Williams tester Susie Wolff said a grand prix category just for women is “definitely not the right way forward”, while another female driver Alice Powell was less scathing but said she would prefer to compete against men.
And Michela Cerruti, who has raced in the new Formule E series, said the women’s F1 series would be essentially “to attract attention” and “much less interesting than seeing women racing against men”.
New Lotus development driver Carmen Jorda has a different view entirely.
“Nowadays you see women competing in their own championships in most sports: football, tennis, skiing, you name it,” she told F1’s official website. “In none of these championships are men and women competing against each other. So the question is: why not have a F1 world championship for women?”
Jorda also told AP that women will never beat men in F1 “because of the physical issue”.
“I don’t want to fight for 10th or 15th. What I want to do is to win,” she added. The question now is whether Ecclestone’s proposal will go any further than mere debate.
The president of the FIA’s ‘women in motor sport’ commission is Michele Mouton, a French driver who finished the world rally championship second in 1982.