Formula One does not need to get rid of grid girls or become more politically correct to attract female drivers, according to the leading ambassador for women in motorsport.
Susie Wolff, the former Williams F1 test driver and the only woman who has taken part in a Grand Prix weekend in the past 25 years, said: “I don’t think F1 or other motorsport series have to change to attract more women. I think any woman you ask would not want it to be changed. There should be grid girls. It’s part of Formula One, it’s part of motorsport, it’s part of the glamour.”
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The future of grid girls was brought into question last year when the organisers of the Monaco Grand Prix switched them for male models. Although other F1 races failed to follow suit, the World Endurance Championship has banned grid girls.
“We are not here to change the sport,” added Wolff, 33, at the launch of Dare To Be Different, her initiative promoting careers in motorsport to women.
“We’re here to simply promote the sport in a positive light and say ‘I am a woman and I am in the sport. There isn’t a barrier.’”
F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone has suggested a separate competition for women and on Tuesday reiterated his view that they are “not physically able to drive a Formula One car quickly”.
Wolff never raced in F1 but took part in several practice sessions and looked the best hope of a woman competing in a grand prix since 1976.
She said: “The truth is that no one in this sport cares whether someone is male or female. They always take the best person for the job.”