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Coulthard launches initiative to find first female F1 champion

David Coulthard and entrepreneur Karel Komarek have founded and funded the '>= More than Equal' programme, described as a "pathway to women competing and winning at the pinnacle of motorsport".

A new programme has been launched aimed at finding and developing the first female Formula 1 World Champion. Former F1 driver David Coulthard and entrepreneur Karel Komarek have founded and funded the '>= More than Equal' initiative, which promises to bring together some of motorsports' best scouts, physical trainers, psychologists, nutritionists, racing coaches and drivers in order to find and develop a future female Formula 1 talent. The programme will aim to "understand and minimise" the barriers to women racing in the sport, as well as providing "better scouting and earlier, ongoing support".

What are the barriers to women reaching F1?

One of the key partners in the >= More than Equal programme are Hintsa Performance, who are one of the global leaders in human high-performance coaching. With the company having supported drivers who have won a total of 16 World Championships between them, Hintsa are familiar with what is required for an F1 driver to succeed. Of the qualities identified – both physically and mentally – CEO Annastiina Hintsa says: "There is not one that cannot be reached by a woman." As such, >= More than Equal have looked at the barriers preventing women from progressing through the sport, and have identified the following: No female driver role models, thus too few girls take up karting A failure to identify and support female talent as early as male talent A lack of early track success, diverting all sponsorship and support to male drivers

>= More than Equal sets out plans

With these barriers in mind, the >= More than Equal programme will feature four core elements. Firstly, the initiative will scout globally for the best female karting and racing talent, with the best selected to join the programme. Next, Hintsa Performance will work to provide a tailored programme of physical training and nutrition to support the programme's young and developing drivers, in a similar style to that provided to F1 drivers. For their on-track success, Coulthard is set to partner with top race coaches to "create racing strategies that play to female strengths", as well as providing more time on the circuit. Finally, the programme will use its "extensive business and motorsport contacts" to aim to connect the drivers with potential teams and sponsorship.

Coulthard describes motivation behind initiative

Coulthard has explained his reasons behind wanting to launch >= More than Equal, which is a not-for-profit global initiative. "I always believed my sister Lynsay Jackson had more natural racing talent than me, but I was given the support towards a Formula 1 journey and she was not," the 13-time F1 race winner said. "To succeed, talent needs early nurturing and I’d like every 'Lynsay' out there to have the same opportunities as men in the fight to reach Formula 1 and win."

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