Max Verstappen addresses the reason behind the lack of women drivers in F1

Max Verstappen had a record-breaking 2023 with an unprecedented 19 wins


Max Verstappen has played down the lack of female drivers who make it to the top of motorsport.

Verstappen‘s mother, Sophie Kumpen, was an excellent go-karter in the 1990s, racing and beating the likes of 2009 Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

To address the lack of representation of women on the F1 grid, F1 Academy was launched in 2023 as an all-woman racing series, with Spain’s Marta Garcia winning the inaugural championship.

For 2024, all ten F1 teams will have a driver representing them on the F1 Academy grid, with the series also being a part of the support bill at seven Grand Prix.

“I think if you look at the percentage of men and women in racing, I think already for men, you know, the percentage is, of course, very low to get into Formula 1,” explained Verstappen to the media. “So naturally, for women, it’s even harder because there are less women. 

“Of course, I do think physically driving F1 in some places is quite tough, but I do think that it’s all trainable if you work hard for it, but it is, of course, naturally a little bit harder for a woman.

“But if you have enough talent, then of course it is possible because I don’t think team bosses are people who make decisions to choose their drivers look at it, like oh no, ‘we only go for men’. 

“You know, if there’s a woman who was beating everyone else, then naturally they will have the opportunity to get to Formula 1, but it’s just that there are fewer women in the sport and actually, of course, the percentage to make it to the top is lower.”

Max Verstappen celebrates victory at the 2023 Dutch GP with his grandmother, mother, sister and girlfriend Kelly Piquet | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Not losing motivation during dominant run

Victory at the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix finished Verstappen‘s dominant 2023 season, which has seen him secure his third consecutive world championship and win over 85 percent of this season’s races with 19 victories.

Verstappen‘s highlights from 2023 included a 10-race winning streak, which was secured at September’s Italian GP, as well as moving to joint third on F1‘s all-time winners list.

However, there are concerns Verstappen could retire early from F1 due to growing discontent with the sport after openly criticising Sprint races and an expanding calendar this year.

“I don’t really think about it too much, to be honest, and especially not comparing it to any other sport because it all works a bit differently,” addressed Verstappen when asked about losing motivation. 

“I think in that way, everyone is quite unique, but I love driving. I think that’s, first and foremost, the most important thing to get to be here, and of course, winning is the best thing in F1.

“So for me, naturally, the motivation is there because I know that for most of the races that I go to this year, I have a big chance of winning, so naturally, that’s great. 

“I think [it] is, of course, tougher when you have been in a position, and then you come to a race weekend where it’s not possible anymore then it is hard, to find your motivation, and then you need to try and look into different places how you can keep that motivation going. 

“But at the moment, of course, when you’re on the top, I think it’s probably easier than when you’re maybe in the middle of the pack.”

Ed Spencer
Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
- Advertisment -


Lewis Hamilton at 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton explains why F1 doesn’t need a transfer window

Lewis Hamilton has weighed in with his thoughts on whether Formula 1 should adopt a football-style transfer window to...
Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris of McLaren during the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Forget Ferrari, McLaren are the biggest threat to Red Bull

The very fact that Lando Norris was disappointed and frustrated with finishing second at the Formula 1 2024 Canadian...
Sergio Perez looks on at the 2024 Canadian GP | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Horner calls for Perez to bounce back as he heaps praise on Verstappen

Team principal Christian Horner for Sergio Perez to get back to from for the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix whilst...

Should F1 adopt a football-style transfer window for drivers? Max Verstappen is the proof...

Formula 1 is unlike any other sport, and that's fine - the F1 purists thrive on its unique qualities....

What went wrong for Will Brown, Cam Waters in NASCAR Cup debuts

The NASCAR Cup Series had some Australian flavour Sunday when Supercars Championship stars Will Brown and Cameron Waters made...

What we learned from the 2024 Canadian GP

Max Verstappen returned to the top step of the podium after a terrible 2024 Monaco Grand Prix with an...
Norman Nato leads the field at the 2024 Shanghai E-Prix | Formula E

Formula E 2024-25 calendar announced for first Gen3 Evo season

Formula E have announced its provisional calendar for the 2024-25 season, which will be the first campaign for the...
Race winner Max Verstappen celebrates after the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen aces huge Canadian GP test as Red Bull and Perez falter

While Lando Norris was frustrated with his team, George Russell committed a litany of errors and Lewis Hamilton lamented...

F1 risks repeating mistake with new 2026 regulations announcement

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali unveiled the sport's much-heralded new era of racing promising "a new generation of car...

F1 Winners and Losers of the 2024 Canadian GP

The dust settled on a barnstorming 2024 Canadian Grand Prix weekend with Max Verstappen returning to the top step...
- Advertisment -