Do You REALLY Want Women Race Drivers?
Well do you?
And if so, why?
Are you really just looking for some glamour on the track? Some cheesecake?
Isn't it the case that you don't really want women race drivers at all, you want bimbos?
In this short slide show, I shall make my case that the fans and the motor racing industry itself are incapable of accepting a woman driver solely on her abilities, and I shall conclude by arguing that race driving is in any case an unsuitable job for a woman.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin.
If Robert Was Roberta
Robert Kubica is a moderately successful F1 driver who current drives for the Renault team.
"But he's not a woman driver," I hear you complain, but that's my point.
Robert only had to be good at driving, have parents able to support him through the junior levels of racing, and get a few lucky breaks. Sure he had to avoid mirrors, but his features have never really mattered because we're not going to see him in a posing pouch.
Please God we're not going to see him in a posing pouch.
But if Robert had been of the female persuasion, perhaps named Roberta, and had similarly been severely beaten with the ugly stick, would she have got anywhere near an F1 car? Only if working in the factory.
We move on.
With this slide, I give you the classic woman racing driver, the fairly fast bimbo.
Giovanna Amati was probably not an exceptional racing driver. But she was a comely wench, and her boyfriend Flavio Briatore was boss of the Benetton F1 team. He secured for her a Benetton test, and in 1992 a place in the Brabham F1 team.
Any reasonable study of her racing career prior to 1992 would conclude that she was not qualified for the Brabham job, and in fact she never drove in an F1 race because she was not quick enough to qualify.
Giovanna moved on to lesser glory, while Flavio moved on to Heidi Klum, Naomi Campbell, and a string of other beauties. More recently he has been banned from motor racing by the FIA for organising a crash on a race circuit. I often wish I had lived his life, then I'd have billions and some saucy memories.
Is there a problem with motor racing going for good lookers? There is if you're a very talented driving lady with a face like a slapped butt.
The Obligatory Danica Photo
Danica Patrick is undoubtedly the most famous woman driver on the world's race tracks. I could suggest to you that her fame does not result entirely from her driving ability, but you already know that. She certainly knows it.
It would be churlish and very rude of me to say that Danica is not a born pin-up, to imply that artful photography and post-production work has indeed made a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
A shrewd cookie, Danica has no doubt done what she had to do.
A relentless campaign of self-promotion has made her a media star, and she is living proof of what I postulated in my opening slide, that fans and the motor racing industry itself are incapable of accepting a woman driver solely on her abilities.
Without the air-brushed photos, without the posing and pouting, and going solely on her racing record, it is inconceivable that Ms Patrick would be a big name today. To deny that is to reject reality.
Some Ritual Titillation
Diana Pereira is allegedly some kind of race driver.
Aw, come on, you don't care what sort of racing she does, any more than I do. But you wanted a slide show about women race drivers to have some hot cuties, and I'm only a weak man so happy to oblige.
When a woman gets a race seat in a series because, in whole or in part, her looks make her an asset, how fair is that to more talented drivers?
Laleh Seddigh is a race driver in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
She's allowed to compete because motor racing involves no physical contact between members of the opposite sex. Their vehicles may touch, but not their flesh. Even so, every time she arrives at a track she has to show a letter of permission from the ayatollahs.
You will not be surprised to learn that Laleh is the only Iranian race driver I know about.
Laleh is not just a woman race driver, she's a beautiful woman race driver. That's why there was a BBC TV documentary film about her, that's why she gets the media attention. Even though there is zero chance of her doing a raunchy photo-shoot, she fits the bill, she's what we demand an race driving woman to be.
Easy on the eye.
Perhaps I am over-labouring the point. In the next slide I give my closing argument.
An Unsuitable Job for a Woman
Motor racing is dangerous.
Despite massive improvements in safety, accidents continue to happen, and will do so as long as the sport exists.
A. English driver Amanda Whitaker in mid-accident during a Formula Ford event at Mallory Park in August 2009. Happily, she crawled out of the wreckage and walked away unhurt - she was lucky.
B. Brazilian driver Felipe Massa was struck by an object that fell off a car in front of him while qualifying for the 2009 Hungarian F1 Grand Prix. His serious injuries kept him out of the sport for the rest of the season.
C. German F1 driver Timo Glock crashed at the Suzuka circuit in October 2009. Injuries including a cracked vertebra finished his racing season.
D. A wheel that had come adrift from another car struck English F2 driver Henry Surtees on the head and killed him during a race at Brands Hatch in July 2009. He was just 18 years old.
These were only a few of the accidents to occur in motor racing last year, there will be many more this year.
Do I want to see track marshals erect a screen around the shattered body of a woman driver? Or to see a woman crying in pain from her broken legs or her burned face?
To put it another way, do I really want to see women race drivers?
Well, no, I don't.
I am old-fashioned enough and politically-incorrect enough to believe that women should have a special place in the world, and that motor racing with its high risk of horrific injury or death is no place for a woman.
I'll leave you with that thought.