[QODLink]
Formula One
Formula One team hire female test driver
On International Women's Day, there's a breakthrough for female drivers in F1 as Marussia welcome female test driver.
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2012 17:53
Spanish driver Maria de Villota has experience racing as a test driver with Renault and in the Spanish F3 [GETTY]

On International Women's Day, Formula One racing team Marussia have welcomed a female test driver into the fold.

Marussia hired Maria de Villota as a test driver for the season, providing the sport with a full-time female pilot for the first time since the 1990s.

The daughter of former Spanish F1 driver Emilio de Villota had tested with Renault last year and has single seater experience in Spanish F3 and the Daytona 24-Hours. The 32-year-old De Villota will likely get behind the wheel at a young drivers' testing session in Abu Dhabi at the end of the season.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to work closely with a Formula One team and gain important experience to help me progress my career, including the chance to drive the new car later in the year,'' De Villota said.

"I will be joining the team trackside so I'm looking forward to working alongside them at the first race next weekend and this can only help my future ambition to step up to Formula One racing.''

"This is a fantastic opportunity to work closely with a Formula One team and gain important experience to help me progress my career"

Maria de Villota

McLaren gave American driver Sarah Fisher a chance to test drive at Indianapolis in 2002 but Italian driver Giovanna Amati was the last woman to enter the F1 championship. Amati was replaced by eventual world champion Damon Hill after failing to qualify her Brabham for a handful of races to start the 1992 season.

Five women previously raced in F1, with Italian driver Lella Lombardi starting 12 races in the 1970s.

"Our test driver program will enable her to be integrated into a Formula One team environment and gain a vast amount of experience that will be useful to her career progression,'' Marussia team principal John Booth said.

"We will also provide Maria with the opportunity to sample F1 machinery later in the year, further adding to her racing credentials."

Marussia goes into their third season after changing their name from Virgin.

The season begins on March 18 with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

Source:
AP
Topics in this article
People
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
More than 400 gaming dens operate on native lands, but critics say social ills and inequality stack the deck.
The Palestinian president is expected to address the UN with a new proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Nearly 1,200 aboriginal females have been killed or disappeared over 30 years with little justice served, critics say.
Ethnic violence has wracked China's restive Xinjiang region, leading to a tight government clampdown.
Malay artists revitalise the art of puppeteering by fusing tradition with modern characters such as Darth Vader.