List of female Formula One drivers
Five women racing drivers have entered at least one Grand Prix, although only two of them ever qualified and started a race. The woman who competed in the most Grands Prix is Lella Lombardi, with 17 entries and 12 starts.
Desiré Wilson became the only woman to win a Formula One race of any kind when she won at Brands Hatch in the British Aurora F1 series on 7 April 1980. As a result of this achievement, she has a grandstand at Brands Hatch named after her.
The involvement of women in Formula One was pioneered by Italian Maria Teresa de Filippis who entered five races in the 1958 and 1959 seasons and started three scoring a best result of tenth position in the 1958 Belgian Grand Prix. In the following race in France, the race director denied his involvement, saying that “the only helmet that a woman should use is the hairdresser.” Maria ended her career at the Monaco Grand Prix the following year.
After fifteen years without any women in the category, another Italian, Lella Lombardi, competed in three seasons, from 1974 to 1976. She entered seventeen races and started twelve having her best result in the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix where Lombardi finished in sixth. With the race being stopped before three quarters of the scheduled race distance was completed, only half points were awarded. Lella became the first and so far only woman to score points in the World Championship.
In 1976 the Briton Divina Galica tried to qualify for the British Grand Prix. This was the only Formula One Grand Prix in which multiple female racers (Lombardi and Galica) were entered, but both failed.
In 1980, the South African Desiré Wilson tried to qualify for the British Grand Prix, not succeeding. In the same year she became the only woman to win a Formula One race of any kind when she won at Brands Hatch in the British Aurora F1 series on 7 April 1980. As a result of this achievement, Wilson has a grandstand at Brands Hatch named after her.
The last woman to try to compete in a Formula One Grand Prix was Italian Giovanna Amati in 1992. She tried to qualify for three races, but failed in all attempts. She was replaced by Damon Hill, who also failed to classify the car in the following races.
Drivers listed in this table are those who have entered a Grand Prix. Actual starts are stated in brackets.
|1||Maria Teresa de Filippis||1958–1959||Maserati, Behra-Porsche||5 (3)||0|
|2||Lella Lombardi||1974–1976||March, RAM, Williams||17 (12)||0.5|
|3||Divina Galica||1976, 1978||Surtees, Hesketh||3 (0)||–|
|4||Desiré Wilson||1980||Williams||1 (0)||–|
|5||Giovanna Amati||1992||Brabham||3 (0)||–|
Some female drivers have participated in non-competition testing and evaluation sessions with Formula One teams. IndyCar driver Sarah Fisher performed a demonstration run with McLaren after first practice for the 2002 United States Grand Prix. Katherine Legge tested with Minardi at the Vallelunga Circuit in 2005.
Other female drivers have been contracted to Formula One teams in testing and development capacities. In 2012, Williams signed Susie Wolff as a development and test driver, and María de Villota was a test driver for Marussia until her crash in 2012 and death the following year. In 2014, Sauber signed IndyCar Series driver Simona de Silvestro as an "affiliated driver", with the goal of having her compete in 2015. In 2015 Lotus F1 signed Carmen Jordá to a deal including a run in a car.
In 2014, Susie Wolff was the first woman to take part in a Formula One race weekend in 22 years, at the British Grand Prix, at Silverstone. She became the first woman to participate in a Formula One weekend since 1992, when Giovanna Amati made three unsuccessful Grand Prix qualification attempts. However her time on the track was cut short after an engine problem occurred after completing just one timed lap. On 18 July 2014, Wolff drove in a free practice session at the German Grand Prix. This session also started with car problems, but these were solved and Wolff managed to put in a good performance, finishing the session in 15th place out of 22 cars with a time of 01:20.769 just a few hundredths of a second behind experienced team mate Felipe Massa's 11th place time of 01:20.542. In 2015 Wolff who drove during pre-season F1 testing, clocked a 1:29.708 (14th place) in Friday's first free session of the Spanish Grand Prix, six places and 0.877s adrift of regular driver Felipe Massa (8th place with 01:28.831). She then managed to post a 1:37.242 in the free practice session at the British Grand Prix for a respectable 13th place out of 20 cars.
On 4 November 2015, Wolff announced on the BBC that she was retiring from Formula One racing, citing that she had always said that she would go when she felt that she could go no further; she felt that she had gone as far as she could go, but expressed intentions to help other women in motor racing. However, she stated that she would compete in the 2015 Race of Champions at the end of November for Scotland with former F1 driver David Coulthard and would subsequently retire from all forms of motorsport.
- First woman to compete in a Formula 1 race: Maria Teresa De Filippis (first race entered: 1958 Monaco Grand Prix, first race contested: 1958 Belgian Grand Prix)
- First woman to score points: Lella Lombardi (1975 Spanish Grand Prix)
- First race with more than one woman entered: 1976 British Grand Prix
- List of female Indianapolis 500 drivers
- List of female 24 Hours of Le Mans drivers
- List of female NASCAR drivers
- List of female racing drivers
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