FINDING THE FIRST FEMALE F1 DRIVERS' WORLD CHAMPION

Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 11:56 PM HST

Introducing >= More than Equal: A pathway to women competing and winning at the pinnacle of motorsport

SILVERSTONE, United Kingdom, July 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Yesterday, Silverstone saw the launch of >= More than Equal – a new initiative bringing together some of motorsports' best scouts, physical trainers, psychologists, nutritionists, racing coaches and drivers…all focused on finding and developing the first female Formula One World Drivers' Champion.

A total of 771 drivers from 41 different nationalities have raced in at least one of the over 1,050 FIA World Championship races since the first event, the 1950 British Grand Prix. Only 5 women have entered a Grand Prix, with just 2 qualifying and starting a race.  For a sport that has always been open to women, that's a 99.8% male dominance.

Thirteen-time Grand Prix winner David Coulthard MBE and entrepreneur Karel Komarek founded and are funding >= More than Equal, with the ambition to understand and minimise barriers specific to women racing in Formula One, as well as providing better scouting and earlier, ongoing support.

The team hears a variety of reasons suggested as to why women have not achieved more in Formula One; Strength, endurance, racing aggression…but none have been tested and proven to be an insurmountable barrier.

A key partner in the >= More than Equal programme is Hintsa Performance, a global leader in human high-performance coaching.  Formula One drivers supported by the company have won 16 world championships between them.  Hintsa's CEO Annastiina Hintsa shares her view: "We see our role as talent identification and development of the mental and physical strength necessary to win a drivers' championship.  VO2 max, neck and core strength, leg power, heat tolerance… we see and measure many key contributory factors that make a world champion and there is not one that cannot be reached by a woman."

So, what's really stopping them?  Key partners within >= More than Equal agree:

  • No female driver role models, thus too few girls take up karting
  • A failure to identify and support female talent as early as male talent
  • A lack of early track success, diverting all sponsorship and support to male drivers

>= More than Equal Advisory Board member and Formula One veteran Kate Beavan is well placed to comment"I joined the Formula One business in 2003 and have watched women strive and fail for myriad reasons.  I know women can make it and win, we just have to look harder and support earlier."

Coulthard describes his motivation to found >= More than Equal: "I always believed my sister Lynsay Jackson had more natural racing talent than me but I was given the support towards a Formula One journey and she was not. To succeed, talent needs early nurturing and I'd like every "Lynsay" out there to have the same opportunities as men in the fight to reach Formula One and win."

Co-founder Komarek added: "I know from my experience in business that there is always much more that needs to be done when it comes to gender equality.  >= More than Equal brings a bold but achievable ambition that David and I hope will open more eyes to female potential everywhere – in sports, business and society."

Formula One presenter and motorsport diversity & inclusion champion Ariana Bravo hosted today's launch at Silverstone.  "For women, there's a duality to the word 'drive'.  The drive to drown out the noise of 'why not' by building strength and race craft that creates wins from a very young age.  I'm a huge advocate for women in motorsport and it's exciting to see a new initiative that I think will help to clear the way for the development of female racing talent in reaching its full Formula One potential."

FOUR CORE ELEMENTS TO THE PROGRAMME:
  • Scouting globally for female talent. >= More than Equal will collaborate with a global network of scouting agents to search on and off the track for high-potential female karting and racing talent. The best will join the programme.
  • Building physical strength, a winning mindset and mental resilience. Hintsa Performance coaches will initially bring empirical measurement to the identification of talent across a wide age range. It sees wellbeing as central to future performance with drivers given an early focus on mental strength and confidence. The team will also spearhead a tailored programme of physical training and nutrition for >= More than Equal's young and developing female drivers, mirroring services provided to athletes and current Formula One drivers.
  • Enhancing speed through coached race craft. David Coulthard will join forces with top race coaches to create racing strategies that play to female strengths. Added to this will be time on track, the vital ingredient for racing talent to develop and to be seen to prove success. >= More than Equal will partner with teams and a fast-developing ecosystem of female driving opportunity to deliver maximum time on track.
  • Connecting proven talent with teams and sponsorship. As talent proves itself competitively, so >= More than Equal team members will leverage their extensive business and motorsport contacts to connect that talent with potential teams and sponsorship.
FURTHER INFORMATION:
  • About >= More than Equal. >= More than Equal is a new, not-for-profit global initiative that takes a long-term view on return on investment toward its objective of participation in - and ultimately victory for - female drivers in the Formula One World Drivers' Championship. >= More than Equal will seek charitable status in England and Wales and will operate along charitable objectives.
  • About David Coulthard MBE. David is a 13-time Formula One Grand Prix winner, finishing second in the 2001 Drivers' World Championship. David founded and co-funds >= More than Equal together with Komarek and will join the board of the initiative. He brings his racing experience and contacts to bear when playing an active role in the development of the programme.
  • About Karel Komarek. Karel is the founder of global investment group KKCG with over €9 billion in asset value, and operations spanning 38 countries. >= More than Equal was founded and is co-funded by Karel, who also joins the >= More than Equal board.

More information about the initiative is available on the website www.MoreThanEqual.com and updates will also be available on the Instagram profile @more.thanequal.

For any media enquiries, please contact Maddy Coe:  E: Maddy.coe@rightformula.com. M: +44 (0) 7384 547 656

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SOURCE More than Equal

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