Former Lotus and Renault development driver Carmen Jorda believes women should focus on a career in Formula E as it is less challenging than Formula One.
Jorda, who was appointed to the FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission last year, has been a controversial voice in motorsport in recent seasons. The Spanish driver has voiced her support for an all-female world championship and repeatedly said she does not believe women can compete equally with men.
After completing a demo run of Formula E machinery ahead of the weekend’s race in Mexico City Jorda told reporters it is a series more women should focus on reaching.
When asked if she felt the Formula E car is easier to drive for women, she said: “I think so. I think it’s a less physical car than in Formula One because of the downforce and because of the power steering as well. So yes, for sure. The challenge that we women have in Formula 2 and Formula One is a physical issue and I think in Formula E, we won’t have it.
“It’s not for me to decide what’s good for women or not in the sport. But in my experience I can say Formula One — not all the other championships, karting, Formula 3, GT, I think women are capable of good results in all those series — in Formula One and Formula 2 there is a barrier that is a physical issue. I think there is a big issue for women and that’s why there aren’t any in those championships.”
Jorda’s elevation to the FIA commission was hugely controversial and was criticised by leading female race drivers, with many suggesting a better candidate could have been chosen. In three years of racing in GP3 Jorda never managed to qualify in the top 20, but was still made part of Lotus’ F1 stable in 2015.
Despite her views on the top rung of the motorsport ladder, Jorda says she is committed to opening the sport up to women as much as possible.
“I’m a member of the FIA women’s commission and there are many other women there. Our objective is to get more women involved in motorsport because we want to make motorsport as accessible for women as all other sports. I think it’s growing, there are more women involved in karting, in other aspects such as karting but as well as roles such as engineers, to not make it look like it’s a male-dominated sport.”
Simona di Silvestra was the last women to race in Formula E, during its second season. F1 has not had a woman enter a race for more than 40 years, when Italian Lella Lombardi took to the starting grid at the 1976 Austrian Grand Prix. British driver Susie Wolff was a development and reserve driver for Williams and took part in four grands prix practice sessions between 2015 and 2016, but she retired when it became evident she would not be provided with a full-time race seat.