Williams development driver Susie Wolff has predicted that a female driver will feature on the F1 grid within the next decade.
Wolff is one of two female drivers involved in F1 this season, with Maria de Villota having signed up for a testing role with Marussia.
DTM racer Wolff is currently involved in aero testing and simulator work with Williams
ahead of proposed on-track work later in the year and she said she expected to see a woman racing in F1 within the next ten years.
"I believe it will happen sooner rather than later," she told the BBC
. "Definitely within the next decade. There is prejudice in motorsport, but I think that is slowly changing and more females are coming through.
"It would just take a massive leap of faith for one of the teams to give a female a chance. Many people within F1 who would like to see it happen. Once the first female for some time gets into F1, then I think it will open up the possibilities for more to come through."
Wolff said she keen to show what she is capable of when given the chance to drive the Williams
car, but said it was vital that any female driver seeking to make it in F1 did so on merit and not for any other reason.
"Frank has given me the chance and it's up to me to take it with both hands and see what I can get out of it,” she said. "It's still along way away from being in a F1 race seat. I have got to earn the respect of the team and show them that I am capable.
"I think it's very important that if a female makes it into F1, she must be there on merit or she's not going to last long. You have to be good enough otherwise you're not going to stay there."