Birds eye view of a track starting line up
Young fan focused within crowd
Young fan focused within crowd

Culture and change

While practical barriers play an important role in preventing women and girls from progressing in motorsport, cultural barriers are increasingly recognised as blockers.

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The research confirms that in the heavily male dominated world of motorsport, there are systemic and cultural barriers holding women back from full involvement and in turn, from reaching an elite level.

In our one-to-one interviews, females in motorsport cited examples of how they felt unwelcome or were given access to inappropriate facilities while competing. Some were clear that although there have been improvements, many still experience sexist and misogynistic comments.

“Looking back, especially when I was younger, the environment wasn’t one that as a girl I was particularly comfortable to be in.
I regret doing this, where you laugh along at sexist jokes or you laugh along at things that make you feel uncomfortable, but you do because you don’t want to feel like you’re the odd one out. You feel awkward about being the only girl in that sense, so you try to become one of the boys, which really is backwards.”

A leading female driver

The survey results show that female participants and supporters have significantly stronger opinions on these issues than their male counterparts.

These are valuable insights for those running the sport if they want to sustain and grow female audiences.

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) – performance vs expectation

Competitors have a more negative perception of motorsport’s efforts than non-competitors, despite this group being heavily male.

How well does motorsport rank against other sports in terms of driving change? (English language respondents)

American Football
Ice Hockey
Table Tennis
Field Hockey
Mixed Martial Arts / FCU
Athletics/Track & Field

We asked respondents to rank the key stakeholders in motorsport on a scale of one to five, in terms of delivering against their expectation on EDI, where one is ‘well below’ expectations and five ‘far exceeds’ expectations.

Performance vs expectation by gender

  • Female
  • Male
Formula 4
F1 Drivers
Formula 3
Formula 2
Motorsport Media
Formula E
F1 Teams
F1 Group
Race Promoters
Leaders, influencers and the media reinforcing stereotypes

As the research makes clear, fans of the sport no longer buy into historic misconceptions and stereotyping about women and girls in motorsport.

Women in motorsport Initiatives

While fans show a high degree of dissatisfaction with the progress made by motorsport stakeholders in driving change for women and girls, there is knowledge, especially among female fans, of existing initiatives developed to fast-track it.

Awareness of initiatives

  • Female
  • Male
W Series
F1 Academy
FIA Women in Msport Commission
FIA Girls on Track
More than Equal
FIA Rising Stars
Dare to Be Different
Iron Dames
Alpine Rac(H)er
Who should drive change?

Almost 70% of respondents believe that the FIA have the most influence in driving gender equality.

This presents a huge opportunity for the FIA to accelerate work in this area; however, fans understand and recognise that a multi-agency approach is required to effect and deliver sustainable change.

Which entity is best placed to influence increasing participation by female competitors in motorsport?

F1 Teams
F 2, 3 & 4
F1 Group
Motorsport Media
F1 Drivers
Promoters & Circuits

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Racing driver stood looking down
Racing driver stood looking down

The role and impact of sponsorship

The important role played by sponsorship and investment in helping talented female drivers progress up the motorsport ladder was evident when speaking to those who are currently attempting to do so.

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