French Formula One team Alpine have unveiled their RAC(H)ER programme, which is aimed at increasing diversity in the sport. The planned eight-year programme will provide female racers a platform to reach Formula One – the pinnacle of motorsports.
Only 12% of Alpine’s current workforce is made up of women, and through the programme, Alpine hope to increase the number to 30%. The team have stated that they will be hiring female and male graduates and trainees at a 50:50 ratio, starting immediately.
The various steps which the programme will undertake are:
- Alpine will develop a programme to raise awareness of inclusion issues internally throughout the entire Alpine Business Unit as they aim to create equal opportunities irrespective of gender identities.
- A motor-racing section underpinned by research carried out by the Paris Brain Institute to appreciate what it takes to be a top-class racing driver. This programme will also include the deconstruction of stereotypes using research with the funding of a scientific study to definitively break down all the pseudo-scientific alleged hurdles to Formula One female competition (fitness, cognitive). By partnering with several training organisations, Alpine will establish a specific development programme with dedicated financial means to lead the first woman into consistent Formula One competition.
- The French team plan to launch a fund, open to participation by all, to finance female talent within motorsports. The team will establish the right financial package and also find sponsors.
- Backed by the team’s female ambassadors, Alpine aim to go into schools to boost awareness and interest among girls about motor racing and car industry jobs in general.
- The establishment of a long-term advocacy programme, engaging all relevant stakeholders in the motorsport and automotive industries in this transformative process.
Alpine will also work with Formula One and the FIA Women in Motorsport Committee along with other programmes such as ‘Girls on Track’ to reach their goal.
The French team will also invest in local STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) programmes at grassroots levels to educate and encourage more female participation in the sport and view it as a long-term career option.
Laurent Rossi, Alpine CEO, commented:
“Our role, as a Formula 1 team and a brand of the Renault Group is to commit to making our ecosystem more inclusive and making diversity our strength. We are aware of the need for a profound transformation of both the sport and the industry so that all talents can flourish in the future. By launching Rac(H)er, this long-term transformation programme, we hope to be joined by all the players in the sector, because it is only by uniting that we will be able to make real progress. And that would be our real success.
“We want to make sure we give access to all of the jobs, all of the opportunities at Alpine, to women. By not having a more balanced representation of women in the workforce I basically deprive Alpine and myself of 50 per cent of the talents out there. I see it as I’m missing half of my team.
“The intent is to debunk all of the myths that women can’t, because they’re not adapted, because they don’t have role models, because the jobs we offer are not for women. We want to debunk all those myths one by one and make sure that for each opportunity offered at Alpine there’s always an equal chance for women to get the job because they can.
“Fernando Alonso is 41 [in July] and he drives a Formula One car. I think Fernando Alonso at 41 is not as strong as a perfectly fit woman athlete at 30. You can drive a Formula One car with the right preparation and that’s what we intend to do. We want to prepare the women the same way that men are prepared.“
Claire Mesnier, Alpine Human Resources VP, added:
“With Rac(H)er, we want to create a true meritocracy and not just move statistics. We have designed a unique, long-term programme that relies on the commitment of all Alpine employees. The challenge is to encourage reflection within the teams but also to put in place concrete means to move things forward both within the company. We commit to doing this in all areas of the company and are leading by example. Fifty percent of the Alpine Management Committee are now female – not because this is a quota but because they are the best in their field of expertise to lead the role and its responsibilities.“
Since its inception in 1950, Formula One has seen a total of six drivers who have been female out of the total 885.