Birds eye view of a track starting line up
Female-filled crowd celebrating
Female-filled crowd celebrating

Global participation of women and girls

Analysing the numbers relating to female participation and performance in global motorsport has proved a significant challenge.

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Unlike most other major sports, data on participation by gender is not centrally collected. This is surprising given the history, size and global prominence of motorsport.

We looked globally at where there are hot spots and opportunities. We found that:

Europe accounts for


of all new participants in the last 20 years.

United States accounts for


of all new participants in the last 20 years.

Map with Central and South America highlighted

Lower, but notable regions of uptake for new female participants are South and Central America.

Map with New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Sweden and Finland highlighted

Hotspots of participation per capita are Sweden, New Zealand, Finland, Australia and Denmark – mirroring male data.

The reality of female participation

The results highlight two key themes which we will explore further below.


The gender participation gap

Participation of women and girls in motorsport at all levels is depressingly low.

It currently represents on average 7-13% across all categories of competition, with the highest in karting – a format that contributes 40% of all females in motorsport.

Celebrating W Series driver

Females are almost


as likely to retire within the first five years.

F1 car on the track

Female participation ranges on average between just




across all categories of competition.

Three karting racers on track

Of all motorsport categories, karting has the highest female participation rate, almost


the levels seen in other series.

We need to better understand why there is such a significant drop off after just a few years and find ways to keep women and girls participating for longer. Recruitment efforts are important, but retention is even more so.

The gender performance gap

Even as those participants continue to compete, they are not progressing at the same rate into the top talent rankings, where female drivers represent a tiny percentage – currently just 4%.

Based on the current numbers, without significant intervention, the chances of a woman ever reaching the top is incredibly small.

View of an F1 track with cars in the distance

Females are unlikely to appear in the top


of any rankings.

Young girl getting her picture taken with a female driver

Female drivers are more likely to finish within the middle


of races but are twice as likely to appear in the bottom

The current chances of female drivers reaching the top

As things stand, the chance of getting a woman onto the F1 podium, without significant intervention and support, is incredibly small.

F1 cars racing on a track with a large crowd watching on

To have a 50/50 gender split in F1, female participation would need to make up


of the entire motorsport participation base.

Next section

An F1 car stopped on an empty track
An F1 car stopped on an empty track


Each driver currently competing in F1 has had very different experiences on their path to the top, but the most important similarity is that they had lots of opportunity to compete.

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