Four female drivers given F3 tests as part of diversity plan

Sam Cooper
Otmar Szafnauer with Abbi Pulling and Laurent Rossi. Silverstone, July 2022.

Alpine’s Otmar Szafnauer and Laurent Rossi.with Alpine Affiliate member Abbi Pulling. Silverstone, July 2022.

Four female drivers will be given an F3 test in Formula 3 later this month as part of an ongoing plan to boost diversity.

W Series drivers Abbi Pulling, Chloe Chambers and Tereza Babickova, alongside Formula 4 and Formula Regional driver Hamda Al Qubaisi will take to the track at  Magny-Cours, France on September 16 and 17.

It is the second time that a test like this has been run and is part of a larger diversity plan to give better access to more female drivers.

Each driver will be testing for a full day, with two cars on track per day, with the aim to introduce them to the category, its car and different set-ups, along with the demands and challenges of its environment.

Pulling and Al Qubaisi will take the wheel on day one and Chambers and Babickova will get their first taste of the F3 car on day two.

Racing X driver Pulling said she hopes to learn as much as she can from the day’s running.

“I’m very excited to test the F3 car around Magny-Cours and I am very grateful for this opportunity given to me. I hope to make the most out of the day and understand further what it will take to get to the next step and where I aim to hopefully compete one day.

“To get the chance to drive this kind of machinery means a lot to me and I’m expecting it to be very different to what I am used to driving. However, I’m looking forward to the challenge and trust that I will get the support I need from the team to adapt and learn as much as possible.”

Al Qubaisi described the test as “a very strong message in acknowledging female drivers.”

“I’m thrilled to be invited by the FIA F3 promoters to take part in this high profile test, it’s a very strong message in acknowledging female drivers and I would personally like to thanks FIA Formula 3 CEO Bruno Michel for the opportunity.

“I’m definitely grateful for this opportunity and it means a lot to be acknowledged for my efforts and achievements in motorsports and offered the chance to test this amazing machine. It’s the natural progression in my career and I aspire to drive in this championship next season if all goes well.”

Chloe Chambers said: “I’m excited about this opportunity. It’s something that I’ve looked forward to for a long time and I’m so grateful to have it. I see this test as a great learning opportunity to gain experience in the F3 car at a new track with new people that I can learn from. I expect to gain invaluable experience and a greater understanding of where I need to further develop my skills.

“I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone at W Series, Monoflo International, and Bruno Michel and his team for helping me get this great opportunity to gain experience and show my potential.”

The final driver, Babickova, said it was her goal to reach F3 at some point in the future.

“I am very grateful for this opportunity. For all drivers in motorsport, the goal is to continue to higher categories and thus, of course, more powerful cars, which is a big challenge. I know it takes quite a lot of physical strength to drive the F3 car.

“I’m still a rookie formula driver, so for me, this invitation to the FIA F3 test is a recognition of my training and racing commitment so far, and it’s a great motivation for the future.

“Of course, my goal is to step up to F3 in the future, so I expect this test to show me what my real abilities are today and what I need to work on in order to be ready.”

F3 president Michel said that diversity was a keen consideration in terms of the sport’s future.

“It’s very important to us to ensure that more and more female drivers join our championship. Diversity is one of our key discussions regarding the future of motorsport.

“We initiated these dedicated F3 tests last year, with Nerea Marti, Doriane Pin, Irina Sidorkova and Maya Weug, who all said how beneficial this one-day test had been to their understanding of the demands of our championship. We selected four new drivers for this year, as we follow closely not only W Series, but also female drivers in other categories.

“The purpose of this test is not to compare their performance, but it is an opportunity for them to understand what is required from an F3 driver from every aspect, so that they can prepare for the challenges when they progress to our championship, hopefully in the near future.”

F1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali, who recently said he could not see a female F1 driver in the next five years, said: “Providing more opportunities for women drivers across single seater racing is a key priority for all of us at Formula 1 and across the whole sport.

“This test, the second of its kind, will provide real opportunity for these four talented drivers to demonstrate their potential to teams and make the case for a competitive seat in years to come.”