Wednesday 16 October 2019

The first female F1 driver in over 40 years ... ?

For the first time in 43 years, a female driver is poised to race in Formula 1.

Tatiana Calderón is a test driver for the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team, and this year was signed by BWT Arden to drive for them in the current FIA Formula 2 Championship – the first woman to drive in the championship. The 26-year-old Columbian knew from a young age that she wanted to race cars, having grown up attending races, and taking part in kart racing as a hobby.


Teammate to the late Antoine Hubert, Calderón is helping to pave the way for a new wave of female drivers – she is an ambassador for the FIA Women In Motorsport Commission, an advocate for Dare to be Different, and is a part of the W series, the ground-breaking racing series for women launched last October. 

There have only been a handful of female drivers who have driven at Formula 1 level, with Desiré Wilson being the only woman to ever win a Formula 1 race, winning at Brands Hatch in the British Aurora F1 championship in 1980. Driven by Desire, published by Veloce, recounts Wilson's incredible and unique career, from grassroots racing, to Formula 1 and the IndyCar World Series, this fascinating story shows that a woman can, and did, fight her way to the top of motorsport. 

Calderón will be staying in Formula 2 for the rest of this year and, if there are no upcoming chances to join Formula 1, she'll seek a sponsor so she can drive in Formula 2 for another year. 

Speaking to Forbes: "My goal is to 100 percent get to Formula 1. I know I can do it. It is just about putting everything together in the right moment."

Our latest Formula 1 books,  Formula One: All The Races – The First 1000 (limited to 1000 numbered copies, exclusively available from our dedicated website) and Formula 1 The Knowledge (signed copies available) contain all the facts, figures and statistics that you could possibly want to know when it comes to Grand Prix racing. And who knows, maybe in future editions of these books, there could be more female drivers appearing in those stats!

The New Defender ...

Last month, we saw the first footage of the 2020 Land Rover Defender. Since then, there have been many, many questions flying about, though they all boil down to two:

  • Does the new Defender strike the right tone with its loyal fans?
  • In the 2020 4x4 market, where does the new Defender belong?

As an icon of rural life and rugged adventures for the best part of seventy years, the 4x4 ceased production in January of 2016. The decision was made following new legislation that made the legacy style, in a technical sense at least, dangerous. We saw a similar reincarnation when the Mini was reborn in 2000. The trouble with making rather drastic design alterations to an iconic car, is that people are VERY resistant to change. Especially when they've fallen in love with an idea, shape or concept and other people make the decision to change the very thing for which they have so much affection. 

Aesthetically speaking, JLR have tried hard to recreate the simplistic, functional interior of a classic Land Rover. There are nods to the tough, utilitarian style of the former model, such as checker plating on the bonnet but, let's be honest, it does't serve the purpose for which is was originally intended – so why is it there?

The vehicle of the past's appeal was that you could transport a newly born calf in the back, or a 50-gallon drum, and hose it all down afterwards – not something that could be said of the new Defender. Even if one could wash the interior, the bright, cream coloured trim of the demo models certainly doesn't assure anybody that it won't get stained in an instant. 

With a price tag of £40k, on paper it could possibly be considered affordable. However, like most high-end car dealerships, JLR dealer's money is made on the customisable upgrades, of which the new Defender is certainly not short. Official add-ons, such as a variety of pet packs, a portable rinse system and an integrated air compressor, show that JLR have obviously considered at least some of the needs and wants of their loyal customers. 

With the option of four distinctive packs – called Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban – to apply to your Defender, and more than 170 individual accessories that can be added to suit your individual needs, it's no wonder that the cost can easily rise to £100k+. However, the augmented value of a purchase from such an auspicious manufacturer as Jaguar Land Rover, such as aftercare and dealership services also make up the entire value of a Defender. 

A huge selling point of the original was ease of maintenance. Now no parts or panels are the same as any other Land Rover made previously, which means that the parts that could be salvaged from a scrapheap or fabricated on earlier models, can no longer be used by the home mechanic – something that kept maintenance costs down. Given the appeal of low-cost home maintenance, if a customer still owns a traditional Land Rover, which works perfectly well, why would hey buy a 2015 model? Why would they even consider replacing their old workhorse when it still serves its purpose so well?

Are you a fan of all things Land Rover, and want to know more about how their designs and uses have changed over the years? Land Rover Design – which has been shortlisted for The Royal Automobile Club's Book of the Year Award – charts the many design changes that have occurred over its 70 year history, whereas Land Rover Emergency Vehicles shows that the much loved Landy is more than just a farm vehicle. If you're looking to purchase your own classic Land Rover, we have a range of Essential Buyers Guides, plus our expert guide on the Land Rover Series I-III