The Netflix Formula 1 series Drive to Survive has come under fire from critics decrying the lack of female representation in the show.
Much of the criticism is coming from Females in Motorsport (FIM), a volunteer organisation that campaigns for better gender representation. Their investigations found that women had only six minutes and seven seconds of speaking time in a series which had a total runtime of six and a half hours. Additionally, over five seasons of the show, females have spoken for just under an hour of screen time over 32 total hours of episodes.
Shockingly, of the six women who are named in the series, one includes the journalist Jennie Gow and two others, Gertraud Steiner and Corinna Schumacher, are the wives of key players in the sport, all whilst female drivers are kept out of the spotlight.
Speaking to the BBC, F1 journalist Claire Cottingham, who appears in the show as “the only woman in the room” during a press conference scene, criticises how female talent in the Drive to Survive is so rarely given the time to shine on screen. “I ask a question to a driver in the series and they don’t show my face, they show a male journalist,” she tells the publication, explaining, “Unless women see that they can get involved, then they don’t know they can get involved”.
In trying to attract more women to the sport, the industry recently set up the exclusively female F1 Academy. The director of the academy, Susie Wolff, also took the time to speak to the BBC about the lack of female representation in the Netflix show: “I saw a terrifying quote that if you look at Drive to Survive, I think it’s 1.8% of screen time features a female. How should a young girl, who’s eight, and maybe loves F1, how can she visualise herself getting into that paddock if she can’t even see participation or women working in the paddock?”.
Take a look at the trailer for the latest series of Drive to Survive below.