More than Equal launches driver development programme with first female cohort

Published on Tuesday, May 14, 2024

More than Equal launches driver development programme with first female cohort

London - More than Equal, a global independent motorsport initiative with a mission to find and develop the first female F1 world champion, today announced the inaugural female driver cohort joining its pioneering Driver Development Programme.

Following an extensive global search and a rigorous selection process, the inaugural cohort will consist of:

• Ivonn Simeonova (Austria)
• Katrina Thung (Malaysia)
• Kristýna Kalistová (Czech Republic)
• Lana Flack (Australia)
• Laura Bubenová (Slovakia)
• Skye Parker (United Kingdom)

Aged between 13 and 14, these talented young female drivers have been identified as showing high promise and will be supported by More than Equal to maximise their potential.

In addition, four female drivers under the age of 13 from Italy, Japan, Poland, and the United Kingdom will join the More than Equal Driver Preparation Programme. These drivers have also been identified as having high potential, but who may benefit from further development before joining the full programme and will receive age-appropriate coaching and development support.

The first More than Equal Driver Development Programme cohort was selected using data, intelligence, and insight and candidates were evaluated based on a range of criteria. Selection was completed using a global talent ranking system, developed in-house, that allowed driver comparisons without having to have raced in the same series or event, 2 of 3 alongside a detailed application review and analysis to understand the driver as a person, an athlete and as a performer.

The selection panel consisted of ex-British Cycling coach Tom Stanton, More than Equal's Head of Driver Development, and More than Equal Driver Coaches Jordan King and Sarah Moore. The coaches’ professional racing experience, coupled with Stanton’s expertise in developing Olympic level coaching programmes and identifying elite athletic talent, ensured a holistic assessment of each candidate’s profile.

The More than Equal Driver Development Programme is a high-performance preparation programme that supports young, talented female drivers who have the potential to develop into elite racing drivers. An in-house team of experienced driving coaches, in collaboration with leading evidence-based coaching group Hintsa Performance, will provide a bespoke programme of technical and tactical coaching, alongside physical preparation and personal development.

The programme takes an Olympic-style approach to both early talent detection and to providing an age-appropriate high-performance environment designed to maximise the potential of the female athlete. More than Equal drivers will be supported in becoming the best prepared young female drivers ever in motorsport as they prepare to climb the ranks.

As part of the programme launch, the inaugural driver cohort will travel to the world-renowned Wurz Test and Training Center in Saalfeden, Austria. Built by ex-F1 driver and two-time Le Mans winner, Alex Wurz, the facility is one of the world’s best testing circuits and will host More than Equal’s first training and assessment camp on May 16-18, 2024.

Ali Donnelly, CEO at More than Equal said: “This is just the beginning of a journey for this group and for our programme, and together we want to show that with the right support early in their career, we can accelerate the development of talented female drivers so that they can have an equal opportunity to reach the top of the sport.

“Our drivers will benefit from a programme that has been designed with female athletes in mind from the very start, when too often girls have had to navigate programmes and systems in motorsport that were built entirely for boys. Our programme will be highly relevant to teenage girls, applying the latest in sports science to their age and gender.”

Karel Komárek, More than Equal Co-Founder said: “By supporting emerging talent at a critical stage in their development with top-tier coaching, resources, and an evidence-based approach, this programme builds on our commitment to equality of opportunity and removing the barriers which have limited women in motorsport for decades."

David Coulthard, More than Equal Co-Founder added: “We are pleased and proud to kick off a new era for young female drivers in motorsport with the launch of the More than Equal Driver Development Programme. This group of talented young drivers will now be part of a programme which has been designed with their age and their gender in mind, with specialist coaches supporting their journey and helping to maximise their potential. This is a hugely exciting moment.”


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