It’s been 47 years since a female last took part in a Formula 1 race, with Lella Lombardi having scored half a point at the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix.
Lombardi and Maria Teresa de Filippis are the only two female drivers to have taken part in an F1 race, with three other women having tried but ultimately not qualifying for the GP.
The most recent of those was Giovanna Amati in 1992, with 2016 F1 World Champion Nico Rosberg believing “the time is ripe” now for a female to progress into the pinnacle of motorsport.
Recognition of women in motorsport has come an awfully long way since 1992, with the W Series and Extreme E Championships having seen female talent shine on worldwide TV.
W Series alone has given female drivers a chance to increase their profile, with all races being shown on Live TV.
Extreme E has also helped to reduce the stigma that motor racing is a ‘man’s world’, with all the teams having to have a male and female driver.
Rosberg has his own team in the championship, with Rosberg X Racing currently being the defending champion of the series.
In Rosberg’s “eyes”, the current female in his team Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, is the “best female racer in the world at the moment”.
Rosberg’s comments come after the Swedish driver “unceremoniously swept away nine-time rally world champion Sébastien Loeb” at the Extreme E event in Sardinia.
Rosberg wants to see a woman progress to Formula 1 so that parents can see that there is a career path worth investing in if their daughter is a talented driver.
Rosberg rightly wants motorsport to “release the brakes” on female racers “equality” and get a female racer to F1.
“We must finally release the brakes on equality so female racers can make it to the top class,” Rosberg told Welt am Sonntag, quoted by Auto Bild.
“We have to promote women more in motorsport, just like we do in Extreme E – and we have to do it all the way up to Formula 1.
“For this we need financial but also idealistic support. From associations, clubs, racing series, sponsors, manufacturers and fans, so female racers are supported from an early age and manage to attract the attention of financiers and the media.
“But above all, so they believe in themselves and don’t have to fight the battle alone. Parents of talented girls need to know it’s worth investing in their child because the path to the top is clear.”
Sensationally, Rosberg was asked to comment on the people that will ask the question “can girls can be as fast as boys”, the former Williams and Mercedes driver believes they absolutely can, with “mental strength” being more important than physical.
“I see nothing wrong with that. In motorsport, just like in equestrian sports or sailing, the alleged physical superiority of men hardly plays a role,” continued Rosberg.
“We have the race car that puts the power to the ground. The rest is talent, experience, technique and above all mental strength. Small and petite racers, by the way, even have an advantage over tall and heavy drivers.
“And as the father of two self-confident daughters, I know women have just as much courage as men, not only on the race track.
“I don’t have a final solution, but one thing I’ve learned in Formula 1 is that where there’s a will, there’s a way and there is a solution for everything.
“Let’s finally give the girls a chance. The time is ripe.”