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Moss: women lack “mental aptitude” for motor sport

Apr 15, 2013, 9:50 AM EDT

Goodwood Revival 2012 Getty Images

Sir Stirling Moss says he doubts women have the mental strength to be successful racing drivers.

Moss, who was the runner-up in the Formula One world championship for four consecutive seasons, made the claim in a BBC Radio 5 Live program which airs this evening.

“We’ve got some very strong and robust ladies, but, when your life is at risk, I think the strain of that in a competitive situation will tell when you’re trying to win,” said Moss.

“The mental stress I think would be pretty difficult for a lady to deal with in a practical fashion. I just don’t think they have aptitude to win a Formula 1 race.”

Williams test driver Susie Wolff says Moss’s remarks made her “cringe”.

Although no woman has driven in F1 since 1992 they continue to race competitively in other categories. Already this year IndyCar race winner Danica Patrick took pole position for the NASCAR Daytona 500 and Simona de Silvestro finished sixth in the IndyCar season-opener in St. Petersburg.

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has previously said he would like to see Patrick racing in the series, but admits it is unlikely.

During his F1 career Moss raced against Maria Teresa de Filippis. He said: “We welcomed it. We thought the fact ladies came into the sport as a new group of people was a jolly good thing. She [De Filippis] was treated as just another competitor.”

  1. ditto65 - Apr 15, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    Four runners up in a row leads me to believe Sir Stirling Moss himself lacked the mental aptitude to win a championship.

    • jziii - Apr 15, 2013 at 11:04 AM

      That’s a bit harsh. I believe he would have won it over Hawthorn in 1958 but elected not to stage a protest over some incident, since he didn’t feel it was sporting to win the championship in the steward’s room.

      I guess there are two sides to the Old School coin…

    • icemanpjn - Apr 15, 2013 at 12:47 PM

      That’s ridiculous. Even coming in second is a heck of an accomplishment. If you take all the best drivers in the world and have them compete, only one can win. Have them compete ten times and at best only ten can win, even if you had a thousand fantastic, qualified drivers. It wouldn’t detract from the other 990 drivers.

      • ditto65 - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:28 PM

        You are both absolutely right. I made a statement based on illogical qualifiers as to who may possess the mental aptitude to be successful. Just as Moss did.

  2. jziii - Apr 15, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    Well, this should go over well. Moss’s sister was a rally driver of some repute back in the day, so it’s a bit strange to hear this coming from him. Here’s hoping he learns a few things from the backlash to come…

  3. convincedofthehex - Apr 15, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    Season opener in Miami? It’s over four hours away. Come on guys, you’re better than that.

    • Tony DiZinno - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:03 PM

      The author is one of our European writers.. has been fixed.

  4. apexassassin - Apr 15, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    Hey, as umpopular as it may be, the man is entitled to his opinion… I feel he’s quite correct. There hasn’t been a female circuit driver of any talent in the history of racing. NHRA ok, there’s been one or two. But in open wheel racing I can’t think of one who showed any real talent.

    I’m sure someday a woman will come along with the talent and backing to succeed in a major racing category, but it hasn’t happened yet.

    And Susie Wolff is the biggest joke of all. Her racing pedigree is worse than mine and if her husband didn’t own $50 million of Williams stock she’d never be anywhere near the role she is in now.

    • chaparral2f - Apr 20, 2013 at 6:18 PM

      Moss may be right when it comes to F1. F1 is so different from other motorsports. We have seen women do well in NHRA, Indycar, Sports car racing and even to a certain extent, NASCAR. However, F1 drivers are a breed unto themselves.

  5. lotus49b - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    Well, sometimes the reality of things isn’t politically correct. And no, this is not just opinion – the facts back it up.

    • chaparral2f - Apr 20, 2013 at 6:21 PM

      Yes, the facts do back it up. We have never yet seen any woman capable enough of running strongly in F1. We have seen a few who have tried to race and I could name them, but overall, to be able to be competitive in F1 and possibly win a WDC is something that I have not yet seen from any woman.

  6. jziii - Apr 16, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    I am pretty sure there have been, are, and will be women with the “aptitude” to win a Formula 1 race. The question is when a girl/woman with that talent and aptitude is able to discover and nurture her gifts and then receive the kind of backing necessary in order to make it to the top level of racing and then land with a top team. I’m sure it will happen sooner or later. But it’s tough enough for a male with the “aptitude” to make it that far, can’t imagine how tough it is for a female.

    • apexassassin - Apr 16, 2013 at 11:26 PM

      Plenty of very talented drivers never get to F1 because they can’t get the backing… a woman in F1 is a novelty and will find backing easier to secure than someone who finished 3rd in GP2 & 3 for example. Just look at all the hype and money Danica generates… and she’s neither very talented or very attractive.

  7. techmeister1 - Apr 18, 2013 at 1:22 AM

    Sterling was a great driver but it’s clear senility has set in.

    Actually Danica Patrick has been reasonably successful in pro racing inspite of her minimal experience. She finished 3rd in the Indy 500 and led laps. She is the only woman to ever win a race in Indycar. She qualified on the pole two years in a row at the Daytona 500 and is the only woman to ever qualify on the pole at any Cup race, let alone twice in a row at Daytona where she set the fastest time sine the 90’s. She’s led laps in the Daytona 500 and finsihed 9th this year – the highest of any woman in history in NASCAR’s Cup series. She finished top 10 in the NNS series in only her second season. She finsihed higher than her boss Tony Stewart and teammate Ryan Newman in Viginia where she had never raced before, so I’d say for her being a rookie in the Cup series she is doing fine. BTW no one ever said she was a super model but she is very attractive as most objective people will admit.

    Hating don’t change reality. Life is not fair. Those with good looks always get preferential treatment. That doesn’t mean just because a woman is attractive that she isn’t capable of success in a male dominated industry or sport, as many woman have proven. Danica has out performed virtually every woman before her and by all accounts is the real deal. How far she can go in NASCAR remains to be seen. It took Sam Hornish years to adapt to NASCAR though he was very successful in Indycar. Montoya did well in F1 but not much in the Cup series which is a very specialised form of pro racing.

  8. purplesectornet - Apr 18, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    To call Danica untalented…well, it figures it comes from apexassassin. Over rated does not mean no talent. I saw some incredible driving out of her in a Nationwide car at Road America, in fact she got the better of Jacques Villenueve in that race. That takes talent. Basically apexassassin per usual simply does not know what he is talking about. Stupid comments from Moss, makes sense the resident Mr Negative would agree with these idiotic comments.

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