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Talking point: Jorda supports Ecclestone's idea of a Women's World Championship

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Talking point: Jorda supports Ecclestone's idea of a Women's World Championship
Apr 7, 2015, 10:41 AM

Carmen Jorda, the Lotus F1 team development driver, has backed the idea floated by Bernie Ecclestone recently to have a women's world championship,...

Carmen Jorda, the Lotus F1 team development driver, has backed the idea floated by Bernie Ecclestone recently to have a women's world championship, running as a support category at Grands Prix.

Jorda, 26, is the latest of a recent string of female drivers to be taken on in a development capacity by F1 teams, along with Susie Wolff, Simona de Silvestro and the late Maria de Villota. She has raced in Formula BMW and GP3, but unlike the others does not see F1 as a level playing field and agrees that women should have their own series,

"F1 is unique as the only top level sport where men and women (are expected to) compete against each other and this is not right," Jorda told Gazzetta dello Sport. "A female tennis player can win a tournament, but a woman will never win a Grand Prix. It's like asking Serena Williams to beat Roger Federer. It's not part of nature. The physical difference, the strength levels are too much.

"In motor racing there is no proper sporting avenue for women."

Susie Wolff, Toto Wolff

It's clear that Jorda is different from the other women who have signed up as development drivers for F1 teams. She has a fairly slim CV as a driver, which led to some scornful comments from pundits when Lotus signed her.

Behind the scenes Ecclestone is helping her, due to a long standing relationship with her father. She has managed to get a lot of attention since signing up and her intervention here indicates that the agenda may be to get this Women's Championship idea to take root, rather than to be another woman who gets close to an F1 drive, but falls short.

But it's not an agenda supported by Wolff and other women whose goal is to compete with - and beat - men.

In the UK, since the London Olympics, there is significantly more media attention on women's sport than before and it continues to occupy a significant amount of airtime.

So would a women's championship work, along similar lines? And is it the right thing for women in motorsport, for the top rung of the ladder to be a women's only series, presumably closing off the possibility of a woman racing at the top level in F1?

And how can F1 gain the most from the presence of women? Is it by having a woman racing successfully in F1, or by creating a separate category, inferior to the main event which closes off opportunity rather that creating it?

Carmen Jorda

Let us have your thoughts on this below. In the meantime, here are the thoughts of one of our regular posters, Yak, on the subject:

"The whole idea of a “Women’s F1″ is fairly misguided. For starters, motorsport is one of the few sports where women could actually compete against men. Maybe not so much in F1, but we’ve certainly seen successful women drivers in other categories. And yet there are none out there racing in F1. Who’s going to race in this “Women’s F1″? Women who couldn’t make it to the real F1? Just on the quality of the driver line-up it’s already just a sideshow to the main game. A main game full of male drivers, with a side show that’s populated exclusively (by regulations) with women. If you’re trying to promote gender equality, you’re not off to that great a start.

"If there’s really such a great need to get women into race seats, not just in F1 but in all motorsports, there simply needs to be more getting into it right at the early age when the boys are starting. I’m sure there are plenty of potentially good or great women racers out there, but if at the very early stages you only have 1 girl for every 100 boys (not an actual statistic), the odds of that 1 girl being one of those great talents and being better than every one of those 100 boys or even just most of them are pretty slim.

"The place to start is to look at if there are any barriers to girls getting into motorsport. If there for whatever reason are things in place that prevent or discourage female participation, sure, that’s wrong and go ahead and address that. Then maybe look at how to get more young girls interested in chasing that kind of dream to begin with. The journey does after all have to start at quite a young age if you want to make it to any high level motorsport. I don’t think signing a Carmen Jorda as a development driver or whatever does anything for that cause, regardless of how much she talks in interviews about her dream of racing in F1 (despite the fact that the only way it’ll ever happen is if the FIA make an exception and utterly disregard their own new super licence rules, just to let a woman race). But if there are in fact no unfair barriers in place now, you also have to consider why the male to female ratio is the way it is now. There is of course the slight possibility that at the end of the day, girls by their nature generally just aren’t as interested in this kind of thing as boys are."

What do you think of the idea of a separate Women's World Championship?
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