A Guide to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Motorsport

A guide to diversity, equity and inclusion in motorsport is just one of the features in the Driver Development Roundup this week. You will also find thoughts on the development of women drivers in motorsport, disabled racer Robert Wickens return to single seaters and what the definition of “gentleman driver” is. All this and more in this week’s edition of the Driver Development Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.

A Guide to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Motorsport

In the video above, AVL RACETECH Ambassador and Colombian IMSA Sportscar driver Tatiana Calderón and AVL Official Simulator Driver, Argentinian Formula 2 driver Franco Colapinto, explain the passion, dedication and unique challenges they faced pursuing their dreams of racing and their views on women in motorsports, hoping for greater diversity and inclusion in the sport.

Driver Development Roundup

BlackBook Motorsport has provided a rundown of some of the leading initiatives driving change in motorsport, including an overview of their founders, mission, and work to date. This guide will be updated and expanded with time to include future purpose-led organizations as and when they are formed. You can access the guide here.

This month’s F1R THE FUTURE podcast episode discusses More Than Equal‘s mission to find and develop the first female Formula 1 world champion. “In our discussion with Tom Stanton, Head of Driver Development, and Kate Beavan, board member and strategic advisor, we break down MTE’s unique, research-backed approach to closing the performance gap of women in motorsport, including how they scout new talent and how they’ve built a world class female driver program.” You can listen here.

Beth Paretta talks to The Race about her vision for women in Formula E.

“There have been women in F1 who I know personally who have been at F1 tests, who have been faster than men who are in F1 now because they’re at the same test days. The woman was faster. The woman didn’t have the funding. We need to do a deep dive and we need to get the data, women need opportunity. Opportunity is not a test day. Opportunity is signing a woman to a full-time deal multi-year. You need the time behind the wheel to become who you are. Dropping in, you’re never going to get there. It can’t be for the show of it, it has to be if you want to invest in people.”

In the latest edition of The Motorsport Saga by Alan Dove he discusses the implications of the huge license growth recently reported by Motorsport UK.

“In their latest press release, Motorsport UK proudly announced, “In 2023, the UK’s network of 676 motor clubs hosted 3,930 events across the country, offering entry points for enthusiasts of all ages, including the 70,000 UK competition licence holders.” However, this dramatic rise has sparked skepticism. Clubs like Rissington Kart Club, which struggle to attract participants to their meetings, must question where these 40,000 new licence holders are, as they are not appearing at their events.”

Trevor Carlin in Autosport asks the question, is the F1 superlicence a help or a hindrance for women racing drivers? “That current system was introduced for 2016, to prevent a repeat of the ‘Max Verstappen scenario’ – in other words, a 17-year-old with just one season of car racing under their belt going straight into Formula 1. However, that ‘solution’ did not encompass the full picture.”

A Guide to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Motorsport

Robert Wickens says a return to “elite level” motorsport is the goal after driving a single-seater for the first time since his 2018 IndyCar crash which left him paralyzed. The Canadian driver completed 11 laps at the wheel of Formula E’s Gen3 machine at the Portland International Raceway ahead of the all-electric championship’s double-header this weekend.

The GEN3 Formula E car, modified for Wickens to drive with hand controls, represents a leap in technology and sustainability, as well as a benchmark for motorsport series’ worldwide championing inclusivity on-track.

While the term is gradually being phased out for amateur or “Am” racer, the term “Gentleman driver” is still widely used in the sport and Finance Motorsport explains what it means.

A gentleman driver can generally be classed into two categories. First, those of an age where they compete purely for pleasure, with no ambition to climb the motorsport ladder or commercialise their activities. These drivers are likely to be found in the world of club or historic racing.

The other type of gentleman driver is an individual who competes at the highest levels alongside the professionals and is there, not because of raw talent or sponsorship dollars, but because of the funding he or she can bring to a team. They are wealthy amateur racers that did not forge a career in motorsport but in the business world, and their success has allowed them to buy into competing at a professional level – a concept unfound in any other sport, except perhaps polo. One could be forgiven for sniffing at these wealthy amateurs taking the seats of ‘real’ talent, blocking entry for young professionals and getting in the way of the pros on track. These are understandable grumblings but in most cases, unfair and untrue.

What is A Gentleman Driver?

Autosport looks at the factors behind Japan’s Super Formula series losing its international luster. “It was the COVID pandemic and the subsequent travel restrictions in Japan that triggered the current slump of international participation in Super Formula. The championship went from having almost a third of the grid comprising overseas racers to just two full-timers in 2021-22.”

In Motorsport Magazine, Matt Bishop argues that something is wrong when we allow a 9-year-old to be killed in the name of sport.

We all accept the concept of age of consent. We all understand that young people develop the emotional maturity required to take part responsibly in certain acts well after they first become physically able to perform them. In the UK you must be 16 to have sex, to enter full-time work, and to join the armed forces; you must be 17 to drive a car and to ride a motorcycle on public roads; you must be 18 to marry, to buy cigarettes and alcohol, and to vote in elections. All countries adopt similar systems, even if the details differ. It is interesting to note that there is not one uniform age at which a young person is deemed legally able to take on either responsibility or risk. Why is it OK for 16-year-olds to have sex but not to drive cars on public roads? Why is it OK for 17-year-olds to ride motorcycles on public roads but not to vote in elections? I do not know, but those are the laws of the land.

The Honda Junior Cup is open to riders aged 8-16

Matt Bishop: ‘Something is wrong when we allow a 9-year-old to be killed in the name of sport’

Mark Boudreau
Author: Mark Boudreau

Mark is the publisher of Motorsport Prospects. As a former lawyer, he applies his legal background and research skills to assist race drivers by showcasing the resources they need to make their motorsport careers happen.