“The goal is to be the lighthouse” – Q&A with Deborah Mayer

FIA WiM Commission President, Deborah Mayer, talked to the media recently about her new role.....

At the TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps last month, the new FIA Women in Motorsport Commission President Deborah Mayer took part in a Q&A session with representative of key media covering the series.

She was at Spa watching the action which included the all-female crewed Iron Dames Ferrari squad of Christina Nielsen, Doriane Pin and Rahel Frey. Both Nielsen and Pin were deputising for the usual duo of Michelle Gatting and Sarah Bovy that weekend, but it was Frey who summarised the efforts of the initiative to further the activity of talented women in a variety of disciplines in motorsport.

“What Iron Dames has built here is a necessary part of giving women a chance to showcase their skill and expertise on the world stage,” Frey told fiawec.com

“I think this needs to be applauded because without these programmes trying to inspire new generations would for sure be harder.  

“We now see many more female faces in racing. I remember when I began my career around 20 years and more ago there were many fewer in the paddock. It’s not just in the cockpit but up and down the pitlane, the mechanics, the engineers, the administrators and the team managers. We now see them working in important roles and for me this is a huge positive. 

“But the work goes on. I think we just want to see more opportunity for talented women to be part of racing because in most other sports that is the case. I feel like playing a small part in this is really important and if it opens doors for other women to follow their dream jobs then that is a great thing.” 

Q&A with Deborah Mayer - FIA WiM Commission President

“It’s an honour to follow Michèle Mouton’s footsteps after she led the Commission for 12 years. It is also a challenge to bring the Commission to further develop existing projects and to bring on new ones. I am very honoured to have been elected.”

“I worked for many years in the investment and private banking industry. In 2018, I developed Iron Dames, which is a project that is dear to my heart and which aims to promote women in motor sport. It throws back on my own professional experience of being one of the very few women in a highly competitive environment where women were probably a minority.”

“The aim of the Commission is to promote women in motor sport. Not only as the drivers but in all the roles which are probably not as visible as the drivers are, but that are essential for drivers to thrive and achieve success: the engineers, the sporting directors, the marketing specialists, the people who run the hospitality, who enable drivers to recover, be physically fit, and make the team perform.”

“One of the goals of the Commission is to be the lighthouse, the contact point to allow people to have access to the motor sport industry. If they have questions, we are here to answer.”

We will maintain the continuity of the programmes, but also looking at new projects and initiatives. Continuity in terms of programmes which are already existing, for instance Girls on Track – Rising Stars, which will continue and for which we will try to broaden the access to draw to us young and talented ladies from countries which are not yet represented in the current programme; from India, Asia, South America and Africa.”

“At the same time, we will do our best to progressively bring on new projects, also to promote partnerships with other federations, already having women initiatives in place, like with the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme). Together we developed joint communication on 8 March for the International Women Day.”

“It's crucial not only in motor sport but in every industry or activity. If you have a mentor or someone who can guide you, it increases your chance of success. It is important to have someone to show the way and guide young people. This is also the role of the Commission, that’s why we have ambassadors.”

“We are currently in Spa for the WEC. Four talented young women representing three nationalities race this weekend: Lilou Wadoux (France), Rahel Frey (Switzerland), Doriane Pin (France), Christina Nielsen (Danish). For the past three years we have six female pilots doing the 24 hours of Le Mans. This year they will be also six in four different teams. We already seen talented women in single-seaters, in rallying, and in IndyCar. There is already some presence, but the goal is to increase it. If you walk around the paddock, you’ll see that all the teams have female representatives in engineers, mechanics, in marketing.”

Find out more on the FIM HERE