Formula E starts its sixth season in Saudi Arabia on Friday with an all-male cast of drivers but Venturi’s Susie Wolff, the only woman to run a team in the electric series, says change will come.
While a woman has not started a Formula One grand prix since the late Italian Lella Lombardi in 1976, three have competed in Formula E since the city-based championship began in 2014.
None have had staying power, however, with only Swiss Simona de Silvestro completing a season in 2015/16 for the U.S. Andretti team and scoring four points.
Britain’s Katherine Legge and Italian Michaela Cerruti lasted two and four races respectively in 2014/15 before being dropped.
“I think there’s no reason why a woman can’t be successful in Formula E,” Wolff told Reuters in a telephone interview ahead of the opening race. “I definitely see that coming in the future.”
British racer Jamie Chadwick, winner of the inaugural all-female W Series this year, has expressed interest and tested with the Nio team in Saudi Arabia a year ago and in Morocco last January.
Beitske Visser, the Dutch racer who was runner-up to Chadwick, was Formula E test and reserve for BMW Andretti last season.
De Silvestro, 31, drove a Venturi when nine women joined the men in testing after last year’s inaugural Saudi race. The Swiss is now with Formula E newcomers Porsche as a test driver.
“If I had a gap in my driver lineup and there was a woman capable, like Jamie, have no doubt I would put her in the car,” said Wolff, a former Williams F1 development driver whose husband Toto runs Formula One champions Mercedes.
“And I would hope that would be the case for other manufacturers.”—AFP