David Coulthard has achieved a lot in professional motorsport in more than 30 years. He has never won an F1 world championship, but is currently determined to help women reach the queen of motorsport.
Over the past decade there have been many initiatives to find the answer to the most frequently asked question in Formula 1 – why are there no women in F1? From the FIA Girls on Track program to the W Series with which Coulthard is a partner, the opportunities are growing. However, they do not solve the basic problems that need to be addressed on the road to the queen of motorsport, namely: better early stage talent detection, followed by funding and other professional support for a specific development program. Many current Formula 1 drivers could count on such help.
So Coulthard teamed up with his friend, Czech businessman Karel Komark, to create a development structure called More than Equal, which includes industry experts from fitness, driver training, psychology to sponsorship.
Komarek is best known as the operator of national lotteries in many European countries.
While Coulthard has the story of his sister, whose sports career practically ended in karting because there was no system that allowed further development despite the great support of their parents, Komarek grew up in communist Czechoslovakia and felt cut off from access to business. networks in the West.
– The country was closed, we could not travel and compete – said Komarek. The same may be true for young women considering a career in motorsport. If you don’t have a chance at the age of 10-12, when we can identify talent and test your competitiveness against other male drivers, there is a similar story.
Coulthard attracts many well-known names and companies to work together, such as Hintsa Performance, whose coaches guide F1 drivers through physical training and psychological preparation. Also on the advisory board were many industry personalities such as Kate Bevan – former F1 director of the Paddock Club and F1 Experiences, Julia George van Heineken and Lewis Hamilton’s father, Anthony.
“Given my experience and contacts in Formula 1, together with Karel’s business knowledge and dedication, and the collection of great and motivated professionals, we have a nice team,” said Coulthard. – If it was possible to work out something positive, try to support and nurture a talent for the future, who wouldn’t us?
– Formula 1 teams are too busy with their activities and to be honest they are not interested in providing this level of support. That’s why we’re getting started.
– We believe we can make a difference. If no one takes care of it, nothing will happen. The W-series is an example of this. This is quite controversial for some people, but it hasn’t brought too many women to the fore.
– It’s not about what we can get out of it in the business context. We intend to create a sustainable financial platform that enables early stage support, but we also want to find partners that go beyond what their brands do. We are involved in this project in the long term.
More than Equal’s inauguration took place before the British Grand Prix and was somewhat drowned out by discussion about Nelson Piquet’s totally unacceptable comments about Lewis Hamilton. The past week has shown that while motorsport is making slow progress towards greater integration on all fronts, it is an uphill battle.
More than Equal will try to break down misconceptions about female drivers such as lack of strength, aggression or willingness to put themselves in danger. These factors have created barriers in the past. Coulthard firmly believes that drivers put aside the realization that something could happen to them if they get into a race car, and rejects any suggestion that this is not the case for women. He cites his own poignant example of Williams’ first F1 drive in 1994, when he replaced the late Ayrton Senna.
“It just never occurs to you,” he said. – Look how I got into this sport. Literally three weeks later I was in the same car as Ayrton. I also tested this car for the Imola race, exactly the same chassis.
There are suggestions that when looking for a future F1 driver one should rely on the daughter of one of the drivers in this series. Nico Rosberg, Juan Pablo Montoya and Sebastian Vettel are mentioned but their daughters are not encouraged to race. This is not the case with Miki Hakkinen, who currently drives Ella in karting. According to his former McLaren teammate Coulthard, Mika is fascinated by it.