Renault extended a brilliant gesture to a Saudi Arabian woman when they invited her to drive their F1 car on the eve of the French Grand Prix this weekend. It was done to celebrate the government lifting the rule which prohibited women from driving in Saudi Arabia.
Aseel Al-Hamad is the first female member of the National Motorsport Federation in Saudi Arabia and is an avid motorsport enthusiast and a keen driver herself. She is also a member of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission.
An ecstatic Hamad was thrilled at the opportunity. “I have loved racing and motorsport from a very young age and to drive a F1 car goes even beyond my dreams and what I thought was possible”, she said.
“It is a genuine honour to drive in front of the crowds at the team’s home race in France. I hope doing so on the day when women can drive on the roads in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shows what you can do if you have the passion and the spirit to dream.”
She will take the wheel of the 2012 Lotus-Renault, the same car in which Kimi Raikkonen won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that year. She is a part of the Renault ‘passion parade’, which is being held to commemorate the return of the French Grand Prix in a decade.
As part of her role in the commission, Al-Hamad is responsible for creating strategies to promote education and training of women in motorsport in Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Renault’s Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg qualified 7th and 12th respectively at the team’s home Grand Prix. It was a relatively poor performance considering their recent results, but they have two very capable drivers.
They will be looking to make up places early and gain the advantage to give the home fans something to cheer about at the end of the race.