Bernie Ecclestone insists the prospect of an all-female world championship is “only a thought” after having his idea slammed by Susie Wolff.
Ecclestone, Formula One’s chief executive, has made the proposal to the 10 current teams on the gird as he looks for an alternative way of maximising female representation in the sport.
However, Wolff—Williams’ test driver and arguably the most recognised female in F1—is firmly against the idea.
“There are different ways if you want to be proactively helping women, but actually organising a women’s race is most definitely not the right way forward,” Wolff said on Sunday, per the Mirror’s Byron Young.
Ecclestone remains convinced the idea has substance, but the 84-year-old has stressed that the notion is only in its infancy.
“It is only a thought at the moment but I think it would be super for F1 and the whole grand prix weekend,” said Ecclestone, per Sky Sports.
“We have to start somewhere so I suggested to the teams that we have a separate championship and maybe that way, we will be able to bring someone through to F1.”
Quite how a female event would fit into the already hectic schedule of a race weekend is a debate picking up momentum.
The Guardian suggests qualifying for Sunday’s race could be switched to Friday instead of the traditional Saturday, arguing the two practice sessions—normally reserved for the first day of the weekend events—fail to captivate the fans.
However, Ecclestone himself has hinted that a female race could simply precede the main event on Sunday.
Italian Lella Lombardi is the most successful female in Formula One history as the only woman to have collected points in the sport.
She claimed half a point for a sixth-place finish in the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix, which was abandoned mid-race following an accident that killed five spectators.
Another Italian, Maria Teresa de Filippis, started three races in the late 1950s but failed to register any points.
Divina Galica, Giovanna Amati and Desiré Wilson have each participated in qualifying sessions in decades gone by, while Wolff took part in two practice sessions last year.
Former GP3 driver Carmen Jorda could be the next female to participate in a race weekend, having signed for Lotus as development driver for the 2015 season.