Bernie’s female series gets tepid reply

The FIA has not dismissed Bernie Ecclestone's idea for a female-only F1 series out of hand, saying research needs to be done, but adds women want to compete on an equal level with men.

There has been plenty of talk in recent years about a female driver making the step up to the grid, but nothing has come of it with the likes of Susie Wolff restricted to a development and test role.

Ecclestone suggested last week that a women-only series be introduced, saying: "We have to start somewhere so I suggested to the teams that we have a separate Championship and maybe that way, we will be able to bring someone through to F1. They could race before the main event, or perhaps on the Saturday qualifying day so that they had their own interest."

Former rally driver Michele Mouton, president of the FIA’s commission for women in motorsport, says the idea needs to be debated, but warns that women are unlikely to go for it.

"The idea of an all-women competition is not something we would dismiss without proper debate and research," she told the Associated Press in a statement. "But from my own experience as a competitor, I truly believe women want to compete on an equal level with their male counterparts. They have proved through the decades that it is possible, even if only a few."

Ecclestone added that "it would be a good idea to give women a showcase" and "they would attract a lot of attention and publicity and probably a lot of sponsors".

Mouton continued: "Motor sport is just one of three sports, including sailing and horse riding, where men and women compete alongside one another with the same rules and classifications. 

"This level playing field provides a real indicator of performance and pushes athletes to be the best in the world, regardless of gender. We have to continue promoting the fact that motor sport is open to all, with the same prospects and potential to succeed."

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