Katie Milner on Female F1 drivers
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F1 doesn’t have a female driver on the grid because there is a smaller talent pool of women than there is of men, according to Sky Sports presenter Naomi Shiff. The former W Series star has claimed the lack of ‘identifiable role models’ means there are fewer girls aiming to make it into the sport’s top-tier.
However, the launch of new programmes such as the W Series will ensure more women get involved at their local motoring clubs and start filtering through the system. Speaking to Express Sport, she said: “When I was growing up in the sport I didn’t have any identifiable role models and I think a big challenge we face as women in the sport is we are just so outnumbered.
“We are starting with a pool of talent of men which is much, much bigger than the pool of talent of women and that is part of the reason why we are not seeing women making it. One of the important reasons W Series needs to exist is we need to create female role models for young girls so that their parents or whoever it may be, see the sport as a sport for women as well and start getting women involved at the grassroot levels.”
The W Series was launched in 2019 in a bid to shed light on the talents of female drivers.
The all-female racing series has blossomed in recent years and is now a regular feature at F1 weekends. Briton’s Jamie Chadwick has all but dominated the series winning the only two W Series titles in 219 and 2021.
She looks set to replicate the success this season, winning every race so far as she leads the championship by 37 points. Chadwick has secured a role as a reserve driver for Williams but has not yet secured any time on an F1 weekend grid.
This is partly due to her lack of super licence points with 40 required over the past three seasons to compete in F1. Fifteen points are now rewarded for the W Series title winner but that’s still fewer than victory in other F1 support categories such as F2 or F3 where 40 and 30 points are earned.
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Schiff has attacked team bosses for failing to throw 24-year-old Chadwick an opportunity to make the jump, claiming it has a ‘lot to say about where the sport still is’. She added to Express Sport: “There’s only 20 seats in F1 and there’s loads of people who might be in a better position than Jamie for that seat at the moment.
“I don’t think Jamie would in any way make the jump from one to the other but she does have that connection with Williams and I am pretty sure they are preparing her for an eventual free practice session or whatever it may be.
“I think for her the next step would have to be F3 or F2 and the fact she hasn’t been able to secure a seat is a shame. I think because it would have been great for her to reintegrate and prove that she’s not just limited within W Series, that she is a very talented driver.
“The fact she hasn’t been able to secure a seat I think has a lot to say about where our sport still is. I think the fact that people aren’t willing to make the gesture to give her a seat after having won two W Series seasons blows my mind.”
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