Stefano Domenicali says female drivers competing in Formula 1 in the next 5 years is highly unlikely
Formula One chief executive Stefano Domenicali said he felt the prospect of a female driver competing in F1 in the next five years was ‘very unlikely’, while also discussing the future of the Belgian Grand Prix.
Last Updated: 08/25/22 9:19 am
Formula One chief executive Stefano Domenicali said he did not expect women to compete in Formula 1, which last took place in 1976, within the next five years.
He outlined that barring a dramatic rise, he doesn’t think it’s possible in the coming seasons.
“Really, unless there’s something like a meteorite, I don’t see a girl entering F1 in the next five years,” he said.
“That’s very unlikely.”
Formula One is promoting the all-women W Series, with races in support at a selected major, and Domenicali says he’s happy with that.
“We believe that in order to give girls the same opportunities as boys, they need to be around the same age when they start competing on the track,” he added.
“We’re working on that to see what we can do to improve the system. And you should see some action soon.”
Lella Lombardi is the last female driver to compete in Formula One.
The future of the Belgian GP has not been decided yet
Domenicali said the future of the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix after Sunday’s race has yet to be decided but reports of its demise may be premature.
The 2023 calendar will be published in October and is set to have a record 24 laps, with a question mark hanging over old favorites like the Belgian race at Spa-Francorchamps.
Germany have lost the major title and France could follow, while even Monaco’s continued history as a showcase race has been the subject of speculation amid controversy over rotation.
Asked about the balance between races held inside and outside of Europe and whether this year could see the final Belgian Grand Prix, Domenicali replied: “I see some comments (about) something. That’s about me saying Belgium would be last year. I would be cautious about that comment. Very cautious.”
Domenicali said Formula One wants a balanced mix of a third in Europe, a third in the Far East and others in the US and Middle East, the most lucrative region on the sport’s balance sheet. .
“Of course, we are talking about a business where investments, financial contributions are very important, but we always say that the traditional races, the races that we know can’t bring the numbers. the money that others are bringing in, must be fully respected by us.” he added.
“You will find that this will also be respected in the future. With Belgium, discussions are still ongoing.
“We’re at the Spa this weekend so you’ll see them (local promoters) a lot of times in my office.”
Talks are going on
Domenicali traveled to South Africa in June to discuss the possibility of that country’s Kyalami rotation returning to the prix calendar in 2023, but the Italian said those talks were still ongoing.
“We want a race in Africa and today the most likely place is South Africa,” he said.
“What we’re looking for are very solid and clear long-term commitments, because we can’t be there for a year and end the game.
“This is a situation that takes time. I think we’ll clear it up over the next few days but certainly the commitment to be in Africa is something we want to do but we want to get it right.”
He said the 2024 calendar will look very different due to an early-season clash with the month of Ramadan, affecting the schedule of the current inaugural Middle Eastern races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
Australia is likely to return to the inaugural spot it previously hosted.
Watch the Belgian GP this weekend, live on Sky Sports F1, with the first practice session live at 1pm on Friday.