Ruth Buscombe, Sauber

Revealed! The opportunities for women in F1

Share this article

More and more women are finding opportunities in motorsport on and off the track.

Over time, motorsport is slowly losing its male-dominated image as increasing numbers of women are taking part in the sport and working behind the scenes in the fast-paced and exciting industry. From aerospace engineers to precision machinists, there are hundreds of opportunities for young women to start a career in the glamorous world of motorsport.

Read on, as we explore the history, growing role, and key achievements of women leading the pack in this most intense of sports.

Let’s start with the drivers
Unsurprisingly, the USA has had the highest number of women racing drivers over the sport’s history, but Sweden, the UK and Australia follow with significant numbers of pioneering women racers.
The population of women racing drivers across the world has risen significantly in recent years, in fact, as recently as 1960, the total number of competing women was still in the single figures! A far cry from the hundreds who are speeding around the tracks today. That said, there’s still plenty of room for much more!

Inspiring women in motorsport
In 1958, Maria Teresa De Filippis was the first woman to compete in a Formula 1 Grand Prix. Speaking in 2006, she said: “The only time I was prevented from racing was at the French Grand Prix. The race director said: ‘The only helmet a woman should wear is the one at the hairdresser’s.’ Apart from that, I don’t think I encountered any prejudice – only surprise at my success.”
Rally driver Michele Mouton won a total of four rallies for Audi, finishing runner-up in the 1982 World Championship, she was described as “one of the best” by Sir Stirling Moss.

It’s not only the drivers though, women have and continue to play a vital role in every aspect of motorsport. Here are just a few of the women leading the way today:

Ruth Buscombe – Senior Strategy Engineer with Sauber’s F1 team

Cristiana Pace – Motorsport Senior Engineer

Claire Williams OBE – Deputy Team Principal of Williams F1

Charlie Broughton – Award-winning Motorsport Technician

Visit https://www.msauk.org/Development/Women-in-Motorsport and https://www.fia.com/fia-women-motorsport for more information.