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At Least Seven Female Drivers Set for Riyadh Test

At least seven female drivers will test Formula E cars in Riyadh next month…

Photo: DS Techeetah

The FIA has released the entry list for the first in-season ABB FIA Formula E Championship test which will take place the day after the Ad Diriyah E-Prix next month.

The list features seven female racers in addition to regular drivers for the six hours of available testing on Sunday Dec. 16.

E-racing365 understands that teams have been incentivized to run female talent at the Saudi test, with the country having allowed women to drive for the first time this year.

This has taken the form of teams being able to run two cars should they offer an opportunity to a female racer to be part of the test day.

At least one additional female driver could be confirmed for the test.

As revealed yesterday by e-racing365, Simona de Silvestro will make her debut as an official test driver with Venturi, while Tatiana Calderon will run with DS Techeetah alongside either Andre Lotterer or Jean-Eric Vergne.

“I’m incredibly eager to test the DS E-TENSE FE19 in December,” said Calderon. “Formula E is a really exciting space and it’s great to be able to get a sense of the series through the test.

“It will be the first time that I will drive a fully-electric racing car on track, so I’m curious to find out how I will have to adapt my driving style to drive the car in the most efficient way.”

Formula 3 race winner Jamie Chadwick will also get an opportunity with NIO at the running.

The 20 year-old attended the Valencia test last month and is known to have undertaken a simulator session with the Chinese squad recently.

E-racing365 understands that HWA Racelab was scheduled to run Sophia Floersch at the test but the current F3 driver is recovering from surgery after sustaining an injury in her dramatic Macau Grand Prix accident on Sunday. The team is keeping options open as to whether it looks for a replacement.

Also detailed by e-racing365 last week, BMW i Andretti Motorsport will utilize Dutch racer Beitske Visser who is affiliated with the German manufacturer.

Mahindra will run former Formula E race driver Katherine Legge who will already be in Saudi Arabia competing in the inaugural Jaguar I-Pace eTROPHY race.

The current IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship driver took part the first two Formula E races for Super Aguri at the end of 2014.

Envision Virgin Racing has confirmed Amna Al Qubaisi, meanwhile, as reported by e-racing365 on Monday.

Carmen Jorda will get an outing with Nissan e.dams as the Spanish former GP3 driver follows up her brief Gen 1 car test in Mexico City with her fast taste of Gen 2 machinery.

Jaguar, Audi Opt for One Car Only

Panasonic Jaguar Racing and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler have each chosen to run a single car at the Ad Diriyah test.

Audi will give official test driver Nico Mueller a second public outing after he made his Formula E on-track debut at Marrakesh last January, while Jaguar will run Mitch Evans.

“Mitch Evans will drive the Jaguar I-TYPE 3 during the Ad Diriyah E-Prix test day on Dec. 16 for Panasonic Jaguar Racing,” a Jaguar spokesperson told e-racing365.

“Our focus will be to continue the optimization of the car and team performance following the experience gained in Round 1 of the championship.

“We fully support equal opportunities and Jaguar is supporting women in racing through the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY series.

“We are proud that Celia Martin and Katherine Legge will line up on the grid at the inaugural race with every opportunity for success.”

E-racing365 understands that GEOX Dragon’s options are open and it could still run a female driver even though it did not nominate one by the FIA’s deadline for nominations last Friday afternoon.

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for from 2014-17. Contact Sam



  1. Avatar

    Old Trombone

    November 20, 2018 at 10:33 am

    – They can support us by testing before handing the cars over to the real drivers for the real race. We will make sure all the camera shots show the women sitting quietly being given advice by the engineers, “learning” what they apparently don’t know enough yet. Even though they have raced these cars before and already know about most of what’s going on, and most of these women hold university engineering degrees with higher GPA’s than the engineers who will be photographed “teaching them how to drive”.

    – They can support us by driving the spec cars in the door-banging race (won’t that fit the stereotype perfectly!)

    – They can support us in marketing and admin.

    What a perfectly stereotyped role has been carved out for women in this event. Oh dear, it’s as if Agag has literally never heard of the word intersectionality

    Formula E – what an outstanding job you have done for the earth and for our future, seriously, I can’t thank you enough, ever. FE has put engineers and drivers back at the cutting edge of science and given the entire industry a moral standing. However, this standing is now being put at substantial risk of being completely overwhelmed by a massive intersectional policy disaster.

    Definition – “Intersectionality is an analytic framework that attempts to identify how interlocking systems of power impact those who are most marginalized in society. Intersectionality considers that various forms of social stratification, such as class, race, sexual orientation, age, religion, creed, disability and gender, do not exist separately from each other but are interwoven together.” WP. Right now, FE is the top venue for racers and women aren’t allowed there. Imagine saying that Julia Gillard, Teresa May, or Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf that “you can be a state governor or cabinet member, but head-of-state is a job that needs men until these women learn more and do more experiences”…

    Unfortunately, because FE has done such a better job (than Bernie’s F1) of aiming engineering towards future humanity’s needs, FE is now also responsible for getting the whole package right. Actually, that’s not unfortunate at all. That’s an opportunity that few others get, and wasting it is awful to see…

    • Avatar


      November 20, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      I know where you’re coming from, though I don’t think the factor of where this could lead for the drivers in question should be ignored. A lot of these women are young drivers and so have potential ahead of them. Their performance be evaluated by the teams and that can only increase their chances of being hired for a race seat by an FE team in the future (relative to no test opportunity). It’s a systematic foot in the door which is all to often closed to female drivers.

      How many women get Formula 1 tests, for example? It’s in the order of one every few years. This will be at least 7 women getting an FE test on one single day. There’s also no one saying that women can’t be FE drivers, as there have been in the past. Just that for this test, if you want to run two cars, one of your test drivers has to be female.

      So yes, if you view it with an instantaneous outlook and not much detail, it might not look great. But this might be what’s needed the start the long term change we would like to see. Time will tell.

      • Avatar

        Old Trombone

        November 20, 2018 at 3:21 pm

        Legge, Silvestro, Cerruti, have all had race seats. For some reason, not right now. So women were fine before, and as you say fine in future, just not right now in Riyadh

        • Avatar

          Old Trombone

          November 20, 2018 at 5:17 pm

          To the fantastic folks at SC365/E-R365, thanks for all you do. I will not comment any further on this issue until several weeks after the race is finished, because you and FE don’t deserve some anonymous commenter triggering away down here during an event you have all done so much work to produce for us fans. Despite my curmudgeonly rantings, y’all are doing the very best work on the planet right now, and cheers and thanks for it.

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