Mario Andretti: ‘F1 more of a men’s sport’

Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is once again in the news for controversial statements that we mentioned here but now he has a supporter in the form of American F1 champion and legend, Mario Andretti.

As TMZ Sports reported:

“Bernie doesn’t mince words. He says what he thinks. You could be more delicate about it, but Formula 1 has been in existence for what, 66 years, and we’ve only seen 5 women try and compete and none have really been successful.”

“The bottom line is you can make assertions until the cows come home. Saying women can do it. Bottom line, they have to prove it. You can’t just come out of the woodwork and say ‘I want to be a F1 driver.’ You need to earn your way there.”

“Will it happen one day? It’s impossible to predict, but I’d say probably yes. At the same time, someone else might say, if it was going to happen, why hasn’t it happened in 66 years?”

“I think it’s clearly more of a men’s sport. Could there be some women who are competitive? Like with tennis … could Serena Williams compete with men? I think yes, but could she win a major, I don’t know.”

“If women take issue because of the statements Bernie made, then go out and prove him wrong. So far no woman has even come close.”

Comparisons of sports like tennis, boxing or cycling may not be the best measuring stick. I’m not sure the world’s top female cyclist could hang with Alberto Contador in the Alps but who knows? I think that’s his point, we don’t know so go prove it.

It has been 66 years and there are many who may suggest that women haven’t been given the opportunity and I think that’s a different story but one I’m not sure bears up on closer measure. Marussia tried with tragic results and Williams did with Susie Wolff but she hadn’t acquired a Super License.

Speaking of Susie, she tweeted that regardless of Mr. E’s comments, he is a supporter of Dare to be different and she was very polite regarding his support:

Mario, for his part, is stating the unvarnished truth of the matter but that isn’t usually a welcome stranger in these days of social media outrage culture. Don’t ask me, I’m from Missouri and our motto is, “show me”.

I’ve been as doubting over many male driver’s skills and careers as I have been females and to me, it’s all about racing on merit and earning the spot regardless of your sex. If you don’t like pay drivers, then you may not like female drivers given a grid spot to be an also-ran. It shouldn’t be contrived, it should be on merit and that will legitimately answer the question.

Hat Tip: TMZ Sports