• Formula One Group chief executive Bernie Ecclestone. (AAP)Source: AAP
Formula One group CEO, Bernie Ecclestone unsurprisingly caused a bit of controversy after he said on Tuesday, women drivers would not be taken seriously in the sport.
Rachel de Bear

BBC, The Guardian
20 Apr 2016 - 8:53 AM  UPDATED 20 Apr 2016 - 9:00 AM

The comment

Speaking at a conference and as reported by the Guardian and the BBC:

"I don’t know whether a woman would physically be able to drive an F1 car quickly, and they wouldn’t be taken seriously." 

Here's what British IndyCar driver Susie Mann thought:

He also said, which sounds like a compliment...

Ecclestone thinks women will take more and more F1 chief executive positions in the future.

"Women are more competent, and they don't have massive egos," he added.

Here's Susie Wolff not driving an F1 car quickly

Williams thought she was so good, they promoted her to official test driver after she impressed them in 2014 testing.  

And Lella Lombardi, the last woman to get an F1 start in the 70s

She started 12 times between 1974-76. 

And Maria Teresa de Filippis in the 1950s

The Italian started three times in F1 for Maserati in 1958 (she was the founder of the Maserati club) with a best finish of 10th in Belgium. 

She didn't qualify for the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix - but neither did Ecclestone.

Bernie's just Bernie, why worry? 

Younger male decision makers also subscribe to this view and that's the worry. It is so ingrained.  

Despite Williams' confidence in Wolff, her chances of getting an F1 start in 2015 looked remote when Williams went with Adrian Sutil when Valtteri Bottas injured himself in 2015 Australian Grand Prix qualifying.  

She admitted it was just too tough to change Formula 1 and retired in November 2015.  

"I got so close. I wanted and fought very hard to make it on to that starting grid but the events at the start of this year and the environment in F1 the way it is, it isn’t going to happen.

“My progression into Formula One came to represent so much more than a driver simply trying to reach the pinnacle of the sport. It was also the hope that finally there may again be a female on the starting grid. I rode the wave, was energised by all the support and fought hard. There were those who wanted it to happen. Those who didn’t.


“Do I think F1 is ready for a competitive female racing driver who can perform at the highest level? Yes. Do I think it is achievable as a woman? Most definitely. Do I think it will happen soon? Sadly no."

So Wolff founded Dare to be Different with the UK's Motor Sport Association to promote women's participation in motor sport.