Bernie Ecclestone: Female F1 driver wouldn’t be taken seriously

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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.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consectuive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.