Our new partners Scuderia Fern Racing are passionate about empowering women in motorsport, and proud of the work they’re doing to increase representation in the paddock. Read on to meet some key members of the team and find out how they put these core values into action, both on and off the racetrack.
There are already a number of highly successful women working in our sport, but we also need to invest in the future and encourage the younger generation to view it as a world of equal opportunities.
Michèle Mouton - Chair of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission
Look around the average motorsport paddock at club level and you’ll find it’s still a predominantly male dominated environment. While this is slowly changing in a positive direction thanks to initiatives filtering down from the top levels of the sport, one team going against the grain in this area is our new on track partner Scuderia Fern Racing. At any given race weekend several key race positions on their team line up will be occupied by women, and when the full team are present at an event they currently have a notable 60% ratio of female team members across engineering, operations and marketing positions.
But why is this important? In a sport in which men and women can participate in the same series alongside each other on equal terms, motorsport still finds itself lacking with the number of female participants, both on and off track. This only changes at the top level when drivers, engineers, and other team personnel are encouraged to enter and participate at the entry levels of the sport; encouraged by visible role models that showcase the fact that the sport is open to people like them.
The governing body currently has a number of projects in place at both a domestic and international level to address these issues. One of these is Girls on Track, a joint initiative between the FIA and Motorsport UK which aims to inspire girls and women into seeing and believing that there is a rightful and valuable place for them in the motorsports industry. Girls on Track UK utilises an ambassador programme, community engagement and school events to educate and promote the message of equality across all areas of the industry. Though only active since 2019, encouragingly we’re already starting to see the fruits of this activity in grassroots motorsport. Several of Scuderia Fern’s newest race team members were recruited via the Girls on Track community as a means to gain valuable ‘hands on’ engineering experience with a single seat race car.
Equally important is the work that non-governing body led organisations such as Driven by Diversity, the Hamilton Commission (set up directly by the sports most successful athlete) and Racing Pride are doing in highlighting diverse role models, educating, and empowering change across both the sport and wider industry. It’s important to note that we’re not just talking about drivers when defining participation. Motorsport also suffers from a wider societal issue of lack of gender representation in the STEM sector, which is something that the governing body has particularly focused on with many positions working in the sport necessarily requiring specific technical knowledge.
All of these initiatives aim to tap into research knowledge from the psychology world that show the importance of role model effect on self efficacy; not only in terms of athletes and sport participants, but also visible models working and succeeding in STEM subjects inspiring entry into the sector further downstream. From Albert Bandura’s classic self-efficacy theory (vicarious experience) to more contemporary studies, research consistently shows that these initiatives have the capacity to create a positive and lasting effect. Observing the presence of visible and similar role models is found to improve confidence through an individual obtaining capability information; equally applicable in this context to the skills involved in performance outside of the sport/driving environment. Role models and mentors help broaden perspectives of who can work in the STEM field, and have the power to expand students’ perceptions of their own potential. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that girls may be more motivated (in terms of expectation of success, enjoyment, and importance) to engage in STEM fields after interacting with female role models in STEM than before doing so. When this is applied across the motorsport industry as a whole, the power of initiatives such as Girls on Track UK and its global FIA equivalents cannot be overstated.
It is incredible to be a part of a championship winning race team and I am very proud to have played a key role since the beginning. Collectively we have come a long way in a short amount of time, not simply as a team but as part of a movement to increase gender diversity within the sport and open doors to provide more opportunities to empower women in a male-orientated environment.
Maisie Tucker - PR Manager
Away from the racetrack this season, plans are already underway to attend engineering and school events sourced via the Girls on Track community, showcasing the F301 race car alongside promoting their message in breaking down gender stereotypes inherent in motorsport. With the team expanding their operation in Monoposto from one to three cars this season, and future plans to expand into other race series, Scuderia Fern Racing hope to continue their mission of increasing visibility of women working in a traditionally male dominated environment, and provide opportunities for others to follow in their footsteps.
Motorsport is such a huge part of my life and I am excited to be putting my all into making Scuderia Fern Racing even more successful and helping them achieve our ambitious goals. Having recently joined the team as marketing lead I really believe in their mission to give women opportunities in motorsport, and it’s something we live and breathe every day. Watch this space!
Sasha Laverick - Marketing Lead
To follow the progress of the team in 2022 as they compete in their fourth Monoposto championship season you can follow on social media and stay up to date with all the latest news via the team's dedicated website.
All photos by Richard Towler (unless otherwise credited)