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Drive to Survive: Claire Williams helps make season six the second-best for women’s speaking time

Women’s speaking time across the six seasons remains below 3% of total run time


Claire Williams is a welcome addition to Season 6

Women spoke for 3.1% of Season 6 of the hit Netflix show Drive to Survive, the second highest proportion out of all the seasons so far. They totalled just under 14 minutes of speaking time out of a running time of seven and a half hours across 10 episodes.


Across all 60 episodes of Drive to Survive, women have spoken for slightly over an hour in total. This is just 2.65% of the more than 39-hour run time.


Season 2 has the highest proportion of women’s speaking time at 3.6%. This is thanks to an entire episode focused on Claire Williams in her role as Deputy Team Principal at ROKiT Williams’ Racing in the 2019 season.


In Season 6, Williams appeared as a pundit alongside Formula 1’s Will Buxton and former INDYCAR driver and Sky Sports F1 presenter Danica Patrick. The inclusion of these two women as pundits helped boost the amount of speaking time for women in the show.


Danica Patrick features in Season 6

Last year the show had no female pundits. Seasons 3 and 4 featured BBC F1 broadcaster Jennie Gow who is gradually returning to the sport after having a serious stroke.


This season marks a significant change from last year as Season 5 only featured six minutes of women’s speaking time, just 1.5% of the total runtime. This attracted widespread scrutiny, including from F1 Academy Director Susie Wolff.  


Speaking to BBC Sport last year she said: "I saw a terrifying quote that if you look at Drive to Survive, I think it's 1.8% of screen time features a female.


“How should a young girl, who's eight, and maybe loves F1, how can she visualise herself getting into that paddock if she can't even see participation or women working in the paddock?"


Wolff is one of the other women who feature in Season 6, speaking about the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 Team which is managed by her husband Toto Wolff. She is named on screen as the director of the female-only Formula 1 feeder series, F1 Academy, which enters its second season this year.


The only other women to be named on screen were the wife of Haas team Principal Guenther Steiner, ​Gertraud Steiner and Reyes Vasquez de Castro, the mother of Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz. Five women were named on screen this season, down from six last year. 


Sophie Ogg, Director of Communications at McLaren appeared in episode 3, advising Lando Norris, Oscar Piastri and Zak Brown on their communication strategy during a difficult period for the team but she was not named on screen. The show did appear to highlight the role of women engineers and mechanics more than in previous seasons, with shots from the team garages and factories often featuring women. 


Currently, all the team principals and drivers in the Formula 1 paddock are men, making an imbalance in women’s screen time more likely. The race commentary used in Drive to Survive also only features men. 


What do you think about the female representation in Drive to Survive? Please share your comments with us.




2 Comments


I'm grateful for the detailed explanations provided in this article. fireboy and watergirl

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DTS is low hanging fruit in terms of DEI progress. The findings put into question F1’s commitment on this. They can and must do better in this area.

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