After waiting patiently for hubby to get home like a devoted dog (my ears pricked up when I heard his engine). I raced out of the door, hollered something along the lines of ‘kids are in bed and pie is on top of the oven’ (hopefully in that order) and left in a cloud of tire smoke. I was already 15 minutes late for the film I was due to see with my best friend for her birthday and it was going to take 15 minutes to get there. So I put pedal to the metal and aimed to get there in 10.
We weren’t up for a chick flick, instead the film called ‘1’ about the drivers, legends and story of Formula One. Since kids we have followed the sport with avid devotion. As young adults we both went our separate ways, she pursued a career in motorsport and struck up a relationship with a race driving instructor. While I got a degree and landed my dream job in a formula one team only to realise very quickly that dreams are a million miles away from reality. By the time our paths crossed again in our late 20s we were both disenchanted with our girlhood dreams but nothing could destroy our shared passion for speed and our mutual appreciation for drivers such as Michael Schumacher.
So for us this was the perfect film, add in some chocolate and we were a very happy pair of ladies.
To see women achieve the same in the sport as the legends of the past featured in the film would give my friend very mixed feelings. As a schoolgirl she dreamed of being the first competitive female driver in Formula One, she tried and tried but couldn’t get the sponsorship deal she needed. As we watched the film, she mused at how easy it was back in the 60s and 70s to become an F1 driver compared to now. But I pointed out that it would have been nearly impossible in those decades to get a drive as a female – they were too busy in the pits with a stopwatch timing their husband’s and boyfriend’s laps – known affectionately as members of ‘the doghouse club’.
Imagine what would have happened if one of those women had suggested that they do a swap and that she had a go on the cockpit? When you raced back then you were cheating death, some argue that women don’t have that ‘killer instinct’. I am looking forward to the day when a brave lass proves them all wrong. She would be brave not just because of her talent to race on the limit, but mainly because she had the strength of character to resist reinforcing the stereotypes of appearance and style as a public icon and focus on her abilities behind the wheel.
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Thanks for reading.