Honda website
Honda website

OCTOBER 10, 2001

A woman F1 test driver?

OUR spies in England are reporting that one of the top Formula 1 teams is on the verge of signing up a woman racer to be the team's second test driver in 2002. This may seem strange as there are no female racers in Formula 3000 or even in any of the major Formula 3 series in Europe.

However, there is one person who fits the bill and it would not a surprise if Eddie Jordan were to announce that 28-year-old Irishwoman Sarah Kavanagh was to be recruited to help the team next year. Kavanagh has been racing this year in the European Boss Formula, a series for old F1 cars, at the wheel of an ex-Barrichello Jordan 193.

Born in Warwickshire in 1973 of Irish and English parentage, Kavanagh started racing in Formula Ford in 1992 and then moved on to Formula Opel before moving into the British Formula 2 series. She briefly tried to establish a career in Japan in Formula Nippon but this was not a success and in recent seasons she has concentrated on the European Boss Formula which makes her the only active female F1 driver in the world. Kavanagh is supported by a variety of Irish companies, notably Eircell and Corel and this may have attracted Jordan's interest. There is, of course, enormous potential for a team to gather sponsorship if a competitive woman driver can be found.

We will have to wait and see if the stories turn out to be true but it an interesting possibility for Jordan - and for Formula 1 in general.

The other woman racer worth watching at the moment is American Danika Patrick who raced in the British Formula Ford series this year but has ambitions to move to the European Formula 3000 series this year.