For decades, motoring and motorsports have been perceived as male-dominated spaces, attracting a largely male fanbase. But, increasingly, trends have shown how women are helping to shape the landscape, both as fans and even within car manufacturer businesses themselves.

In the world of Formula One racing, tools like social media and globally-successful shows such as Netflix’s Drive to Survive have helped propel motorsport to new heights and cultivate a more diverse audience.

According to F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, in November 2022, 40 per cent of worldwide F1 fans were women – a figure that has seen a staggering rise from just 8 per cent in 2017.

The increase has been paralleled with a concerted effort to engage more women in the industry, with the increased hiring of female staff among F1 teams, as well as the invention of the F1 Academy – an all-female single-seater racing championship founded by Formula One – led by former racing driver Susie Wolff, in 2023.

But Formula One is not the only sect of motoring to see the value that women add, as Italian car manufacturer Maserati is ensuring that women play a vital role in its business.

Maserati has a decorated history in motor racing and, in 2022, it made its return to single-seater racing for the first time in 65 years, after the luxury vehicle manufacturer last competed in Formula One in 1957.

Today, the company shows a deep commitment to diversity and inclusion within all realms of the business. One of many successful initiatives to integrate women has been the Maserati Women Testing Team programme.

Bucking the trend in an industry where the majority of test drivers are male, Maserati pushed to change that by carefully selecting four women from the Maserati community to test drive the vehicles to ensure every driver’s needs are represented and that everyone has an exceptional experience at the wheel of their luxury vehicles.

As part of the programme, 34 per cent of women invited applied, and through rigorous assessments, including 30 hours of simulator testing and various interviews, the applicants were whittled down to just four women.

The selected drivers tested five different Maserati models and underwent four days of full immersion training at a test track in Balocco in Italy. Each woman received a total of 20 days of driving experience, at the end of which, they lended their feedback in regards to the cars’ design, development, engineering and marketing.

Camilla Murtas, from the Maserati Legal department, was one of the test drivers chosen. She explained that their experience was able to highlight a different perspective on aspects that may have been overlooked by male test drivers.

For example, Murtas explained that in some models, buttons or levers designed to be used while the driver’s hands are on the wheel were occasionally difficult to reach due to her smaller hand size.

In terms of the wider business, the integrated practice of diversity and inclusion has seen a rise of 9 per cent of women in leadership roles in three years (up from 23 per cent in 2020, to 32 per cent in 2023). Job applications to Maserati are submitted blind, with no gender, age or nationality information, in an effort to avoid unconscious bias in recruitment.

And, it seems the inclusivity of women within Maserati is only set to increase, with at least one woman included in 90 per cent of the businesses' succession plans today, compared to 50 per cent succession plans in 2020.

Whether it’s the professional drivers guiding you as you get behind the wheel of a roaring MC20 on the Master Maserati track driving experience, or the person helping you to design your own custom Maserati with the Fuoriserie program, women are continuing to help shape and grow the Maserati brand.

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2024-06-02T06:00:29Z dg43tfdfdgfd