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.