Desire Wilson, the last woman to compete in a grand prix, was impressed with the level of racing on show in the first ever W Series race at Hockenheim on Saturday, and believes that the competition could ultimately see a female return to Formula 1 after decades of male-only races.
The W Series was created in order to encourage further participation by women in motorsport, although has received criticism for the alleged segregation of females rather than providing opportunities in F3 and up.
Wilson, who raced for Tyrell in a non-championship meeting at Kyalami in 1981, thinks the quality of racing shows it can be beneficial for the women to showcase their talents.
“I was very impressed,” said the South African.
“There was some really good racing, overtaking, a few aggressive moves, which is good, showing they are on form to race competitively. I was impressed with the competition on track.
“It is overdue for sure, but this has been put together in a clever way,” she added, with regards the possibility of females returning to F1.
“Formula One is a long way away but it is feasible if the series produces a star. They still have to go to F3 and F2 but it is a way for them to make the next step.”
Drivers don’t need to have significant financial backing in order to gain a seat in the series, and are selected on merit. Even though the competition is in its infancy, Wilson believes the intensity of the racing on show at Hockenheim shows that the women are taking it very seriously.
“There is a lot of passion,” she continued.
“It’s not just: ‘Let’s go racing, a free season.’ There is definitely a lot of drivers who see this as an opportunity to do well. I saw a lot of disappointed drivers because they did not do as well as they would have liked, which shows their passion.”
The last woman to feature in F1 was Lella Lombardi in 1976, while Britain's Jamie Chadwick was victorious in the first W Series race this weekend.
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