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Women in Sport Chief Executive, Ruth Holdaway, responds to Bernie Ecclestone’s sexist comments made at an Advertising Week Europe conference.

Bernie Ecclestone never ceases to amaze me! To suggest that women are not capable of making the grade in Formula 1 is ludicrous. Aside from anything else, recently retired driver Suzi Wolff has proven this wrong already. She more than held her own on the grid and were it not for attitudes like those expressed by Ecclestone, I have no doubt she could have lined up to race rather than test.

The more important issue here, however, is not Ecclestone’s prejudice attitude, but the message it sends to aspiring female drivers and to sponsors.

At Women in Sport, we hope that comments like this will simply inspire girls to prove Ecclestone wrong rather than put them off, and that sponsors will back this mission with the finance needed.

Support for female drivers would show a sponsor’s commitment to equality, their desire to break boundaries and to be ground-breaking.  Newton Investment Management has shown what can be achieved with the women’s boat race and we hope others will now follow in their footsteps in F1.

Thanks for the motivation Bernie, not that we needed it!