Formula E

Media report: Formula E plans mandatory test day for women in Valencia

Svenja König

Svenja König

Marta-Garcia-Mikel-Azcona-Rookie-Test-ERT-Berlin

At the rookie test in Berlin last week, Marta Garcia (ERT) and Alice Powell (Envision) were the only women in the field. According to a media report by colleagues from The Race, that could change this year: This is because Formula E is likely to introduce a mandatory test day for female drivers as part of the pre-season test drives in Valencia.

No woman has contested a Formula E race since the season 2 finale in London in 2016. The commitment of teams and the series to change this has declined sharply in recent years. The last major momentum in this area was probably generated by the test day following the Diriyah E-Prix 2018.

At this test, each team was only allowed to compete with one car, unless the second car was driven by a woman. All teams except Audi and Jaguar took up this option, meaning that nine female drivers were ultimately allowed to test in Saudi Arabia. These included Carmen Jorda, Simona de Silvestro, Jamie Chadwick, Tatjana Calderon and Carrie Schreiner.

Formula E apparently wants to take up this concept again at the annual pre-season tests in Valencia. There will most likely be at least half a day of testing on Thursday, during which the teams will be required to field a woman. Apparently, some racing teams have already started talks with potential female drivers.

Formula E hopes that this additional day of testing will pave the way for women to seriously compete for a regular cockpit from the Gen4 era onwards.

"Whoever's idea it was, it was a good idea," said Marta Garcia during the rookie test in Berlin. "It's a good idea to get more women like me into the Formula E paddock. It would give many women the chance to show how they perform in a Formula E test. And who knows, maybe a series similar to the F1 Academy will emerge from it - only in electric."

"It's not about the show if you really want to invest in people"

This change in strategy may have come from the new Vice President of Sporting Affairs at Formula E - Beth Paretta, who is best known as the owner of a racing team in IndyCar. Her opinion is clear: testing is all well and good, but not enough.

"It's not just about the show if you really want to invest in people," she says at The Race. "Creating opportunities is not just a single day of testing, it's signing a woman full-time for several years. You just need time in the car to show who you really are as a driver. That's why I don't think test days are the whole answer."

"People need to understand why it's important and why it makes racing better. If that were to happen, it would be really cool!" However, official confirmation of this media report is still pending.

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