There’s a woman driving in F1 today. So what?

There’s a woman driving in F1 today. So what?

As the first woman in 22 years took part in Formula 1 this morning we ask if female participation in traditionally male-dominated sports is becoming less of a story.

William’s development driver Susie Wolff competed in today’s first practice session for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Unfortunately the car she was driving suffered engine problems and she was forced to withdraw after four laps, but reaction on Twitter was overwhelmingly positive and she will drive again next month at Hockenheim.

The 31-year-old Scot certainly prefers to focus on her personal performance rather than the significance of her gender.

Susie Wolff at Silverstone today

Wolff said: “Although it’s been a long time since a female has been part of a race weekend, I don’t see it as significant from that perspective.”

“For me it will simply be a case of doing a good job for the team and showing what I can do out there.”

In tennis, Andy Murray’s new coach Amelie Mauresmo also wants to be judged simply for the job she does with the Scot. When interviewed for the BBC prior to Wimbledon she emphasised that her primary focus was to further the career of Andy Murray rather than women coaches as a whole.

There’s a woman driving in F1 today. So what?

Amelie Mauresmo

"I guess it will maybe start to change things around in terms of this particular subject," she said.

"But, to be honest, it is not my main concern today. I am here to help Andy the best I can."

In May, Helena Costa was appointed the first female manager of a French professional football club. Unfortunately she left before her side Clermont Foot 63 played a single game stating that she believed she was hired as a publicity stunt and would have no real authority.

The French second division club dispute that and have hired another woman as her replacement. Corinne Diacre, who is a former captain of the French football team and has been working as a manager in women’s football for the last seven years.

In football, she may be entrenched in one of the most male-dominated sports on the planet, but as Karren Brady showed at Birmingham and now West Ham women can succeed in this field.

There’s a woman driving in F1 today. So what?

Karren Brady in a promotional shoot for The Apprentice

Brady was just 23 when she started work as managing director of Birmingham City in 1993 and has since gone on to become vice-chairman of West Ham as well as spearheading the club’s successful bid to move to the Olympic stadium in Stratford, East London.

Brady has been a tireless campaigner for women’s involvement in both business and sport, she was also awarded a British CBE last year for services to entrepreneurship and women in business.

Brady discussing her experiences of football on Jonathan Ross

As Wolff and Diacre break down traditional barriers the world of sport is a lot more open to female involvement than when Brady entered the fray 20 years ago.

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