Carmen Jorda has issued a statement in the wake of controversy created by her comments around the physical capability of female racers.
Jorda seemed to suggest to reporters following her drive of a Formula E car in Mexico City that the all-electric category was a more realistic proposition for women than Formula 1 due to the lesser physical challenge.
“It’s a less physical car than in Formula 1 because of the downforce and because of the power steering as well,” she said.
“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.”
Her comments provoked a sharp rebuke from a number of male and female motorsport identities, including Nissan Motorsport and former Formula 1 test driver Simona de Silvestro.
Jorda, a member of the FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission, has since claimed that she was not attempting to speak for all women, rather she was offering a personal comment based on her own experience.
Carmen Jorda statement in full
On Saturday, after testing a Formula E car before the Mexico City E-Prix, I spoke to several journalists about the experience.
During one interview I was asked to compare driving a Formula E car to a Formula 1 car, and then specifically, whether Formula E is easier for women to compete in that Formula 1.
Having some experience of both cars, I gave my personal opinion that driving a Formula E car presents less of a physical challenge than Formula 1, because of the lower downforce.
I also referred to there being ‘a physical issue’ for women in Formula 1, something which has created considerable debate over the last few days – including from many prominent women within our sport. I would like to thank fellow drivers for sharing their opinions, and respect their views greatly. I am sorry if my comments appeared to speak for all women and created all confusion – as I was reflecting merely on my own personal experience.
I never intended to discourage other women from competing at the pinnacle of our sport, or say that they physically cannot. My comments were purely a response to a direct question, asking “do you think Formula E would be easier for women?”.
As a member of the FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission I am committed to encouraging more women to become involved in our sport – both on and off the track – and celebrating those who are achieving great results.
As such, I would like to extend my congratulations to Tatiana Calderon – who was yesterday announced as a Formula 1 test driver at Sauber. I hope that she can become the first woman in 41 years to start a race on the Formula 1 grid and wish her the very best of luck for the coming season.
I wish all women in motorsport a happy International Women’s Day for (today).