'Absurd': Female F1 hopeful opens up about sexist sponsor offer

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
W-Series driver Emma Kimilainen has opened up about rejecting an offer to drive in the Indy Lights series after a sponsor asked her to pose for a men's magazine as part of the deal. Picture: Instagram
W-Series driver Emma Kimilainen has opened up about rejecting an offer to drive in the Indy Lights series after a sponsor asked her to pose for a men's magazine as part of the deal. Picture: Instagram

Formula One hopeful and W-Series star Emma Kimilainen has opened up about a sexist sponsorship arrangement that once made her walk away from motorsport entirely.

Kimilainen, 31, joined the Shikaani Formula 1 Podcast to discuss her career, opening up about an ill-fated offer to join the Indy Lights series that she backed away from after one of the team’s sponsors turned out to be a men’s magazine.

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The Finnish driver, who is currently competing in the W-Series, a women’s only category which will be a support race at eight F1 grands prix next year, said by modern standards the proposal was ‘absurd and incorrect’.

“A lot of things happened to me over my 28-year career,” Portuguese outlet Record quoted her as saying.

“I was preparing to perform on the team but I decided to ask for more details.

“They told me they had had some disagreements with the partner, they wanted pictures of me in a bikini and topless.

“I asked what was going on, until I realised that the partner was an erotic male magazine. I immediately refused.

“Today that proposal seems absurd and incorrect, but the world was very different 10 years ago with regard to women‘s rights and equality in general.”

Kimilainen finished fifth in the standings in the 2019 W-Series, with the 2020 season cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ferrari boss targets F1 top 3 in 2021

Ferrari Formula One boss Mattia Binotto says he still enjoys the full support of his superiors after the team's worst season in 40 years and is targeting a return to the top three next year.

The sport's oldest and most successful team finished sixth overall in the 2020 constructors' championship, without a race win.

Chief executive Louis Camilleri, a strong supporter of Binotto, announced his surprise retirement last week with chairman John Elkann taking over on an interim basis.

Binotto told reporters on Friday, in a video call replacing the traditional pre-Christmas media lunch at Maranello due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that he had "the full trust and the full support" of Elkann and vice-president Piero Ferrari.

"There are no changes in our plans, no changes in what is our future," he said when asked how Camilleri's departure might affect the team.

He recognised, however, that his job could be at risk without evident progress.

"I know that my time is not infinite, certainly," he added. "I am pretty aware of the fact that ... as a team we need to do well and myself as well as principal to do well in the next seasons."

Binotto said Ferrari could hope for a much better 2021, even if the gap to champions Mercedes was still too great.

"I'm pretty sure that this year will make us stronger for the future," he said.

"Third is not impossible, I think that should be our minimum objective for next season."

Ferrari have a new driver lineup next year, with Carlos Sainz joining from McLaren alongside Monegasque Charles Leclerc while four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel has left.

With AAP

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