The president of motor racing’s ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA), on Saturday insisted they are fully committed to supporting women in the sport.
Three days after Formula One boss Stefano Domenicali compared the prospect of seeing a woman on the grid to that of a meteorite coming to Earth, Mohammed Ben Sulayem issued a statement backing females in motorsport.
“Since its foundation, the FIA has always supported and nurtured women in motorsport,” he said.
“Motorsport is unique as under FIA regulations, women and men can compete on equal terms.
“We will continue to actively encourage the participation of women through our ‘FIA Girls On Track Rising Stars’ programme.”
He added that the FIA was also backing the employment of women in other areas within teams, administration and technical roles.
“The presence of women in our Race Control, Operations and Technical teams and other departments throughout the organisation or in partnership with our ASNs with female volunteers and officials,” he said, citing the ambitions of the FIA’s programme.
“The FIA and FOM (Formula One Management) are committed to greater opportunity for women in the sport.
“Stefano Domenicali and I are working together to improve access and the pyramid for women’s entry and progression.
“Throughout history, women have made their mark in motorsport, on and off track, and it is our desire, under my leadership, that the trend will continue for years to come.”
His comments followed criticism of Domenicali’s statement by four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, who has championed the cause of women in pushing for greater equality and inclusion in motor racing.