FIA Women in Motorsport

One day after first females raced in Saudi Arabia, nine took part in Formula E test

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One day after Saudi Arabia saw the first three females to ever compete in a motor race vs. male counterparts, nine females in total took part in a Formula E Championship test on the same track in Ad Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.

All 11 Formula E teams took part in the test, with considerable attention on the nine female racers – many potentially looking at possible future opportunities in the series – who also took part in the test.

FIA Women in Motorsport Commission President Michele Mouton lauded the opportunity the female drivers were given by Formula E and its teams.

“It is great to see so many strong female drivers testing the new Formula E car,” Mouton said in a media release. “I strongly believe that in order to see the potential of the best women drivers in the world, they need to get a chance to drive with the best teams, which is exactly what is happening here.

“Through our FIA Women in Motorsport monitoring and assessment programs, we know that some of the best are here today. I hope that this initiative with Formula E can continue in the future and I can’t wait to get all the feedback from the drivers and teams.”

Female drivers that took part in the test included: IndyCar veteran Pippa Mann, Tatiana Calderon, Amna Al Qubaisi, Carrie Schreiner, Carmen Jorda Nissan e.Dams, Beitske Visser, Jamie Chadwick, Simona de Silvestro and Katherine Legge.

Calderon, who is also a test driver for the Alfa Romeo Sauber Formula One team, was the fastest female competitor and fifth-fastest overall in the full-day test.

“It’s fun being on the streets but you need to be very precise – you go a bit offline and you hit the wall quite easily,” Calderon said. “To be testing here in Saudi Arabia is incredible. I think the step they’ve taken to allow women to drive and to encourage more women to get into motorsport with such great teams is a really great initiative.

“I’m really happy to be a part of it and I hope that it leads to more opportunities and leads to more women in motorsport.”

Former Formula E driver de Silvestro was 10th fastest overall. De Silvestro previously drove for Andretti Autosport in the inaugural Formula E season in 2014/2015.

Mann also took part in the test. She had hoped to get more on-track time, but was still grateful for the opportunity given.

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Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).