Christian Horner has explained how Red Bull hope to play a role in supporting young female drivers through the ranks to Formula 1.
W Series – the all-female single-seater category – is now into its third season and continues to expand, with the 2022 campaign featuring more races than ever before. The series is also now being broadcast on Sky Sports as part of a multi-year deal.
Horner is pleased to see the growth of the category, as well as what he deems to be an increase in interest in F1 amongst younger girls.
“I think W Series is a great initiative,” Horner told media, including RacingNews365.com.
“It’s still very young, it’s evolving, it’s growing, and hopefully it’s going to attract more and more girls into racing.
“What really needs to happen is more girls coming into the grassroots of racing, and I think – as we see things like the Netflix effect, that it’s had on the sport – we’re seeing the demographics of the followers of Formula 1 changing.
“A lot more young females [are] becoming aware and interested in Formula 1, which will hopefully encourage them to get involved.”
Horner: There shouldn’t be barriers if the talent is strong enough
Horner believes that the level of talent will always win out in F1, regardless of a competitor’s gender.
“Obviously, karting is the entry point to motorsports,” he explained.
“And I think that, of course, there’s always going to be that debate, should the girls race with the boys? Should it be like other sports where you have two separate competitions?
“I think there shouldn’t [be barriers], and there [aren’t] barriers [in] that, if the talent is strong enough, it will permeate its way into Formula 1, because we’re all very selfish individuals.
“We want the best drivers, irrelevant of background, gender, etc., and I think that, if the W Series can help to develop young talent that finds its way across into Formula 3 or Formula 2, and ultimately Formula 1, then that’s certainly a positive thing.”
Red Bull hope to support a female driver
In terms of what Red Bull might do to support female drivers in working their way through the ranks, Horner says that the team hope to back another talent in the future.
“As far as Red Bull’s involvement [goes], we’ve sponsored girls and backed girls in the past, and will do again in the future,” the team boss stated.
“It’s just a matter of identifying, through our scouting systems, the talent that we want to support.”
Some of W Series’ stars have already landed roles within F1 teams; two-time champion Jamie Chadwick is in the Williams Driver Academy, while Jessica Hawkins acts as an ambassador for the Aston Martin squad.