Formula Equal seeks a 50/50 gender balance throughout its F1 team
Formula Equal: a new initiative spearheaded by Craig Pollock to establish a gender-equal Formula 1 team with a 50/50 split.
Formula Equal, led by a well-known figure from F1’s history, intends to establish a Formula 1 team in the future that achieves a 50/50 gender balance.
Craig Pollock, who previously formed and served as the team principal of the BAR F1 team between 1999 and 2002, is now leading a novel initiative.
This initiative is participating in the FIA’s ‘Expression of Interest’ selection process, which could potentially lead to the inclusion of two new teams on the Formula 1 grid in the future.
Pollock’s daring concept hinges on achieving a 50/50 gender split throughout the entire organization of the team, including the engineering department, the boardroom, and ultimately, the driver’s seat.
Pollock stated in an interview with CNN that the endeavor of constructing a new Formula 1 team has been ongoing for almost four years. However, the initiative also seeks to create avenues and openings for women to reach the highest echelons of motorsport.
Pollock further explained that the goal is to establish a Formula 1 team with a gender split of 50% male and 50% female, which is particularly challenging to accomplish with an established team. The task is more feasible with a new team that can be built from scratch.
Pollock emphasized that gender equality is crucial for the entire team, including the driver’s cockpit.
Pollock expressed his enthusiasm for the prospect of having a female driver, but acknowledged that to qualify for a Formula 1 cockpit, a driver must obtain a specific number of points on their super licence.
“I cannot guarantee that this will happen, but we are closely monitoring the situation. I genuinely hope that women will be given the opportunity,” Pollock said.
Pollock clarified that their goal is not solely focused on female drivers but extends to achieving gender equality throughout the entire team. The ambition is to strive for parity at the board level and establish a Formula 1 team with equal representation of men and women.
Pollock aims to have Formula Equal established and operational by the 2026 season. Given the sport’s current emphasis on promoting diversity and equality, his initiative is expected to receive close attention from the FIA.
Achieving a 50/50 gender split in a fully functional Formula 1 team implies that the existing pool of motorsport talent can adequately support such an initiative. However, the current reality is that the sport’s human resources are not yet at a stage where they can deliver such a level of gender balance.
Pollock acknowledges that the team will have to rely on their academy systems to develop and nurture the talent needed to achieve the gender balance.
Pollock recognizes that they will have to build the talent pool from the ground up since there are currently not enough women trained to Formula One standards. Moreover, the female candidates will have to earn their spot on the team, just like the male candidates.
As part of the FIA’s evaluation during the selection process, the team’s capability to secure adequate funding is a crucial factor. Last year, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff estimated that establishing a new Formula 1 team would cost around $1 billion.
Although Pollock did not divulge specific details regarding the team’s funding, he hinted that they were in negotiations with potential investors from the Middle-East and appeared optimistic about securing substantial financial support for the project.
Pollock mentioned that they are currently engaged in intense negotiations with a country in the Gulf region, without specifying which one. As the former manager of Jacques Villeneuve, he did not provide any further details about the potential investor or the funding amount.
Pollock declined to discuss the specifics of the funding arrangements at this stage, as the details are yet to be finalized. He expressed hope that the negotiations would be successful, as the initiative requires a considerable amount of funding to succeed.
Pollock revealed that the concept of a gender-equal Formula 1 team was the primary factor that attracted the interest of potential investors. Additionally, he hinted that the team could be based in the Gulf region, where discussions with interested parties were taking place.
Pollock clarified that the discussions with the interested parties in the Gulf region were not solely about funding. Instead, the initiative’s broader aspects, such as equality, diversity, inclusion, and sustainability, were also crucial to the discussions. He emphasized that the venture was not a matter of him approaching them but rather that they were interested in the concept.
Pollock further explained that the investors had approached them because of the ready-to-go business plan, including all costings and details, creating a turnkey operation that interested parties could support.
Pollock emphasized that building a gender-equal Formula 1 team from the ground up in a Gulf state was a long-term project that would require significant effort and resources. He reiterated that the initiative was not a short-term endeavor but rather a long-term vision.
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