Kaltenborn, Wolff, De Villota become FIA WMC Ambassadors 15 Jun 2012
The FIA Women in Motorsport Commission (WMC) has announced its first official Ambassadors. Three names from Formula One racing - Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn, Williams test driver Susie Wolff and Marussia counterpart Maria de Villota - are joined by former World Rally winner Michele Mouton and IndyCar star Katherine Legge.
The five, who represent excellence in different segments of the motorsport world, were awarded the accolade at a special ceremony in Paris on Thursday attended by FIA President Jean Todt. They will now represent the Commission globally as it continues to promote and encourage women into the sport.
Women nowadays do have the competence, the self-confidence and the education to follow a professional career in any area they choose, but still they need the right opportunities to achieve their goals, said Kaltenborn, former lawyer and the first female F1 CEO. The challenge now is to develop the platforms for them, so they have equal chances to show their abilities in all business areas they are interested in, which may include motorsport.
Wolff, like many racers, started her career in karts and having worked her way through the motorsport ranks is now a full-time DTM driver with Mercedes-Benz. The Scots talent has, most recently, also rewarded her with her seat with the Williams F1 team as its development driver.
"It is a great honour to be an Ambassador for the Women in Motorsport Commission, she said. Ive been racing since I was eight years old, coming through the ranks of international karting, Formula Renault and Formula Three. I was twice nominated for BRDC McLaren Young Driver of the Year.
When I started in DTM six years ago I wouldnt have survived if I hadnt been good enough to compete on merit, and thats a big part of the reason why I was given the chance to become development driver for the Williams F1 Team. Motorsport is a competitive world and no one likes to beaten, male or female; whoever you are, you need to prove yourself.
There were not really any role models for me in motorsport when I was younger, but my mother and grandmother were both very strong, inspirational women. Certainly my mother taught me to believe that I could do whatever I put my mind to, and thats what helped me in following a career path that other women didnt. If what I am doing can inspire just one girl to give racing a go, then I would feel I had made a positive difference."
De Villota - daughter of ex-Formula One driver Emilio - has raced in many single-seater and sportscar categories and first tasted Formula One when she tested for Renault in 2011. The Spaniard has recently joined the Marussia F1 team as a test driver.
To be an Ambassador is first of all an honour, she commented. It is also a big responsibility and we must support and help other women who work hard to achieve their goals. I am very determined and, for me, it was not enough to just be in motor sport - I wanted to get to the very top. This year I achieved that goal with my test driver role at the Marussia F1 Team.
It is very important to let other women know that with enough belief and application, you can overcome any hurdle. If I can be an F1 test driver, I am sure a lot of women can do it too. It is purely a question of talent, hard work and commitment. I gave my life to motorsport and just kept the faith that my optimism would be rewarded.
For women who love motorsport, it is very important to visualise yourself doing what you want to do. Being different is hard. Not having another woman around to ask is tough and your destiny really is in your own hands. Having everyone's eyes watching your every move is a lot of pressure. But, if there is passion, then there is no option but to keep pushing. Its like anything in life, no one is going to make it happen for you but if you work hard to fulfil your dreams, the taste of success is unbeatable. I am very proud of how far I have come because I relied only on myself to get here.
The Ambassadors mission will be to spread the messages and actions of the Commission, with particular emphasis on demonstrating how to succeed in all areas of motorsport, while also playing a part in promoting the FIAs all-important safety messages.
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