How the FIA Have Screwed up This Time

The only thing having Carmen Jorda as FIA Ambassador for Women in Motorsport is damaging for is Carmen Jorda

This weekend, the FIA is learning that no good deed goes unpunished. On Friday, it cracked opened a fat can of worms by announcing Carmen Jorda as the voice for women in motorsport.

Ignoring the fact that the century old organisation only got round to thinking about equality in 2009, have they chosen the right spokesperson almost a decade later? They’ve ticked a few boxes in their choice. Carmen Jorda does indeed race cars and has ambitions to race in an F1 championship. However, they’ve fallen into the trap of appointing someone who looks good in lingerie but not on their timesheet. Jorda was also quoted in 2015 as saying that women have a “natural disadvantage” to men when asked whether a separate championship for women for F1 would help women’s lot in motorsport (reading between the lines, yes). Oh dear.

Maybe it’s something in the news cycle, but a similar fuck up happened exactly a year ago when the UN announced Wonder Woman as the embodiment of female awesomeness and future ambassador for equality for women. It went down like a cup of cold sperm. After a silent petition by UN staff and a much louder retaliation from the world’s media, the scantily clad fictional cartoon character was removed while the UN looked for a real ambassador. But who on earth would you choose? More importantly, who would I choose?

Much like trying to find one person of an ethnic minority to represent all ethnic minorities, one person to be the patron saint of all miracles or one candy bar to represent all confectionary - the exercise is pointless. In many ways, a fictional character to represent all women fairly is probably the best way because it’s make believe that one woman can represent all. Come to think of it, I think that's what feminism is all about - 50% of the population getting sick of being forced to be all things to everyone.

Let’s look at Carmen Jorda again and reassess. Why not Susie Wolff? As a former development driver for Williams Formula One and founder of Dare to be Different, an organisation that encourages young girls into go-karting with the aim of fostering the next generation of female F1 drivers - Susie fits the bill quite nicely. She also thinks that the female only F1 championship is a load of bull as she knows full well that women can compete on track with the boys, unlike Jorda. Fine. But hang on a minute.

According to Wolff, the emphasis for getting women into F1 right now isn’t by focusing on women who are currently racing, but on prepubescent girls, ripe for moulding and training into the ultimate racing goddesses of F1. That solution rather pisses on current drivers, such as Beitske Visser (22, BMW junior driver programme) and Simona de Silvestro (29, Nissan Motorsport in the Australian Supercars Championship and first female driver to score point in Formula E with a 9th place finish). It doesn’t bring much hope for me either, beginning in historic motorsports at the grand old age of 29. At least with Jorda, we know that she’s trying to do something she doesn’t quite believe she can do. If she legitimately feels that women can’t compete with men on the grid in an F1 race then she’s really stretching herself. That’s the kind of I’m-going-to-do-it-anyway-just-to-see-what-happens attitude I want representing me.

Jorda's been quoted several times as saying that a female only championship is the only way to get women competing at an F1 standard. This shows a solid understanding of how business works. If you can't beat them - go over there and do your thing. I believe that Jorda's sentiments are being twisted: of course she knows that women can be as fast as men on the track. We've got empirical data to support that. We've also got evidence to show that men outcompete women in terms of pay and access to opportunities. Jorda's point is that a women's only championship removes all of the political bullshit that men bring with them. She doesn't care who she's on track with - she just wants to drive the cars really fast around a track. And that I can sympathise with.

At the end of the day, the FIA's gimmicky plot to show that they care won’t damage women’s reputation in motorsport. Not to industry insiders anyway. The only person it will damage will be Carmen Jorda. Why? Because we're not listening to her properly - because she's a women.

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Comments (76)

  • Good article, Florence. I've been saying all along that true equality will only be reached when gender isn't even noticed, which means segregation is the very worst thing we can possibly do and will only prolong this ludicrous idea that one half of humanity is different from the other. We're all just drivers in the Nomex and lid and we'll find out who has a "natural advantage" on the track.

    Tell the likes of Sabine Schmitz she has a natural disadvantage, on the track or off, or that she was born too early to compete. Just let me get a little further away before someone tries, though, because I don't want blood all over this shirt.

      3 years ago
    • You can see it as segregation - or you can see it as more track time for people who otherwise wouldn’t get that chance. Saying no to an all female championship is kind of cutting our noses to spite our sweet, pretty dainty little faces.

        3 years ago
    • A damned good point, well made. I've had a better idea in reply to your other comment...

        3 years ago
  • If it was for the whole fia i would chose Michele mouton. She is the only woman to have scored points in Group B and win a Group B rally. She is currently head of safety at the wrc. To give more reason, she has four wins in rallying and finished second in the championship 1982 against all the Top drivers

      3 years ago
  • Do both? Give support for current drivers and start grassroots efforts to develop young women racers.

      3 years ago
  • Some common bloody sense, rather thank "Yes me too, I hate the silly bitch! It's all sexist bs and she's just an airhead racer who never got anywhere ra ra" bandwagon jumping. I actually think there is sense in one off races for women only, ONLY whilst there is so much inequality in motorsport. There's much more chance that 8 year old girl is going to spot that role model to keep pushing her karting career INSTEAD of thinking "why bother, there's hardly any women in motorsport so what chance have I". And we all do it - we find role models in people we most identify with. Teams have more chance to notice the cream rising to the top etc. This won't go down well I know...

      3 years ago
  • "I believe that Jorda's sentiments are being twisted: of course she knows that women can be as fast as men on the track. We've got empirical data to support that. We've also got evidence to show that men outcompete women in terms of pay and access to opportunities. Jorda's point is that a women's only championship removes all of the political bullshit that men bring with them. She doesn't care who she's on track with - she just wants to drive the cars really fast around a track. And that I can sympathise with."

    YES.

      3 years ago
    • It’s simple isn’t it? Why be shitty about starting up an all female championship if it means that more women get to get out on track and profit from seat Time in a god damn race?

        3 years ago
    • I hate to think like this but sometimes I feel like there are people out there that don't want women to race at all. Nor drive. Nor get out of their homes unsupervised.

        3 years ago
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