Girls on Track makes its mark on new Formula E season

Expanded Programme introduces Motor Sport participation to more than 800 young girls at E-Prix in Saudi Arabia and Chile.

More than 800 young girls between the ages of eight and 18 years of age have been given a taste of what a career in motor sport has to offer thanks to FIA Girls on Track activations at the opening two rounds of the 2019/2020 Formula E season, in Saudi Arabia and Chile.

An expansion of the original Girls on Track Karting Challenge central to the FIA’s successful European Young Women Programme, the latest Girls on Track initiative features karting sessions, a pit-stop challenge, media tutorials, practical STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities as well as fitness and well-being workshops, and had been designed to engage and motivate young girls to open their minds to the possibility of a career in the motor sport industry.

The initiative featured at the Mexico City and Berlin rounds of the 2018/2019 Formula E season, and has returned for Season 6 of the all-electric championship with events in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, where female motor sport competition is in its infancy, and in Santiago, Chile.

Following the historic lifting of Saudi Arabia’s ban on women being allowed to drive in June 2018, Formula E’s opening round in Diriyah in November 2019 offered a unique opportunity to inspire young girls. The January 2020 event in Chile, meanwhile, was the first Girls on Track activation to be held in South America.

At both events participants had the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of motor sport roles and activities including journalism, with motor sport reporters demonstrating how to report from a race meeting and prepare a news story, as well as presenting a piece to camera. The girls also got involved in technical workshops to develop their Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills as well as being guided through first aid training. A simulator session took participants through essential driving practices alongside an instructor. And finally the girls had the opportunity to experience karting first hand, with a practice lap being followed by two timed laps that gave the participants an exciting introduction to racing competition.

During the Saudi Arabia event participants had the opportunity to visit the Formula E paddock and to meet with motor sport figures such as Venturi Formula E Team Principal and Dare to be Different founder Susie Wolff as well as female Saudi Arabian motor sport pioneers Aseel Al Hamad and Reema Juffali, both of whom are helping to advance gender equality in motor sport. The Chile event also gave participants the opportunity to get close to the Formula E action and to meet role models from the sport.

Commenting on the Santiago event FIA Women in Motorsport ambassador Tatiana Calderón said: “Initiatives such as Girls on Track are key to inspiring, empowering and educating girls with both the skills and the mindset to consider a future in motor sport. It is exciting to see this event come to Chile, helping to raise awareness and grow female participation in the sport in South America.” Silvia Bellot, FIA Race Director and another FIA Women in Motorsport Commission ambassador, added: “Young girls need to know that a career in motor sport, as a driver, a marshal or an engineer, is attainable and FIA Girls On Track is inspiring a new generation of girls to follow their dreams.”

Meanwhile, Venturi Formula E Team driver and former F1 star Felipe Massa said: “It’s very good that the FIA is helping the girls to think about motor sport, helping them learn how to drive and race, and it’s really good to be part of it. All the best for all the girls.”

The next Girls on Track events will be in Berlin (29/30 May) and London (23-25 July) Elsewhere, the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission has launched an FIA Girls on Track Toolkit designed to give to ASNs all the tools required to implement the programme at national level.

The toolkit guides ASNs through planning activations, event formats and relevant activities, as well as providing help with visual identity, strategy and identity and financing possibilities.