Women-only W Series 'feels like a backwards step', says Charlie Martin
Last Updated: 11/10/18 2:54pm
Charlie Martin thinks the W Series is founded on segregation and "feels like a backwards step".
The W Series, a new all-female championship, will launch next year with the aim of helping women reach Formula 1.
But Martin, who has competed in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge and hopes to become the first transgender driver to compete at Le Mans 24 Hours, has concerns about the nature of the series.
"I just don't think that a series founded on segregation is the way to go", Martin told Sky Sports News. "It feels like a backwards step for me.
"Motorsport is fundamentally the only sport where women and men compete on an equal platform together. I don't think changing that is a good way to move the sport forwards for women."
Martin says she would rather see the money being spent on W Series put into helping and supporting women at the foundation level of motorsport.
The likes of Flick Haigh in British GT and Jamie Chadwick in F3 demonstrate that women are breaking into the upper levels of motorsport. Martin believes that while women, in general, are not getting enough support, a series segregating women from men is not the answer.
"I just think they need the support behind them to help get more women into those positions," Martin told Sky. "I just don't think this is a progressive way to be doing it at this point in time."
In 68 years the World Championship has existed, only five women have entered a grand prix. Martin attributes this to the money involved in the sport.
"The further up the pyramid you are, the more money you need to get higher up in your career.
"It's purely a numbers basis, the number of women that started at the bottom who are getting to those positions, it's bound to be a smaller pocket of women."
Martin believes having support from the dominant male drivers, such as Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel, would help propel women's cause in F1.
"I think having support from top-level drivers with big profiles is a great thing and I think fundamentally that can only be a positive thing to empower more women to make this more of an issue.
"This is a big talking point. We all agree we want more women in motorsport, nobody is arguing about that, it's just how we go about that and how we make that a reality in practical terms.
"Having the support of somebody like Lewis Hamilton or Vettel, it can only be a good thing."