Expecting More Women in Motorsport
Julia Pallé, Sustainability Director of ABB FIA Formula E Championship, ensures all women to join the motorsport industry. She emphasizes that there are many other roles in the industry besides being a racer.
“In the world of racing, the most exciting and highlighted role is the racer. However, we need more women to get involved in the motorsport industry. There are many job opportunities in the industry, such as mechanics, engineers, journalists, sustainability professionals, and racers,” she explained when speaking at the Formula E webinar initiated by Jakpro and Tempo, Wednesday, June 1, 2022.
Pallé emphasizes that the Formula E racing industry has never discriminated against gender. “Gender equality plays an important role in our industry. Men and women are equal, so the most important thing to be accepted in this industry is the skills and the brain,” she said, suitable with the webinar theme “Sustainability Talk Series #2: Net Zero Emission Race: Women in Formula Car Racing”.
Sustainability and gender equality, Pallé continued, have become vital issues that have been carried out by Formula E since the 5th Series (2018-2019). The concern in sustainability aspect is shown by developing race car technology which uses environment-friendly energy according to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Meanwhile, the equality gender aspect is implemented with the launch of the FIA Girls On Track program. At the Formula E event in Jakarta earlier this June, FIR Girls On Track will be held one day before the race. The aim of this program, said Pallé, is to inspire people that motorsports are wide open to the involvement of women.
The female racer as well as public figure, Alexandra Asmasoebrata, explained that FIA Girls On Track in Jakarta will gather 100 women from the age of 8 to 18 years. “Actually there are more than 200 applicants, but we limit the participant.”
During the event, those young women will experience the world of racing. They will observe the engine testing, involve in the process of the race car aerodynamics design, and learn to create a program and challenges in preparing logistics. Participants also have the opportunity to conduct a test drive, thus enabling the birth of new Indonesian female racers.
According to Alexandra, the FIA Girls On Track program facilitates the women who may have been hesitate or have lack of knowledge about the motorsport industry. Apparently, the racing world is not merely about being a racer, but also creating opportunity to other professions, such as mechanics, committees, or official teams. “So, we open the door for women. We give them access and a bridge so that more women want to get involved in the racing world,” said the Chair of Women In Motorsport Commission of the Indonesian Motorsport Association.
Alexandra added, the FIA Girls On Track can cut break the stigma that the world of racing is synonymous with men, with macho and rough atmosphere. That reputation makes the regeneration of female racers in Indonesia is very slow. She even mentioned that there is only one racer appears in a year.
“It is probably because naturally women prefer gentle sport, while motorsport is synonymous with macho stuff,” she said. Nevertheless, Alexandra continued, women actually have certain advantages, such as more thorough, tenacious, and diligent. “Regarding the skills, actually we (women) can be pitted against the men. It doesn’t mean that women are inferior, but as long as we are willing to strive, we can be equal to men.”
It is this belief that makes Diah Wulandari, the Powertrain Engineer of Patria, very confident in working as the expert in the automotive industry, especially in developing the electric vehicle. She emphasized that women should break the stigma that working in automotive industry is synonymous with oil or dirty stuff. “In this industry, there are people who create the design and aerodynamics who always play with simulations. It doesn’t have to get dirty,” she explained.
Diah also appreciated the FIA Girls On Track that is expected to change women’s perception towards the motorsport industry. “We really need a campaign to remove the stigma about engineering in the automotive world, which is closely related with dirty tasks and rough works,” she added.