2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button is calling for more gender parity in the motoring industry. The former F1 champion made an appearance alongside a number speakers at the Formula Student World Finals in Silverstone.
Aside from women having driving roles, he pledged his support behind female engineers. He said that they are already making a big difference in motor sport. However, there needs to be a higher percentage in order to address imbalances.
“It vital to push for more women working in mechanical engineering,” Button argued.
“Many Le Mans championships have been won by female engineers so there is obviously no reason why more females can’t get involved, including the driving.
“I’ve worked with very competitive women at the highest levels of engineering, but we need many more to enter the field.
“I’m here today to help inspire the next generation of engineers and to highlight the importance of support provided by Santander Universities.”
Currently, the UK has a low number of female engineering and technology undergraduates. Just 15.8 per cent of the female students partake in related courses.
According to surveys, 11 per cent of the current engineering workforce is female. This makes UK home to the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe.
Head of Vehicle Performance at Williams F1 Rob Smedley said: “I think engineering has a real image problem that we need to work on.
“We get nowhere near enough females in the Formula 1 workplace.
“It’s getting better, but it’s nowhere near enough.
“I always try to get as many females into my group as possible because it’s an alpha male environment, and when you put girls into that mix then they act like the control rod.
“And what you get is a much better product.”
Accord to Matt Hutnell, UK Director of Santander Universities “The reason we give back to higher education is that they are the future of society.
“In the UK Santander’s purpose is to help people and businesses to prosper, and there is not anything that we do that epitomises that more than what we are doing today and supporting higher education in general.”
There have already been female personnel in F1 and other motorsports. A prime example is former Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn. Also, the Venturi Formula E team will be headed by Susie Wolff for season 5 beginning in December.