One of the most powerful figures in the Formula One paddock has weighed in on the sport’s latest controversy.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas team principal Toto Wolff recently expressed his opposition to a proposed all-women F1 championship, according to Mobil 1 The Grid. The Austrian executive claims starting the series would signal that the FIA is abandoning its pursuit for gender equality.
The idea of a series contested solely by female drivers first was floated by former F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone, but Renault Sport F1 Team development driver Carmen Jorda recently has thrust the issue back into the spotlight. Despite publicly pushing such a category, Jorda was appointed to the FIA Women In Motorsport Council on Dec. 8, sparking outrage from female drivers whose own stats show that pace, not gender, are the limiting factors in racing.
“An all-women championship is giving up on the mission of eventually making girls compete on a high level,” Wolff said. “It is undermining (to) what girls are able to achieve.”
Wolff, more so than most male figures in F1, is qualified to speak about the push to get girls involved in motorsport at a young age, as his wife, Susie Wolff, is one of the champions of that movement.
Susie worked her way through the junior formulas, then raced in DTM for six consecutive years and ultimately served as William Martini Racing’s development driver from 2013 until she retired in 2015. Since hanging up her helmet, Susie has launched Dare To Be Different, a non-profit that teaches girls about the different career paths they could pursue in F1.