Now, Smedley, who is now F1's director of data systems, has gone even further than that, suggesting that a female F1 world champion may not be too far away.
“I believe there is no reason why we cannot have a female Formula 1 champion,” Smedley told Top Gear.
“We really want to see more women in motorsport. All kinds of initiatives are now emerging that we all support. But there isn't going to be one thing that will solve this problem. What we would like to do is create a less traditional atmosphere.
“You're not going to solve that by having a middle-aged man preach about it. It only works if you have young female drivers who end up in this series and tell their stories.
“We are trying to do something new here, at the same time, we are of course still looking for drivers with the talent to eventually enter Formula 1. We'll see eventually if it works or not.
"And if not, so be it. But at least we have given female drivers the right opportunities to develop.”
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