Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi announced a new programme created by the French team to increase the presence of female drivers on the F1 grid. To achieve so, young boys and girls will be given the same training by the former Renault team to grant the same opportunities to reach the pinnacle of F1.
As explained by Rossi to the BBC: “It’s a long path – eight years’ programme – starting now. We go so far as to think we can have an influence on the way the myths are built, and we want to debunk them: ‘Women are not capable physically’ … ‘Women are not capable physiologically, mentally’ … ‘Women shouldn’t do that’ … ‘There are no role models.’
The idea is: ‘Let’s take everything from the beginning and make sure we build the path, in the same way we built the path for men.’ I am convinced that in doing so we will multiply the probability of women achieving.”.
Create more opportunities for women in motorsport
The Alpine CEO went on to explain how women historically lacked the support to reach the main series: “They never got the proper training, the environment, the support of the governing bodies – potentially – the stakeholders to get there and that’s why it never happened.”.
Moreover, the hypothesis is to find more talent by widening the research: “It is just a matter of providing the right environment. It is like also changing the perspective and prejudice, basically destroying those prejudices to make it more accessible. At the moment, I would surmise 99% of women don’t think it’s feasible for them to get there.
We address only a super-small portion of the women, whereas if you suddenly open the gates, who knows? You’re going to have statistically way more women wanting to do it and then we’ll train them and hopefully, there will be more women capable of getting there.”
Similarly enough, W Series founder Catherine Bond Muir had also admitted how, despite being the same age, current F1 drivers Lando Norris and George Russell had more opportunities to train and drive than W Series Champion Jamie Chadwick.
However, Alpine CEO Rossi wasn’t as optimistic regarding W Series: “W Series is a form of segregation. One thing [to promote inclusion across motorsport] would be to recognise that there is not necessarily a need to have parallel series to showcase women’s talent, and simply open up a bit more to that.
“What we need is people like us – and I know other teams do it as well – taking the cause, embracing it and deciding they want to make inroads. The stakeholders shape the future of the sport and industry. We are a stakeholder; we believe in it. So our role is to shape it, and together with others we will shape it. I think segregation or lack thereof should be the first step. And then we can establish step by step progression to get there.”
Yet, while Rossi criticized W Series, the Alpine Junior Team remains the most represented in the W Series grid with Alice Powell and Abbi Pulling, only followed by the Williams academy with Jamie Chadwick.
Moreover, Alpine’s progress in inclusivity will also pass from creating a more equal workforce, somehow following the steps already taken by W Series to increase the overall number of female personnel, as Rossi stated to ESPN: “We want to make sure we give access to all of the jobs, all of the opportunities at Alpine, to women. By not having a more balanced representation of women in the workforce I basically deprive Alpine and myself of 50% of the talents out there … I see it as I’m missing half of my team.
Headline Image: Alpine Media Site | Renault
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