Opinion: 4 female drivers who could pave the way for new Formula 1 era

Danica Patrick

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali recently admitted that he has high hopes of welcoming women back to the sport within the next ten years. In what is a heavily male dominated industry, female drivers have been muscled out of the top division of single-seater racing as the years have gone by.

It's been more than 40 years since a woman was in Formula 1 action and the time has come to break the mould and see some of the world's biggest talents racing alongside the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

GiveMeSport Women takes a look at five drivers who could be leading candidates in the return of the female drivers.

Danica Patrick, USA

Danica Patrick

Arguably the world's biggest name when it comes to female racing drivers. Danica Patrick has dominated the stage and is the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing.

The Wisconsin-born racer is the only woman to have ever registered a win at the IndyCar Series. The historic victory came back in 2008 – Patrick started in sixth on the grid and went on to snub pole position Helio Castroneves for the win in Japan. As the only woman competing in the race, her success paved the way for a new era in motorsports.

A lot more women are involved in racing today, but Patrick is viewed as one of the originals to put it on the map. 

The 39-year-old switched from open-wheel to stock car racing in 2010, partaking in a total of 252 NASCAR races. Patrick was also lined up to test for Formula 1 team Honda back in 2008, but plans fell through when Honda withdrew from the competition. 

Speculation has since continued to swirl, but Patrick has admitted that she feels she is too old to switch racing series again. However, former chief executive of F1, Bernie Ecclestone said having Patrick on the grid would be "a perfect advert" for the sport.

Could the new passion for women to race in Formula 1 change her mind in the near future?

Jamie Chadwick, Great Britain

Jamie Chadwick

Great Britain's biggest female racing talent Jamie Chadwick is definitely in contention to join the Formula 1 heavyweights on the grid. The 22-year-old has made a name for herself in the all-women racing division, the W Series – claiming the title in its inaugural season in 2019.

Chadwick has only been racing in single-seaters for four years, but has already made huge waves in the motoring world. Representing Douglas Motorsport in 2018, the Bath-born trailblazer made history by becoming the first woman to win a Formula 3 race, winning at Brands Hatch to secure the historic victory.

Now representing Williams, Chadwick continues to propel herself into the spotlight as movements behind the scenes of F1 continue. She will no doubt be looking to continue the rise of British racers, as Lewis Hamilton carries the torch for his nation ahead of what could be his seventh Championship title.

Simona de Silvestro, Switzerland

Simona De Silvestro

Simona de Silvestro, or the 'Swiss Miss' as she is known on the grid, is another huge name in women's motorsport. She has enjoyed an IndyCar career, which is just one part of her 15-year presence in the sport 

De Silvestro made her IndyCar debut in 2010 in the Indianapolis 500. She went on to win Rookie of the Year honours for her efforts as she finished the race in 14th position.

Despite suffering burns in a fiery crash, the Switzerland native didn't hold back. She returned to the track where she is still racing today and she could be on her way to a Formula 1 career. In 2014, talks were held to bring de Silvestro to F1 as an affiliated driver, where she would train with the ultimate objective to race the following year.

Contractual troubles ended her stint in the competition, but her experience could make her one of the first names on the radar as F1 officials look to expand the roster.

Sophia Flörsch, Germany

Another young talent who could take to the Formula 1 grid is Germany's Sophia Flörsch. The 20-year-old first got into karting back in 2005 and her love for racing has grown alongside her.

Flörsch started her career in the Ginetta Junior Championship, where she tallied two wins and four podium places from ten races. She has gone on to feature in Formula 4 and FIA Formula 3, becoming the first woman in history to appear in the latter. 

The plucky young driver is a very passionate individual who feels strongly about helping the sport grow. She recently hit out at the media hype over Mick and David Schumacher, alleging that they were being favoured because of their fathers' successes.

Flörsch is a friend of Lando Norris, who she supports whenever he makes a Formula 1 appearance. With her insight into the tournament and her passion for racing equality, Flörsch could be an ideal candidate for F1's expansion into recruiting female drivers.

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