When it comes to women holding the steering and shifting only above the third gear, there have been only a few examples to look upon to. But there are many speed-queens who were born to fly their cars like a boss and break the stereotype of male drivers. Even though only six racers have made it to Formula One till date, the future is quite promising and hopefully a female racer would win a trophy some day soon.
Meet the Vroom-Vroom girls!
She was the first woman to take part in a race in Formula One.This Italian former racing driver participated in five World Championship Grands Prix but was unsuccessful to win any of them. Born on 11 November 1926 in Naples, Italy, Maria was a keen horse rider as a teenager.She debuted her racing career on 18 May 1958 at the age of 22. It all began when her two brothers challenged her and made a bet that she won't be able to drive her car very fast. As a professional, she won her first race on a 10 km drive between Salerno and Cava de' Tirreni driving a Fiat 500. An Italian luxury car manufacturer Maserati approached de Filippis after seeing her performance to work as a works driver. She also took part in the 1954 season of Italian sports car championship, finishing second in the race. Before getting a chance to take part in Formula One, she also participated in many races of Hill-climbing and Endurance racing.
She is the only female Formula One racer in the history to have finished in a World Championship race. She created history at the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix. Though she received only half points for this race due to a shortened race distance. Lombardi entered Formula One in 1974 after performing well in Formula Three and Formula 5000 in the early 1970's. In 1975, she joined 'March' ( a Formula One constructor) and raced the full season. She then had a one-off drive for Williams ( British Formula One team and constructor) before a short-lived and unsuccessful partnership with RAM Racing ( a Formula One racing team which competed during 1976 to 1985). In 1977, Lombardi had also started in NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) driving in the 'Firecracker 400' NASCAR race at the Daytona International Speedway. Apart from her, there were two other female drivers in the competition: Janet Guthrie from America and Christine Beckers from Belgium. Her best season was in 1979 when she won the six hours of Pergusa and the six hours of Vallelunga. She competed 4 times at the 24 hours race of Le Mans. Her best result came in 1976 when she finished 9th in the race. Lombardi retired from racing in 1988. In 1992, she died of cancer in Milan at the age of 50.
The English sportswoman entered three Formula One World Championship Grands Prix in her motor sport career. Besides motor sport, she also competed in four Winter Olympics as a skier, captaining the British Women's Olympic Ski Team in 1968 and 1972. After coming up decently in skiing at a pretty young age, she took up motor sport as a second career initially racing karts, moving into Formula Two and Formula One. She later found success in racing sports cars and trucks. She drove Formula Renault and Formula Vauxhall Lotus in her racing career. Galica was taken under the guidance of John Webb and Nick Whiting, who in 1976, entered her in the British Shellsport International Group 8 series. After promising performances in the domestic series, Whiting decided to enter Galica for 1976 British Grand Prix, using their Surtees TS16 Formula One car. Galica switched her attention to the Thundersports S2000 sports car class after a few years of racing and truck racing. She became a racing instructor with Skip Barber Racing Schools (one of the largest racing schools in the world, headquarters in Braselton, Georgia, United States), later to become senior Vice President of Skip Barber Racing, managing both the driving school and racing series. In 2005, she announced that she was leaving Skip Barber to work for iRacing.com, as the Director of the company. She has also been awarded with The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (shortened informally to "Order of the British Empire").
Desiré Randall Wilson is a former racing driver from South Africa. Born in Brakpan, she entered Formula One World Championship Grand Prix in 1980 with a non-works RAM Racing prepared Williams FW07( a ground effect Formula One racing car), but failed to qualify for Formula One. She also participated in the 1981 non-world championship South African Grand Prix (Libre motor race held on 7 February 1981 at Kyalami) in a deal with Tyrrell Racing (an auto racing team and Formula One constructor). She qualified 16th in the race. After winning at Brands Hatch (a motor racing circuit near Swanley in Kent, England) in the short-lived British Aurora F1 series in 1980, she became the only woman to win a Formula One race of any kind. To date, she is the only woman holding a FIA Super License (licence allowing to compete in the Formula One World Championship as a driver) as well as to have been licensed to drive in a CART Indycars event. In 1980, she became the first female driver to have outright victories in any FIA World Championship race after winning both the Monza 1000 km and the Silverstone 6 Hours World Championship for Makes races.
The former professional racing driver from Italy is the last female driver to have entered the Formula One World Championship. Amati kept improving her performance after she started her racing career in Formula Abarth series. She moved up into Formula Three for 1985 to 1986. Amati became the fifth female Formula One driver when she signed for Brabham in 1992. At the age of 19, she was kidnapped and was released on an 800 million lira ransom. Amati has now moved into media and writes columns in Italy for motor sport publications and is into television commentary.
The British racing driver from Scotland was the first woman to take part in a Formula One race weekend in 22 years after Giovanna Amati made three unsuccessful qualification attempts. In 2014, Wolff participated in the British Grand Prix, at Silverstone and created history. In 2012, she was signed by the Williams Formula One team to work as a development driver. Starting off in Karting, she moved up to Formula Renault and Formula Three and has continuously worked to perform better to improve her rankings. She also competed for Mercedes-Benz, driving a DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters). She was named the British Woman Kart Racing Driver of the year at the mere age of 14 for three successive years.