Coulthard: Existing racing structures not working for women

Former grand prix driver David Coulthard says motor racing's structure needs a "fundamental" change like the new W Series if women are going to make a breakthrough in Formula 1.

Coulthard: Existing racing structures not working for women

Coulthard is one of the backers of the new all-female W Series that will launch next year, and offers the world's leading female talent the chance to battle it out in F3-spec cars for a $1.5 million prize fund.

With F1 not having had a female take part in a race since Lella Lombardi in 1976, Coulthard suggests that a different approach like an all-female category is needed if the situation is going to change.

"To quote former McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh, if you want a fundamental change in the outcome then you need a fundamental change in the process," Coulthard told Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview.

"W Series is a fundamental change in what has clearly not worked as an opportunity to bring through female talent to the highest level you can.

"What we will establish with W, is we will find out who the best woman is over the course of this championship. It undoubtedly will give her a higher level of profile and recognition."

While Coulthard is aware that the idea of a female-only championship is not supported by everyone, he is clear that without the kind of change that W Series will bring then the situation for women trying to progress will not get any better.

"There will be those that are negative, but show me what anyone else is doing to try to create positive change and try to create positive opportunity? This is a change in the process and it will create opportunity.

"Will this allow them to grow? Absolutely. Because it is a more structured approach to their development – and an inspiration for girls growing up seeing someone winning and thinking 'I want to do that.'"

Coulthard is clear that while the long-term aim is to encourage more young girls in to the sport because they have something to aspire to, the W Series will also help those currently with F1 ambitions.

"It helps those that are ready and committed to cars right now, like Tatiana [Calderon] and people like that.

"I have had this conversation with Susie Wolff, and they have this big support from the FIA bringing through grass roots. But how long will that take? Five years? Ten years? A generation it will take in racing terms.

"Our view is we don't want to wait a generation, but we welcome that generation of women racers coming through. This is providing a solution right now, and the timing is absolutely right."

Asked if he believed a woman could be successful in F1, he said: "Yes. I just don't know at what level. The current baseline is Lewis [Hamilton]. Can they be as good as Lewis? I don't know.

"But I do know there are a lot of men who are not as good as Lewis. But if we don't create a platform that may give an opportunity to accelerate that access, then nothing is going to change."

shares
comments
New all-female W Series splits opinion

Previous article

New all-female W Series splits opinion

Next article

De Silvestro: Red Bull-style programme preferable to W Series

De Silvestro: Red Bull-style programme preferable to W Series
Load comments
The rational brain of W Series' outside title bet Prime

The rational brain of W Series' outside title bet

As the only mum in W Series, Emma Kimilainen has a different perspective than many of her rivals. After her swashbuckling drive to victory at a sodden Spa, the Finn now has a real chance of getting into the title fight, and can call on an approach that has been a boost through myriad past disappointments

W Series
Sep 3, 2021
How Powell is making the most of a second chance in W Series Prime

How Powell is making the most of a second chance in W Series

After four years of making only irregular race appearances, Alice Powell had good reason to believe that her dreams of becoming a professional driver were over. But W Series has provided a second chance that she has firmly grasped, Powell's popular home win at Silverstone prompting the new series leader to look ahead to a bright future

W Series
Jul 30, 2021
Why Chadwick is taking nothing for granted ahead of W Series return Prime

Why Chadwick is taking nothing for granted ahead of W Series return

W Series is back this weekend after a year away. This time it’s supporting F1, and reigning champion Jamie Chadwick is up for the challenge of taking another title - but knows with higher stakes will come even more motivated opposition

W Series
Jun 24, 2021
Why a sabbatical doesn't spell disaster for W Series Prime

Why a sabbatical doesn't spell disaster for W Series

W Series finally got off the ground in 2019 despite its critics and had expected to build on its momentum this season. Instead the COVID-19 crisis has put its plans on hold, but for the fledgling series it could prove a blessing in disguise

W Series
Jul 27, 2020
The one thing W Series needs in 2020 to continue its rise Prime

The one thing W Series needs in 2020 to continue its rise

The first season of the W Series can be considered a major motorsport success story, but at the same time certain elements of its philosophy were exposed as problems. For its second season, there's one issue in particular it needs to address

W Series
Jan 15, 2020
What W Series should look like in 2020 and beyond Prime

What W Series should look like in 2020 and beyond

While the maiden season of the W Series can be regarded as a success, it must now capitalise on its strong debut and make the most of its opportunity to cement a long-term future. Here's how it could do just that.

W Series
Aug 19, 2019
The verdict on W Series' first weekend Prime

The verdict on W Series' first weekend

Since its launch last year, W Series has attracted much attention and debate. But with its first race, which took place at Hockenheim last weekend, what was pure speculation turned to fact. Here are the key takeaways from the event

W Series
May 8, 2019
Why W Series is more than just a last chance Prime

Why W Series is more than just a last chance

The W Series has effectively taken the place of the Formula 3 European Championship, but can it really be considered a junior single-seater series? The new category must now define its identity.

W Series
May 2, 2019