Nevertheless, an estimated 50,000 women are involved in motorsports in Britain, from organising events and running clubs to timekeeping and marshalling. There's no doubt about the importance of the diverse support roles women occupy.
To celebrate International Women's Day and support the Motor Sports Association (MSA)’s Women in Motorsport group, ITV's motorsports presenter Louise Goodman teamed up with more than 50 female competitors, marshals, officials and volunteers at Silverstone racing circuit, home of British motorsport and the 2010 Formula 1 British Grand Prix.
Goodman said: “It was a fabulous experience to come together with all these other women involved in the sport to show that motor sport is not just for the men. I really hope that this inspires more girls to consider the sport; one of them might just turn out to be the new Jenson Button!”
Sue Sanders, Chairman of the MSA Women in Motorsport Committee, said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the diverse range of roles that women undertake within the sport at all levels. We believe that motor sport is truly fair and equal but there is plenty of room for more women. We hope that this gathering will celebrate those already involved and stimulate others that may be interested in getting started.”
MSA Chief Executive Colin Hilton explained: “Motorsport still tends to be seen as a male-dominated activity, so we need to create female role models to inspire the next generation. We are seeing a substantial increase in female participation among the junior ranks, especially with the Let’s Go Karting initiative that gives young people a first experience of karting for just £5. Similarly, the Go Motorsport message that we are taking to schools across the county is aimed equally at girls and boys.”
So if you see yourself as a female Jenson Button, contact your local Motor Club for more information about getting involved, or visit the following websites:
> MSA: www.msauk.org
> The British Women Racing Drivers Club: www.bwrdc.co.uk
> Silverstone Rally School's Lady Quest: www.silverstonerally.co.uk/index.php/lady-quest.html
And don't forget the 2010 F1 season starts this Sunday! Tune in to BBC1 for race coverage from 1110 onwards.