BY: Bradley Brownell
As part of an FIA Women in Motorsports initiative, nine female racers participated in Sunday’s Formula E in-season test. All 11 Formula E teams participated in the test session, which took place the day after, and on the same track as, Saturday’s Ad Diriyah Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia. In addition to the female testers, a few young drivers were given a chance in the seat, and some of the current drivers chose to use the track time to run programs of their own.
FIA Women in Motorsport Commission President Michèle Mouton viewed the test from the pits. She had this to say.
“It is great to see so many strong female drivers testing the new Formula E car.
“I strongly believe that in order to see the potential of the best women drivers in the world, they need to get a chance to drive with the best teams, which is exactly what is happening here.
“Through our FIA Women in Motorsport monitoring and assessment programmes, we know that some of the best are here today. I hope that this initiative with Formula E can continue in the future and I can’t wait to get all the feedback from the drivers and teams.”
Fastest time of the day was won by Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird with a time of 1:09.668. The fastest of the women was Simona de Silvestro, landing firmly in the top-1o with a 1:12.048 timed lap. Simona, as you may know, spent time with the Andretti Autosport team in Formula E’s inaugural season. This was her first time in the new second-generation FE car, and actually her first time in a Formula E car since 2015.
Carmen Jorda tested with Nissan e.dams. Pippa Mann spent time during the test with the Dragon Racing team, though not nearly enough. Tatiana Calderon worked with the Techeetah team. Jamie Chadwick struggled with battery issues, but managed laps with the NIO team all the same. Beitske Visser tested with the Grand Prix winning BMW team. Katherine Legge tested with Mahindra, Carrie Schreiner ran the HWA team car. And finally, Amna Al Qubaisi ran the morning session with Virgin Racing, but hit a barrier with the rear wheel of the car, sidelining her afternoon testing efforts.
It doesn’t seem likely that any of the women will receive Formula E rides, but any effort to get these racers in front of the teams and in the right equipment is worth it in my eyes. These are hard working racers that deserve the shot in top-rung motorsport. May you all find rides in 2019. Bless.