Claire Williams and Monisha Kaltenborn are hopeful for the future of women in Formula One
By: S.Harding, Xiro Xone News November 25, 2016 Updated: 10:21 PM
While answering questions during the FIA press conference with Formula One Team Principles on Friday, Williams team principle Claire Williams, and Sauber team principle, Monisha Kaltenborn, where asked what their hopes were for the future of women in motorsport. Kaltenborn and Williams have both become pioneers for women in the pinnacle of motor sport.
“I think what you see across probably a wide variety of industries in recent years and particularly what you see in the UK with Theresa May coming in as our first female prime minister for - what is it? - three decades I think, that the landscape is shifting slowly but surely.
I think there is a lot of work to do but personally – I don’t know what Monisha does - but I go out and do a lot of talks about women in industry and promoting females in not just leadership roles but throughout different sorts of organizations and I think that’s really important and I think one of the things about Formula One that you don’t necessarily...
yes, you see Monisha and I in the roles that we’re in but there are so many women now who are working across different areas within Formula One, across different disciplines within teams, whether that be in aerodynamics, within engineering, not just the traditional marketing roles and I think that’s a really important shift that we’re seeing in our sport and I think that that can be used as case studies and great story telling, to go out into different businesses because I think if you can be a woman and do well in Formula One.
She continued to say: I think that’s a very powerful message but personally for me, it’s not necessarily about gender and it shouldn’t be about gender I think. But every individual brings different personalities to the roles that they do and particularly in a sport like this, where you have to operate at your peak performance if you’re going to be successful and achieve and that’s what every team is going after, it’s the people who are at the best at their jobs.
If they’re going to win in this sport then it shouldn’t necessarily be about gender, it should be about how good you are at your job and how committed and dedicated and what you can do, the team around you.
But I would like to see more women come in to Formula One and I would like to see more women come into industry as a whole. I think it’s a really important conversation that we’re having in society as a whole at the moment,” said Williams.
In a year where women have become the center of business and politics, with Teresa May becoming the second woman to be appointed Prime Minister of Great Britain, and Hillary Clinton becoming the first female American presidential nominee, some believe the glass ceiling is shattering rapidly.
“You see that there are far more women in Formula One. It’s been happening over the last few years, actually, where you simply see more on the track. I think the most important responsibility we have here is to actually encourage people to give women the opportunity, because that’s what it’s about. You have enough women out there who have the education, who have the competence and the confidence to actually get the job done at least equally as good and usually they have to be a little bit better to maybe get the same kind of recognition, so what you really need is to give women a fair chance and opportunity,” said Kaltenborn.
Claire Williams stated in 2002, she joined the Williams F1 team as a communications officer and worked her way up to head of communications for the team by 2010. In 2011, she was promoted to director of marketing and communications for Williams. When her father, Sir Frank Williams stepped down from the Williams board in March 2012 Claire became team principle.
Monisha Kaltenborn studied at the University of Vienna, and then completed a master's degree in International Business Law at the London School of Economics. She was appointed CEO of Sauber Motorsport AG. Kaltenborn was also involved in the FIA's Commission for Women and Motorsport, under Michèle Mouton. Peter Sauber transferred a third of the Sauber team to Kaltenborn, making her a part owner. When Sauber retired, he had such confidence in Kaltenborn, that he handed her the role of team principal.
Both women are very much in tuned to the struggles and accomplishments of women in autosports, but both agree, what qualifies a person is not gender it is hard work and knowledge, something both team principles have done well.