It’s not often women are related to F1 in the pitlane or at the paddock. Since the very beginning, there have been only a handful of female drivers able to breakthrough into Formula One, of which, only a few qualified to start a race. For any aspiring female driver, Lella Lombardi could be a source of inspiration and a testament to what women can achieve when they can put the cars through its paces.
Britain’s Katherine Legge drove a Minardi at Vallelunga circuit in 2005 and American Sarah Fisher raced in a McLaren at the 2002 US Grand Prix as part of a demo run, but none quite found their way into race days.
For this season, Maria de Villota, having tested with Renault last season, signed with Marussia and DTM driver Susie Wolff is with the Williams team as part of the development drivers. Maria has less experience in racing, compared to the Scot, Wolff. Horror struck the road in a crash at Duxford Airfield in Cambridgeshire when Maria de Villota crashed into back of a standing truck and lost her right eye with fractures on the skull and had to halt her driving career.
She attended the press conference with a blue patch on her right eye for the first time since that near fatal crash and she was quoted saying as,
“I have motorsport in my DNA and there’s no way I can stay away from that world,” she said.
“I want to keep fighting because I believe so strongly in women being part of motor racing.”
Those words showed how strong a women she is and with much respect I wish to see her as a part of F1 soon.
The former Formula Renault and F3 driver, Susie Wolff, has been competing in DTM since 2006 but tasted her first sip of F1 only this past Wednesday with a Williams FW 33 at the Williams F1 Partner event. On the Silverstone circuit, she clocked hundred kms with wet and damp runs and expressed her first emotions behind the F1 wheel as ‘incredible’.
She said,“It was incredible. I’ve waited a long time for this day, I’ve dreamed about this day for a long time, with the first lap something special. I’ve done a lot of days in the simulator so I knew what to expect but of course it is tremendously different when you are out there and going at those speeds.”
The simulator driver had been waiting for this chance for a long time and revealed her conversation with Villota of late. Susie also disclosed that she raced for both of them and praised her as an inspiration.
“She is an incredible lady, Before you even talk about her as a racing driver, she is an incredible person, an inspiration. We were in contact a couple of weeks ago and she told me to drive for the both of us now, that I would be out there representing us both. I had Maria’s star on my helmet, it’s with pride I have that, and without a doubt I was driving for the two of us.”
Also, a new team principal overtook Peter Sauber. Indian-born Monisha Kaltenborn became F1′s first female team principal after taking the helm at Sauber. The Swiss-based team said in a statement at the Korean Grand Prix that 41-year-old Kaltenborn, who was previously chief executive, would take over Sauber’s duties at race weekends. She is an Austrian citizen and the second Indian-born principal after Force India’s Vijay Mallya.
Having joined Sauber in 2000, she took over as CEO a couple of seasons back. Sauber transferred a third of the company shares to her last year. All these highly devoted women signify that it doesn’t matter who you are if the desire to be on the big stage is driven to the maximum.