The Rise of Women in Racing: Pioneers and Trailblazers

Monisha Kaltenborn

Formula racing has long been a male-dominated sport, but in recent years there has been a significant rise in the participation of women in various roles. As we celebrate the success of these trailblazers, it is essential to look back at the pioneers who broke the barriers and paved the way for a new generation of female talent in motorsport.

Maria Teresa de Filippis – The First Woman to Compete in Formula 1

Maria Teresa de Filippis was a trailblazer in the world of motorsport. In 1958, she became the first woman to compete in a Formula 1 race, driving a Maserati in the Belgian Grand Prix. Although she only participated in a total of five World Championship events, de Filippis laid the foundation for other women to follow in her footsteps.



Lella Lombardi – The Only Woman to Score Points in Formula 1

Lella Lombardi, an Italian racer, is the most successful female driver in Formula 1 history. In 1975, she became the first and only woman to score championship points, finishing sixth in the Spanish Grand Prix. Lombardi’s achievement remains unmatched, but her success serves as inspiration for future generations of female racers.

Monisha Kaltenborn – The First Female Team Principal in Formula 1

In 2012, Monisha Kaltenborn made history as the first female team principal in Formula 1. She took the reins at Sauber and played a crucial role in guiding the team’s operations and decision-making. Her leadership opened doors for women in executive roles within the sport, demonstrating that they could excel in positions of power and responsibility.

Susie Wolff – Paving the Way for Women as Test and Development Drivers

Susie Wolff, a former DTM driver, made her mark on Formula 1 as a test driver for Williams Racing. In 2014, she became the first woman in over two decades to participate in an official F1 weekend session. Although Wolff never secured a race seat, her determination and skill set a precedent for women pursuing roles as test and development drivers.

Tatiana Calderón – A Modern-Day Trailblazer in Formula Racing

Tatiana Calderón, a Colombian driver, has emerged as one of the most prominent female racers in recent years. She served as a test and development driver for Sauber and later Alfa Romeo Racing, competing in various junior formula series. Calderón has become a role model for aspiring female drivers and continues to push for greater opportunities in the sport.

The W Series – A Platform for Female Racers to Excel

The W Series, an all-female single-seater championship, was established in 2019 to provide women with a dedicated platform to hone their skills and advance their racing careers. The series has showcased the talent and potential of female racers and aims to promote greater gender diversity in motorsport.


The rise of women in Formula racing is a testament to the perseverance and determination of pioneers and trailblazers who defied the odds in a male-dominated sport. As more women continue to break barriers and excel in various roles, the future of motorsport looks brighter, more diverse, and more competitive than ever before.