Every now and then we’re reminded motorsport has a long way to go in terms of embracing diversity.
Former Formula One driver David Coulthard recently revealed he thinks women aren’t capable of winning in the “pinnacle of motorsport,” according to the Scottish Daily Record. He claims “the mothering gene” that allows females to put their children’s well-being before their own prevents them from being successful in F1.
“Not to sound too caveman about it — there are well-understood physical and profile differences from a man’s and lady’s point of view,” Coulthard said, via Scottish Daily Record.
Coulthard, now a commentator for Channel 4 in the U.K., says women are able to compete in F1, but the sport isn’t designed to highlight great competitors. The Scotsman argues the series is designed to find exceptional talents.
Susie Wolff, also Scottish, was the most recent female F1 driver, serving as development driver for Williams Martini Racing from 2012 until her retirement in 2015. Coulthard reportedly claims Wolff is “very talented,” but not as talented as drivers such as Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton, though he admits he isn’t either.
“The reality is though, and she would acknowledge this, that in the same way I was not as talented as Michael Schumacher or Lewis Hamilton, she wasn’t as talented as Schumacher or Hamilton,” Coulthard said.
Bad as they might be, Coulthard’s comments about female racing drivers are far from the worst to come out of F1. While discussing Danica Patrick’s rise to prominence in 2005, former F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said “women should be dressed in white like all the other domestic appliances,” via ESPN. He doubled down on his remarks in 2016, saying women wouldn’t be taken seriously as drivers because they aren’t strong enough, according to the BBC.
Seemingly the only way F1 — and the entire world of motorsport — can rid itself of sexist stereotypes, is by making a conscious effort to appeal to young women interested in racing.
Thumbnail photo via Red Bull Content Pool