In the latest episode of, "Do us a favor and keep your mouth shut," Stirling Moss has been quoted as saying that he believes women lack the mental fortitude to compete in Formula One. "I think they have the strength, but I don't know if they've got the mental aptitude to race hard, wheel-to-wheel," Moss said during a BBC Radio 5 special on women in F1. He went on to say that F1 drivers needed tremendous concentration in his day. He continued with, "The mental stress I think would be pretty difficult for a lady to deal with in a practical fashion. I just don't think they have aptitude to win a Formula 1 race."

We're sure it has nothing to do with the mountain of sexism that stands between women and success in motorsports in general.

The 83-year-old Moss is a legend in the racing world, having won 16 Formula One Grand Prix events during some of the sport's most dangerous and harrowing times. Between 1948 and 1962, he competed in 529 races ranging from F1 to rally and won a staggering 212 of those. But a pedigree doesn't excuse his comments.

Susie Wolf, who is currently in her second season as a test driver with Williams, disagreed with Moss's statements. "It makes me cringe hearing that," she said. "I've got a lot of respect for Sir Stirling and what he achieved, but I think we're in a different generation. For Moss, it's unbelievable that a female would drive a Formula One car, which is enough."

Wolf isn't alone. While F1 has been difficult to access for female drivers, nearly every corner of racing has seen spectacularly talented and successful women drivers compete on nearly every level. There's Janet Guthrie, the first woman to compete in both the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500, Shirley Muldowney who won three championships in Top Fuel drag racing, and Lyn St. James who raced the Indy 500 seven times, including her last appearance in 2000 at the age of 53, to name just a few. Even Moss's own sister, Pat Moss, saw some success as a rally driver. Then there are today's women in motorsports, which are quickly becoming too numerous to count, none of whom received more attention than Indy/NASCAR driver Danica Patrick.


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  • 150 Comments
      domingorobusto
      • 1 Year Ago
      Statistical evidence would tend to agree with Sir Moss, but this is a hard issue to say whether he's right or wrong about. Until recently racing really was a good old boys club, and they have suppressed women in motorsports. However, that's definitely changed. I flat don't believe the glass ceiling is still in place. If any woman shows true talent in this day and age, she will be hustled to the front of the line so everybody involved can show how diverse and open minded they are. But I do think that women are less naturally inclined, physiologically, to the traits that are necessary for success in racing. Men are naturally more aggressive and naturally resond to aggression in others with aggression, which really is necessary in high level racing. Several studies have proven time and again that men are on average much less risk averse than women, and there are no top drivers who aren't risk addicts. And this may be what he was talking about. To a less risk averse person, the risky situations constantly encountered during a long F1 race are less taxing. To a person who is not risk averse, a dangerous situation is not mentally taxing. But to a person who is risk averse, every situation like that chips at their focus and their mental stamina. And the vast majority of women just don't seem to be interested in motorsports. Whether this is a development of societal pressure or natural inclination, men are just WAY more into cars than women in general. So while it's obviously not impossible for there to eventually be a top woman driver in F1, the chances are slim.
      IOMTT
      • 1 Year Ago
      I am sure if Susie Wolf were quicker than the Williams regulars, she would be on the grid. Stirling may or may not be onto something with his theory, but the consistently quickest people will get the top postions. Agree with him or not, he is not opining on a subject he knows nothing about. This guy raced when it was dangerous and did not pay much and the sport almost killed him, I don't mind hearing his opinion.
      ejorillion
      • 1 Year Ago
      Critize him for his opinion when you have won over 200 race, until shut the f up
      royjoneswolf62
      • 1 Year Ago
      Women do very well in NHRA drag racing. A bunch of these macho males in other motorsports do not have the fortitude to get into a AA/FD or a AA/FC and go over 330mph in under 4 seconds. I think that's pretty stressful, don't you?
      Gordon
      • 1 Year Ago
      Participating and winning are two different things....
      tr33gazer
      • 1 Year Ago
      So what he doesn't feel women can handle it. He is an expert in his field and entitled to his opinion. It is getting so old people have to censor everything they say as not to offend anyone. I'm a woman and take no offense to his comment.
      wtsn56
      • 1 Year Ago
      "get that big chip off your shoulder" - no kidding!! If this woman (Susie Wolf) can't take his personal opinions how is she going react when she's got a race car up her rear?
      Jacqueline
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well, lets put him up against some and find out just which head of his is doing the squawking
      Jay
      • 1 Year Ago
      steelovarynation.com
      JIM
      • 1 Year Ago
      women today are different--they have more interrnal foratude than before--and better sources of learning how to do stuff.. Motivation is another great asset. Give them a chanch and see what they can do-------
      nancycshack
      • 1 Year Ago
      Really? I have been hit from behind & it was a Male driver. I have known more male drivers who are not even able to compete woith a woman.
      hpycmpr155
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd LOVE the chance to try!
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