Women need to start earlier says Button

There's been a recent interest in women racers since Niki Lauda and BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen predicted a bright future for 16 year-old Swiss Natacha Gachnang, with Lauda vowing to bring the youngster to Formula One. However, BAR's ...

There's been a recent interest in women racers since Niki Lauda and BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen predicted a bright future for 16 year-old Swiss Natacha Gachnang, with Lauda vowing to bring the youngster to Formula One. However, BAR's Jenson Button is skeptical and thinks the girls need to start racing as early as possible.

"Women seem to start in the lower formulae of motorsport when they're 16 or 17 years," Button told BBC radio. "They haven't got a chance when they start then. I started when I was eight and most other people did as well. It is very tough physically and you see lots of sport where women don't do as well as men -- for example running, it's a fact."

Starting early is not necessarily a requirement; Jaguar's Mark Webber told Motorsport.com in an interview recently that he didn't start karting until he was fourteen. But generally drivers do start at quite a young age.

Minardi boss Paul Stoddart is keen to see a woman in F1 and rates American Sarah Fisher and Brit Sarah Kavanagh. Stoddart concedes a female would have to be exceptionally fit to achieve F1 standards but sees no reason why that shouldn't happen.

"There are a couple of good drivers that we've been keeping an eye on in America that could make it," he said. "We were particularly interested in Sarah Fisher. Last year there were a lot of moves to have her do a test with us but it didn't quite happen. "

A woman racing in F1 has been dismissed by many as never going to happen; for sure, the history of female F1 racers has not been great. But it seems opinion is slowly changing. It's no longer quite such an impossible scenario -- whether it happens or not remains to be seen but the ladies are making their presence felt.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Mark Webber , Sarah Fisher , Sarah Kavanagh , Niki Lauda , Paul Stoddart , Natacha Gachnang , Mario Theissen
Teams Minardi