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F2 ace Gachnang chasing 'historic moment' as next woman in F1

Sébastien Buemi's cousin Natacha Gachnang is looking to make a little bit of history in lining up on the 2010 F1 World Championship starting grid for Campos Grand Prix – as the FIA Formula Two Championship ace aims to become the first woman in the top flight in almost two decades next season.

The Swiss star has already gone down in motorsport's history books as the first female driver in Formula Two in the feeder series' rebirth this year, and in the Valencia curtain-raiser at the end of last month she took a competitive eleventh-place finish, barely a second shy of the top ten on her debut.

Prior to that, the 21-year-old had notched up four podiums en route to finishing third outright in the 2008 Spanish F3 Championship with Campos, claiming the Spanish Cup laurels in the process – and now she is eyeing a potential test outing with her old team as it readies itself for its F1 bow next year.

“I have been speaking to (team owner) Adrian Campos about a test drive,” she is quoted as having said by GP Update, as she prepares for the second Formula Two meeting at Brno in the Czech Republic this weekend. “It is certainly a possibility, and he believes in me as a driver after our time together in Spanish F3 last year.

“For me, it would be an historic moment to be the next woman in F1; many people have said it is not possible, so it would be fantastic to prove them wrong. That said, the most important thing for me has always been to be fast. At the end of the day, if I am not quick then I will not make it.

“For that reason, my main objective this season is to perform well in Formula Two. For sure, the prospect of a test seat with Campos adds a bit of motivation, but I have always been motivated to do my best and am always comparing myself to the best and fastest drivers.”

Should Gachnang succeed in her bid, she would become the first woman to attempt to qualify for a grand prix since Giovanna Amati at Brabham back in 1982. Of the five female drivers to have entered the F1 World Championship over the 59 years since its official inception back in 1950, only one of them – Lella Lombardi – has ever troubled the scorers, with half a point for a sixth-place finish for March in the tragically truncated 1975 Spanish Grand Prix at Montjuïc Park in Barcelona.

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