Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone does not think that a female driver will race in a grand prix in the future, and believes that a woman would not be taken seriously even if she did hit the grid.
The last woman to start an F1 race was Lella Lombardi in 1976; she’s also the only woman to have scored a point (albeit only half a point, in 1975) in the sport’s history.
Maria Teresa de Filippis was the first woman to have started a Grand Prix; she died last week at age 89. Giovanna Amati, Desire Wilson and Divina Galica have also participated in Grand Prix weekends, but have not qualified for a Grand Prix.
Susie Wolff became the first woman since Amati in 1992 to take part in a grand prix weekend when she represented Williams in practice at Silverstone in 2014, but announced her retirement from motorsport in November without ever starting a grand prix.
Speaking to Canadian radio station TSN Toronto 1050, Ecclestone said that he doubts a woman will race in F1 or that she would be taken seriously anyway.
“I doubt it,” Ecclestone said when asked if a woman would race in F1.
“Because if there was somebody that was capable, they wouldn’t be taken serious anyway, so they would never have a car that is capable of competing.”
The highest-profile female driver now in F1 is Carmen Jorda, who worked as a development driver for Lotus in 2015 and previously raced in GP3.
Ecclestone made reference to Jorda in the interview, saying that having a full-time female racer had happened in F1’s support series.
“This female driver business – there was a girl that was driving in GP3 for a whole season, so it’s not something that hasn’t happened,” Ecclestone said.
ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).
“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.
“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”
For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.
“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.
“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”
Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.
“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.