Lotus development driver Carmen Jorda believes an all-female racing championship would be the best way to promote women racers into Formula 1.
F1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone suggested the creation of an all-female series last week, prompting a backlash from female racers such as Williams test driver Susie Wolff, who slammed the idea.
Wolff made a series of practice appearances with Williams in 2014, but Lella Lombardi remains the last woman to race in the sport, back in 1976.
Jorda, who joined Lotus earlier this season, reckons it is time F1 follows the example of other sports.
“I think society has changed a lot in the last few decades,” Jorda told the official F1 website. “You see women in better jobs, managing to have careers of their own in areas that were deemed male for a long time.
“Nowadays you see women competing in their own championships in most sports: football, tennis, skiing – you name it – and in none of these championships are men and women competing against each other.
“So the question is: why not have a F1 world championship for women? Should the female championship happen, that would be fantastic!”
Jorda, whose best result in GP3 before joining Lotus was a 13th place finish in 2012, says women are held back from reaching their potential in motorsport.
“The truth is that there is no ‘route’ for a woman to break into F1,” she explained. “There are so many barriers, and you have to overcome them all. Men do have routes into F1, so it is easier for them to make it in at a younger age.
“When I was very young – I had only started racing in go-karts – I had a podium finish and the guy who ended in P3 started to cry.
“When they asked him why, he said it was because a girl beat him. That’s the reaction of men everywhere in racing – they try to push you down!”
Image courtesy of Lotus F1 Team