If you haven’t heard of Carmen Jorda before don’t worry, you’re probably not the only one.
She first came to my attention a few months back, when she headed to Twitter to pointlessly tell the world that women should be racing in a series of their own and not racing with men. This was followed by a massive backlash from across the industry, with racers both male and female, car and bike telling her that she’s talking, to put it politely, out of her arse.
Jorda herself is a racing driver, and from 2015-’17 she was a development driver for the Lotus and Renault Sport Formula One team. This decision was widely criticised, and head of the FIA Women and Motorsport Commission didn’t hold back on her thoughts. Michèle Mouton described Jorda as a “marketing gimmick” and said that “Simona de Silvestro, Danica Patrick, Susie Wolff or even Beitske Visser” were better choices. Jorda hit back at Mouton’s comments, telling Motorsport.com that she was “surprised” by them. And while more women in the motorsport industry should be a good thing, this was something that went extremely south extremely quickly.
I am all for women in the industry. As someone who’s trying extremely hard to get into the industry herself, these are the women who I should be looking up to – if they can make it, why can’t I? Admittedly, I don’t want to be a racing driver, but I firmly believe that the industry is tough for everyone, no matter what position you want to be in. So when I read Jorda’s comments online about females in racing, I was left both shocked and appalled.
“It’s not fair that women have to compete in the same championship as men, because we’re never going to be World Champion, and I think women deserve that chance.” She then Tweeted: “I believe a women’s F1 championship would give us the chance to achieve our dreams and compete on an equal footing – as in other sports.”
Those were the words from Jorda’s mouth. Let’s just let that sink in for a moment… Okay.
Now keep those words in mind when I tell you that she’s been appointed onto the FIA Women’s Commission. Yes, you heard me. The woman who thinks that women and men should not compete on equal grounds has been appointed into a commission that fights for women’s rights on the track. Instead of encouraging young women to work hard and achieve their highest ambitions, she wants to segregate them. Speak to Maria Costello, Jenny Tinmouth, Ana Carrasco – they’ll all tell you that women can be just as fast and even faster than men, because they’ve done it. I’ve spoken to club racers who are consistently faster than a lot of men in their class, it is possible. What gets me the most, is that Mouton is still the head of the commission – talk about backtracking your comments.
Of course, the internet reacted strongly to Jorda’s appointment. Pippa Mann – Indy 500 racer, made a particularly poignant statement, saying:
“Dear @FIA, if the news I am hearing is correct and you have appointed a racer with no notable results, who does not believe we compete as equals in this sport, to represent women in racing, I am incredibly disappointed. Sincerely – an #Indy500 qualifier, #IndyLights race winner.”
And she really couldn’t be more correct. Before I go off on one, I’m going to wrap this up with a few summarising comments.
- This is wrong.
- So very wrong.
- Appoint women who believe in equal rights and encourage others.
- Pippa Mann is extremely wise, and the kind of woman girls who race should look up to.
The FIA are yet to comment on the appointment, but my gut feeling is that they won’t. And if you’re a woman who competes/wants to compete in motorsport or be involved with the motorsport industry in any way then you can do it. You can do it just as good, if not better than men and a female only championship is not a welcome suggestion.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.