Renault Sport Formula One Team development driver Carmen Jorda is pushing for an idea that was considered controversial when former F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone proposed it.
Jorda is calling on F1 to designate the current world championship as a male-only category, and establish a separate series that would solely be contested by female drivers. While discussing the matter with CSM Europe, Jorda reportedly said “it’s not fair to be compared with men because we will never be on the same level.”
Although the Spaniard didn’t explicitly echo David Coulthard’s comments from March, when he claimed a “mothering gene” prevents women from competing in F1, she similarly argued that biological differences put female racers at a disadvantage.
The 29-year-old initially came out in support of gender-specific championships in 2015 when it was suggested by Ecclestone. Jorda was one of two female pilots at the time, with Susie Wolff serving as William Martini Racing’s third driver, though Wolff opposed the idea, saying she wanted to compete against the best of the best, regardless of gender.
Jorda is correct that other sports have separate leagues for men and women, but that doesn’t exactly prove that F1 should too. Although F1 — or, as Kyle Busch proved Sunday, any category of motorsport — is extremely demanding, it differs from other sports in that the physical differences between male and female competitors don’t have much bearing on the outcome of a race.
It’s also worth noting that, when you compare Jorda’s stats to those of Danica Patrick, it becomes evident that the former’s gender didn’t limit her career — but rather it was a shear lack of pace.
Patrick often is criticized for underperforming in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, yet she has seven top-10 finishes in her five years as a full-time driver — not to mention she was an IndyCar race winner before switching to stock cars. Jorda, by contrast, failed to finish better than 13th during her three years in GP3, and the best result of her five Indy Lights races in 2010 was P10.
Thumbnail photo via Renault Sport F1 Team
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