The Manila Times

Fast Times

A NEW initiative was launched recently to bring together some of motorsports’ best scouts, physical trainers, psychologists, nutritionists, racing coaches and drivers — all focused on finding and developing the first female Formula One World Drivers’ Champion. A total of 771 drivers from 41 different nationalities have raced in at least one of the over 1,050 FIA World Championship races since the first event, the 1950 British Grand Prix. Only five women have entered a Grand Prix, with just two qualifying and starting a race. For a sport that has always been open to women, that’s 99.8 percent male dominance. Thirteen-time Grand Prix winner David Coulthard and entrepreneur Karel Komarek founded More than Equal, with the ambition to understand and minimize barriers specific to women racing in Formula One, as well as providing better scouting and earlier, ongoing support. The team hears a variety of reasons suggested as to why women have not achieved more in Formula One: strength, endurance, and racing aggression, but none have been tested and proven to be an insurmountable barrier. A key partner in the More than Equal program is Hintsa Performance, a global leader in human high-performance coaching. Formula One drivers supported by the company have won 16 world championships between them. Hintsa CEO Annastiina Hintsa shares her view: “We see our role as talent identification and development of the mental and physical strength necessary to win a drivers’ championship. VO2 max, neck and core strength, leg power, heat tolerance… we see and measure many key contributory factors that make a world champion and there is not one that cannot be reached by a woman.” More than Equal Advisory Board member and Formula One veteran Kate Beavan is well placed to comment. “I joined the Formula One business in 2003 and have watched women strive and fail for myriad reasons. I know women can make it and win, we just have to look harder and support earlier.” Coulthard describes his motivation to found More than Equal: “I always believed my sister Lynsay Jackson had more natural racing talent than me but I was given the support towards a Formula One journey and she was not. To succeed, talent needs early nurturing and I’d like every ‘Lynsay’ out there to have the same opportunities as men in the fight to reach Formula One and win.” Co-founder Komarek added: “I know from my experience in business that there is always much more that needs to be done when it comes to gender equality. More than Equal brings a bold but achievable ambition that David and I hope will open more eyes to female potential everywhere — in sports, business and society.” Formula One presenter and motorsport diversity and inclusion champion Ariana Bravo hosted today’s launch at Silverstone. “For women, there’s a duality to the word ‘drive.’ The drive to drown out the noise of ‘why not’ by building strength and race craft that creates wins from a very young age. I’m a huge advocate for women in motorsport and it’s exciting to see a new initiative that I think will help to clear the way for the development of female racing talent in reaching its full Formula One potential.” Scouting globally for female talent, More than Equal will collaborate with a global network of scouting agents to search on and off the track for highpotential female karting and racing talent. The best will join the program. Building physical strength, a winning mindset and mental resilience. Hintsa Performance coaches will initially bring empirical measurement to the identification of talent across a wide age range. It sees wellbeing as central to future performance with drivers given an early focus on mental strength and confidence. The team will also spearhead a tailored program of physical training and nutrition for More than Equal’s young and developing female drivers, mirroring services provided to athletes and current Formula One drivers. Enhancing speed through coached race craft. Coulthard will join forces with top race coaches to create racing strategies that play to female strengths. Added to this will be time on track, the vital ingredient for racing talent to develop and to be seen to prove success. More than Equal will partner with teams and a fast-developing ecosystem of female driving opportunities to deliver maximum time on track.