Simona de Silvestro has responded to controversial comments made by Carmen Jorda suggesting that women should aim for to race in Formula E instead of Formula 1 because it is less physically challenging.
Former GP3 and Lotus Formula 1 development driver, Jorda, made the statement following a test drive in a Formula E car at Mexico City last weekend.
The member of the FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission told reporters, “it’s a less physical car than in Formula 1 because of the downforce and because of the power steering as well.”
“The challenge that we women have in Formula 2 and Formula 1 is a physical issue and I think in Formula E, we won’t have it.”
The comments have since come under fire from both male and female drivers in the sport.
Nissan Motorsport’s de Silvestro is among those to criticise the view claiming ‘it is not the right way to encourage young girls to follow their dreams.’
De Silvestro is regarded among the world’s top female drivers having scored a podium finish in IndyCar and raced competitively in Formula E and now Supercars.
“I raced @IndyCar @FIAFormulaE @supercars & driven a @F1 car, all were challenging but never felt physically disadvantaged,” read a tweet from De Silvestro, who also held a test driver role at Sauber Formula 1 team in 2014.
“It’s frustrating to hear the statement from a woman who has never raced these cars. This is not the way to encourage young girls to follow their dreams.”
Former Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button has also waded into the debate offering similar viewpoint to that of de Silvestro.
“Oh Carmen, you’re not helping proper female racing drivers with this comment,” the 2009 F1 world champion posted on Twitter.
“Ask Danica Patrick about being strong enough to drive a race car! She’d kick my butt in the gym & she’s probably as strong as any driver on the F1 Grid right now.
“Physical barrier is not your issue Carmen.”
Lella Lombardi was the last woman to appear in an F1 race at the 1976 Austrian Grand Prix.
Scotland’s Sussie Wolff was the last to feature at Grand Prix weekend by taking part in four practice session during 2014 and 2015 for Williams.
I raced @IndyCar @FIAFormulaE @supercars & driven a @F1 car,all were challenging but never felt physically https://t.co/LkTUjNNSOs‘s frustrating to hear the statement from a woman who has never raced these cars.This is not the way to encourage young girls to follow their dreams
— Simona De Silvestro (@simdesilvestro) March 6, 2018