Following successful events at Mexico City and the Berlin E-Prix early in 2019, Formula E partnered with FIA Girls on Track initiative once again for the 2019/20 Formula E season, with events at the season-opening Diryah E-Prix and Round 3 in Santiago, Chile.
Launched in February 2019 at the Mexico City E-Prix, the FIA Girls On Track initiative aims to impact the FIA’s goal of gender equality and increased participation in motorsport. It offers a unique opportunity to inspire and encourage girls between the ages of 8-18 to get involved in a number of innovative activities aimed at boosting confidence and creating exciting new career opportunities.
Girls were able to get involved in technical workshops to develop their Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills while being encouraged to be creative and work as a team.
Those taking part also learned directly from motorsport journalists as to how reporting from a race meeting and preparing a news story, as well as presenting a piece to camera.
Finally, girls could get stuck into a driving activity with a competitive element. After being guided by an instructor on a simulator about where to brake, how to steer through curves and when to accelerate, they were able to get out on-track for a practice lap and two timed laps – an opportunity to kick-start a karting career.
FIA Girls on Track was borne out of Susie Wolff’s Dare To Be Different programme, founded with the same aim of encouraging women into the sport.
For International Women in Engineering Day, ROKiT Venturi Racing, the Formula E team at which Wolff holds the role of team principal, featured one of its leading engineers who operates as team manager for the Monegasque outfit – Advanced Mechanics graduate Delphine Biscaye.
“I grew up in an environment where you had to prove yourself and prove what you can do,” said Biscaye, who has been with Venturi since 2009. “My family was always behind me and my brothers, but we grew up with the idea that you make yourself. I had this idea that if you want to do something or make something, then you should just go and do it and not always ask for permission or wait for advice or help – just go and do your best. That’s what pushed me. If I had to offer a piece of advice to someone who wants to work in motorsport – or for life in general – I would say don’t stop. Don’t listen to the people who say that you can’t do it. Just try and you will see what you can do.”
In 2019, Formula Female, with the support of Sport Ireland and CJJ Motorsports, launched a similar initiative here in Ireland. Go Girls Karting brings schoolgirls from all over the country to their local kart centre for the day. The STEM workship includes building a basic data logger, using maths to find the fastest line round a track, a pit stop challenge and of course some on track driving! To find out more or to register your school for a future day with the Formula Female team, click HERE
The woman behind Formula Female, Irish Hockey star Nicci Daly, also a qualified engineer, is of the same mindset as Biscaye: “The whole push for women in sport in general is great because it means that girls are being exposed to all sports and motorsports is just one of many. I think that there has never been a better time for young girls to get involved in motorsport and hopefully we will see that over the next couple of years.””