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Drive to Survive Season 5 lowest so far for female representation

Decline in women shown on screen continues downward trend since Season 2

Women spoke for only 1.54% of Drive to Survive’s Season 5 run time. This totalled just six minutes and seven seconds out of a total time of over six and a half hours. Only six women are identified on screen throughout the season.

In four episodes no women are identified at all. Formula 1 journalist Jennie Gow provides insight in four episodes but, in the other six, this is done by Will Buxton. Buxton’s colleague at F1, journalist Laura Winter, is shown interviewing the drivers in various episodes but is never named on screen.

Other women identified include family members Gertraud Steiner, Corinna Schumacher and Geri Horner. The Communications Director at McLaren Racing, Sophie Ogg, is named on screen in Episode 6 and W Series team owner of Jenner Racing, Caitlyn Jenner, is named in Episode 3. Women mostly feature in the background as fans or are seen providing food for and applying makeup to the drivers.

Across all five seasons of Drive to Survive women have spoken for less than an hour out of the 32 hours of episodes. Currently, F1 has no female drivers or team principals so potential contributors are more limited than in other sports documentaries like the tennis series Break Point, also made by production company Box to Box Films.

However, women do work in prominent roles in F1 teams, including Red Bull’s Principal Strategy Engineer Hannah Schmitz and there are numerous female journalists such as Naomi Schiff and Claire Cottingham who could have provided their insight. There are also team-affiliated drivers like Abbi Pulling, Jamie Chadwick and Jess Hawkins who could have been featured if the show wanted to improve women’s representation on screen.

F1 is attempting to improve the number of female drivers by introducing the F1 Academy - an F4-level competition solely for female drivers. When launching the new category, Formula 1’s Head of Sustainability Ellen Jones said, “In 2019, we launched our sustainability and diversity and inclusion strategy and made a commitment to build a more diverse and inclusive sport, breaking down the stereotypes associated with a career in motorsports and encouraging people from all backgrounds to get involved”.

Drive to Survive has been both celebrated and blamed for bringing a diverse group of new fans into the sport but at the moment it does little to dispute the idea that working in F1 is only for men.

You can read our previous gender report on the series here.

Please join us in wishing Jennie a speedy recovery after she sadly suffered a stroke a couple of months ago. We hope to see her back in the F1 paddock soon.


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