted toward ­Olympic athletes some years ago to ensure they are supported in every aspect beyond simply ­putting them on track.

The girls aged between 13 and 14 have been selected after an ­intensive, data-driven process with wide ­criteria. They include Skye Parker, from ­Trelogan in Wales, who ­competes for Argenti in the ­Junior X30 category of the British Kart Championships and has also been selected as part of the FIA’s Girls on Track ­rising star ­programme. She is joined by ­Austria’s Ivonn Simeonova, ­Malaysia’s Katrina Thung, the Czech Republic’s Kristyna Kalistova, Australia’s Lana Flack and Slovakia’s Laura Bubenova.

They will now work with a team of experienced driving coaches and members of the performance ­coaching group Hintsa, who ­provide a number of personnel to drivers in F1, including Angela ­Cullen who worked with ­Hamilton from 2016 to 2023. The ­drivers will receive technical and ­tactical ­coaching, physical ­preparation and personal development.

Similar to the changes wrought across sporting bodies in changing their approach toward preparations for Olympic athletes, the intent is to identify talent young and then ­present them with full support over a long-term period of ­development, rather than just focusing on ­maximising their time behind the wheel and the exposure that brings.

The announcement is supported by a report More than Equal published last year identifying the barriers girls and women faced in motor sport and presenting potential solutions.

As the first part of their programme next week the six drivers will attend the Wurz test and training centre in Austria, ­established by the chair of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, Alex Wurz.

skip past newsletter promotion

Ali Donnelly, the CEO of More than Equal, said: “We want to show that with the right support early in their career we can ­accelerate the development of ­talented female ­drivers so that they can have an equal ­opportunity to reach the top of the sport.

“Our drivers will benefit from a programme that has been designed with female athletes in mind from the very start, when too often girls have had to navigate programmes and ­systems in motorsport that were built entirely for boys.”

Source: theguardian.com