Sir Stirling Moss says he doubts women have the mental strength to be successful racing drivers.
Moss, who was the runner-up in the Formula One world championship for four consecutive seasons, made the claim in a BBC Radio 5 Live program which airs this evening.
“We’ve got some very strong and robust ladies, but, when your life is at risk, I think the strain of that in a competitive situation will tell when you’re trying to win,” said Moss.
“The mental stress I think would be pretty difficult for a lady to deal with in a practical fashion. I just don’t think they have aptitude to win a Formula 1 race.”
Williams test driver Susie Wolff says Moss’s remarks made her “cringe”.
Although no woman has driven in F1 since 1992 they continue to race competitively in other categories. Already this year IndyCar race winner Danica Patrick took pole position for the NASCAR Daytona 500 and Simona de Silvestro finished sixth in the IndyCar season-opener in St. Petersburg.
Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has previously said he would like to see Patrick racing in the series, but admits it is unlikely.
During his F1 career Moss raced against Maria Teresa de Filippis. He said: “We welcomed it. We thought the fact ladies came into the sport as a new group of people was a jolly good thing. She [De Filippis] was treated as just another competitor.”