Damon Hill: Competitive woman in F1 'extremely unlikely'

Damon Hill speaks to ITV about the comments made by Bernie Ecclestone about women in F1 Credit: ITV News Central

Former British Formula One World Champion Damon Hill has told ITV News that it is "extremely unlikely" that a competitive female will race in Formula One in his lifetime.

Damon Hill, who won the F1 world title in 1996, was celebrating 20 years since his championship victory at the Autosport show at the NEC in Birmingham.

When asked if he was surprised that in the years since his championship victory there had not been a female in Formula One, Hill said: "I'm absolutely assured by my wife and my two daughters there is no reason in the world why a woman couldn't beat a man but I do have my doubts because I think that it's very very tough even for the guys to be competitive."

His comments came after Formula One boss, Bernie Ecclestone, said that a female on the grid would not be taken seriously.

About Ecclestone's comments, Hill said: "Bernie likes to say something which is controversial and he's challenging you [...] he likes to say something provocative and hopefully some people will say ok we'll prove him wrong but it shouldn't be done on the basis of that it should be on the basis of is there someone out there a girl who absolutely above everything else wants to become a Formula One world champion."

Damon Hill, who is now a pundit for the sport, said that he believes the numbers of women entering the sport are too low. A campaign was launched this week to help increase the numbers of females getting involved in motorsport.The campaign is being backed by former Williams test driver Susie Wolff who announced her retirement from F1 last year after she failed to make it to the grid.

The latest figures from the Motor Sports Association should that only 8 percent of race licence holders in the UK are female.