Today it is International Women’s Day and Carmen Jorda has issued a statement five days after her controversial comment about women’s Formula 1 and Formula 2 fitness.
The 29-year-old apologises and clarifies: “I have only answered one specific question!” since the backlash having stated that women racers would look to Formula E rather than F1, the top categories being too physically demanding.
The Spanish ex Lotus and Renault Sport Formula One development driver has been seen as a bit of a joke since her surprise progression into Formula One back in 2015. Criticised by some within the sport; former rally driver and head of the FIA’s Women & Motor Sport Commission, Michèle Mouton, described her as a “marketing gimmick”, citing “Simona de Silvestro, Danica Patrick, Susie Wolff or even Beitske Visser” as better choices.
Former Lotus test driver Marco Sørensen claimed that she had been as much as twelve seconds off his pace in simulator runs. This claim was rejected by Jordá, who told Spanish newspaper AS that her simulator times had been “more or less within a second” of fellow Lotus driver Romain Grosjean. The truth of these claims will never be known but it’s certainly entertaining to read.
In December 2017, Jordá was appointed to the FIA’s Women in Motorsport commission. Her appointment was greeted with derision by many successful female racing drivers. Speaking to Autosport magazine, current Indianapolis 500 driver and race-winning Indy Lights driver Pippa Mann commented that “it is extremely disappointing to learn that a racer with no notable results in any of the categories in which she has competed, and who believes and is quoted as saying that she does not believe we as female racers can compete, has been appointed to the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission.”
The latest faux pas by the FIA representative during Formula E testing last Saturday revealed:
“It is not my job to decide what is good or not good for women in the sport. But in my experience, women in kart, Formula 3 or GT sports can get good results. But in Formula 2 and Formula 1, there is this physical barrier, ”
On Twitter, the debate raged. Martin Brundle added his two penneth stating:
In my experience Karun it’s karting and junior/feeder formulae which are physically toughest for the all important steering loads (for everyone) with sticky tyres, very high castor angles, and no power steering. https://t.co/0TkIa3wPNp
— Martin Brundle (@MBrundleF1) March 5, 2018
Reactions were so intense that the driver was now forced to publish another statement on her recent statement. “On Saturday, I spoke to several journalists after my Formula E test. During an interview, I was asked to compare Formula E with Formula One. I was also asked directly if the Formula E car was physically not as demanding as a GP racer, ”
“I also talked about the physical problems that women have in Formula 1, which has caused a lot of discussion in recent days – and many prominent female racers have also commented on it. I would like to thank my colleagues for expressing their opinions. I respect their views and I am sorry if my statements gave the impression that I would speak for all women. I talked about everything about my own experiences, ” says Jorda
“It has never been my intention to discourage other women from competing in the highest motorsport class, nor have I said they are physically unable to do so. My comments were solely an answer to the direct question: Is Formula 1 easier for women? As a member of the FIA Women’s Commission, I have committed myself to promoting women in motorsport – on and off the track – and to celebrate those who achieve great results, ”
“I congratulate Tatiana Calderon, who has just been promoted to Formula 1 test driver for Alfa Romeo Sauber. I hope she will be the first woman in 41 years to be on the GP grid. And I wish her all the best for the upcoming season. I wish all women in motorsport a beautiful Women’s Day”