Autocar Women drivers…

Discussion in 'News Feeds' started by Autocar, Saturday 27th Apr, 2013.

  1. Autocar Valued Contributor ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

    Will a women driver ever truly make it in motor racing, or might they be better off not bothering in the first place?There’s been a fair bit of chat across the airwaves about the skills, or otherwise, of women drivers of late, as I’m sure you will all be well aware. The most notable contribution to the debate has come from Sir Stirling Moss, who said on Radio Five Live recently that he is "not surprised" there are no women drivers in Formula One because he believes they don’t have the mental strength to compete.
    "I think they have the physical strength, but I don’t know if they’ve got the mental aptitude to race hard, wheel to wheel" said Sir Stirling, incurring the wrath of every wannabe Desiré Wilson across the globe.
    "We've got some very strong and robust ladies" he continued. "But when your life is at risk, I think the strain of that in a competitive situation will tell when you're trying to win.
    "The mental stress I think would be pretty difficult for a lady to deal with in a practical fashion. I just don't think they have the aptitude to win a Formula One race."
    With all due respect to the great Sir Stirling, I’m not sure I agree with him in this instance. In fact, I think the exact opposite.
    When I drove a Honda F1 car around Silverstone a few years back, THE thing that I found hardest to cope with was the sheer physicality of the experience. True, I was nowhere near as fit as I needed to be compared with a front-line F1 driver but, at the time, I’d put months in at the gym and had built my neck muscles up to approximately twice their normal size.
    Yet after just three flying laps I was shattered, and my neck had gone completely. Which was why the team had to build up some support on the left side of the cockpit, purely to prevent my head from rolling around through the right hand bends at Woodcote and Copse in particular.
    And so, for me, that’s the element I suspect women F1 drivers would struggle with most. They’d get tired physically behind the wheel far more quickly than men do because the sheer g-forces involved are so punishing – in much the same way that a women can’t, and never will be able to, run a 400m race as fast as a man because they don’t have the physical ability to do so.
    Dealing with the mental side of driving an F1 car, on the other hand, I think may even play into a woman’s hands. Women are more patient and often a fair bit more rational in their ways of doing things than men. They also tend not to get as hot beneath the collar – or overalls – if and when things don’t go according to plan. And they are usually more decisive and just better at planning stuff – and then sticking to those plans – than us more fickle males often are. All of which would make them more likely to succeed within the cut and thrust world of Formula One.
    Then again, no women has ever managed to crack it just yet, so what do I know compared with Sir Stirling Moss?