The advance of women in global motorsport is no longer to be stopped. There is a change going on, outlines the Dutch race car driver Beitske Visser.
“ When I started karting, I was often the only girl on the track. Now I see a lot of young girls. Earlier this year I went to the World Championships Karting in Portugal and have never seen so many women in the paddock. That really surprised me.”
Not that the traditional male stronghold is already shaking, but the trend is unmistakable according to Visser. “More and more women are getting to the top of motorsport. Thats very noticeable. And its not just about drivers, but also mechanics and other high functions. The motorsport world is changing. Women penetrate into key positions.”
The 25-year-old Visser himself almost gave up her childhood dream of getting through to the king class. “Getting Formula One is so difficult. Its for very few people. For a season in step-up class F2, you already need a few million. I dont have that. Formula 1 isnt realistic for me anymore.”
Shes not Rouwig. “Its going very well. Im driving the W series again this year, but I am also participating in the World Championships endurance (WEC). Those calendars barely collide and its very busy.”
Do not blindgaze on Formula 1
Racing in several disciplines at once is, in Vissers eyes, a knife that cuts on two sides. “What I learn with one, I can apply to the other and that makes me better. The cars arent that different. My WEC car is almost a Formula W car with a roof.”
Visser never went blind to Formula One. “Last year, I took part in the Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time. Its on the bucket list with every race driver. I really want to take part in such races in Daytona and Bathurst, but Formula E (a fully electric race class, red.) seems fun too.”
In 2019 Visser made a name in the W series (a championship with only female drivers); she won a race and finished second in the title battle. 2020 fell into the water due to the coronapandemic: all W races were killed.
“ 2020 was the craziest year of my motorsport career. Fortunately, I was able to participate in a few long distance races, but I prefer to race 52 weekends a year. I hope Corona doesnt lock the place again.”
Women in Formula 1
In the history of Formula One there have been only two women who have taken a race. Maria Teresa de Filippis was the first in 1958, Lella Lombardi was the second in 1975. Since then, several female drivers have tried in vain to obtain a permanent seat.
Fishermans goal is crystal clear. “One step up in the W-series. So be a champion. Thats not easy, but I train a lot and since the lockdown I have a simulator at home where I can practice all the circuits. I am, so to speak, simracing day and night.”
Ride together with Verstappen
If the racing calendar remains upright, Visser will drive together with Max Verstappen in Zandvoort at the beginning of September. “I look forward to that. It is a good thing that we become part of Formula One. Due to Maxs popularity, many viewers will now also discover the W series. The platform is getting much bigger.”
Ideally, the female racing class will become a springboard to Formula 1, but Visser will not see a driver who can do that in the short term. “It depends on so many factors. You have to be fast, but also have money and gather the good people around you.”
Also W-champion Jamie Chadwick is not ready, according to Visser. “Of course, she is an option as a winner, but it depends on how she develops further. You have to succeed in Formula 2 first. Its too early.”
However, according to Visser, the arrival of a female F1 driver is a matter of time. “I hope we inspire young girls and make it a little easier for them to break through. We want to show that we can be as fast as men.”
Afraid that female drivers will succumb under the pressure, Visser is not. “Racing women are used to that: weve heard all our lives that we cant win, but the world is changing. Within ten years, there will be a woman in Formula One.”