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Hill backs female F1 presence

Damon Hill believes that a female driver will eventually make it to F1 - and race, rather than just test...

Former world champion Damon Hill believes that it is inevitable that a woman will eventually break through and secure a place on the F1 grid, despite many having tried and failed over the years.

Maria-Teresa de Filippis was the first woman to contest a grand prix, contesting five world championship races in the late Fifties, while Lella Lombardi remains the only female driver to score a point - or rather half a point - after finishing sixth in the shortened 1975 Spanish GP, and since then only a handful of women have been given the opportunity to try F1. Davina Galica, Desire Wilson and Giovanna Amati all failed to qualify for races between 1976 and 1992, while Katherine Legge and, more recently, the ill-fated Maria de Villota, have both had the chance to test.

Now, as DTM driver Susie Wolff (nee Stoddart) prepares to test a Williams for the team under the guidance of her new husband, Hill told Channel 4 News that, in his opinion, it was 'inevitable' that women would eventually make a name for themselves in the top flight.

"Maybe it's just numbers, maybe not enough women have chosen that career path and eventually someone will and show they are every bit as good as the best guy out there," he reasoned, "It's a little bit hard in motorsport that women don't have their own category, but the women drivers I've spoken to don't want their own category - they want to show they can compete against the men."

Wolff, who made her way through the junior single-seater ranks before being picked up by Mercedes for its DTM campaign, works on simulator and aerodynamic testing for Williams, but is scheduled to get a chance behind the wheel of an actual car later this year. Finland's Valtteri Bottas, the reigning GP3 Series champion, is Williams' official test and reserve driver, and is tipped to graduate to a full race seat in 2013, but Wolff insists that she does not want a separate category for female drivers just to say that she made it to the top.

"I don't see myself as anything different or anything special, I just see myself as someone following their passion, someone who loves what they do and someone making a dream come true," she explained, "It's not so much about being in a man's world - it's my world.

"I try and always make the point that I'm racing for myself. I'm not racing to prove how well a female can do up against the men, I'm racing for me but, of course, there is still a lot of sexism."

Female drivers have shown that they can compete on an equal footing with their mail counterparts across the Atlantic, with Danica Patrick winning an IndyCar Series race on merit, and attracting others - including Legge and fellow Briton Pippa Mann as well as Simona de Silvestro and Ana Beatriz - to the category.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Katherine Legge tests the Minardi Cosworth at Vallelunga
Indy Racing League.  July 31-Aug. !, 2009. Kentucky Speedway. Sparta, Ky. USA. Danica Patrick.
Susie Wolff [Pic credit: DTM]
20.04.2012- Demon Hill (GBR)
23.08.2015 - Race, Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorspor Director and Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director
22.08.2015 - Qualifying, Damon Hill (GBR)
24.07.2015 - Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director and Nikki Lauda (AU), Mercedes
24.07.2015 - Press conference, Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director
24.07.2015 - Press conference, Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director
Susie Wolff (GBR) Williams
Susie Wolff (GBR) Williams
Susie Wolff (GBR) Williams
Susie Wolff (GBR) Williams
Susie Wolff (GBR) Williams
Susie Wolff (GBR) Williams
Will Stevens, Manor Marussia MR03 Ferrari
Will Stevens, Manor Marussia MR03 Ferrari
Sky Sports

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August 28, 2012 3:29 PM

i think that there are some rather sexist comments on this thread! damon has said that there is every chance that a woman will be on the grid in f1, and i agree with him. there have been women in the past that have outperformed men in gp cars, and that was at a time when they were real cars. what with powersteering etc nowadays, there is absolutely no reason for a woman not being fast enough. maria was one of the brightest hopes but alas it is not to be. (any word of her recently?) look at michelle mouton. never in f1, but beat men at their own game, in a car far more fearsome and difficult to drive, than an f1 car. it will happen, on MERIT, eventually.

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