W Series CEO backs Ferrari over female driver push – not “just a marketing plan”

16-01-2020 16:53 | Updated: 16-01-2020 17:57
by Bevan Youl
F1 News
W Series CEO backs Ferrari over female driver push – not “just a marketing plan”

W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir has backed Ferrari over their push for a female driver as part of their academy, stating that it isn’t “just a marketing plan”, but a genuine attempt to get a woman into Formula 1.

Back in December, it was revealed by Binotto that Ferrari were working towards a female driver in the academy but the announcement was met with some criticism on social media.
German driver Sofia Floersch, who suffered a horrific crash in the 2018 Macau Grand Prix said: “as long as we are just marketing stuff in racing nothing will change.”
But Bond Muir doesn’t believe that is the case with Ferrari’s intentions.
"Obviously I would hope that that driver [being supported by Ferrari] would come from W Series," she said, as quoted by Autosport.

"I know that Ferrari have come into some flak on social media, but what we all have to remember is if we cast our minds back to a year ago, there weren't very many women involved in motorsport at a high level.

"If you all look back to the amount of time that you were writing about women in motorsport, it was much, much less than it is now.

"I think that is what we have to applaud. What is happening is that the tide is rising for all women in motorsport. I think what Ferrari are trying to do is to help that tide to rise.

"I don't think it is just a marketing plan, I think they really, genuinely want to see if they can get a woman into F1, and if they can attract a young superstar, and take them through their academy, and be the first team to get a [female] driver into F1, then frankly hats off to them."

It was also announced Thursday that the W Series have expanded their race calendar from six races to eight, supporting F1 at the US and Mexican Grand Prix’s, a move Bond Muir believes will help with a better platform to “promote themselves”.

"Progressing within motorsport requires people to have access to a lot of money because you need the support and the sponsorship as well as the talent to progress,” she added.

"And I think this will give our drivers is a much bigger and better platform in which to promote themselves. So hopefully, as their careers progress, they will be able to attract more sponsorship.

"So I do think that this is of crucial importance. And certainly F1, as in Ross Brawn's quote today, he says that their ambition is to get women into F1.

"But I think W Series, as well as a whole variety of other efforts that are undertaken around the world at the moment, we're still nascent in our ambitions of promoting women into F1."

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