BAR founder looking to create F1 team with 50/50 gender split

'Formula Equal' project aiming for 2026 debut with gender equity across entire organisation.
  • Team would be based in the Middle East
  • Funding rumoured to come from Saudi Arabia
  • Outfit looking to debut in 2026

British American Racing (BAR) founder Craig Pollock is looking to set up a new Formula One team with a 50/50 gender split across the organisation.

Positions at the team would be split equally throughout, from the boardroom to the drivers of the cars. The ‘Formula Equal’ project would represent the first team with 50 per cent men and 50 per cent women in the series’ history.

BAR was a constructor that competed in Formula One between 1999 and 2005, with the team now being owned by Mercedes.

The current plan would see the new team potentially debut in 2026, having been one of a number to have applied through the new entry process laid out by the International Automobile Federation (FIA) earlier this year.

“Our ambition to deliver and build opportunities and pathways for women to get to the very top level inside motorsports,” Pollock told CNN Sport.

“The concept and the idea was to try and build a Formula One team, 50 per cent male, 50 per cent female, which is extremely hard to do if you have an existing Formula One team; it’s a lot easier with a clean sheet of paper.”

Reports are that the team will be based in the Middle East, which appears to confirm rumours that surfaced at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix that the Gulf state was looking to invest in a team of its own. 

Those investment rumours were linked to Craig Pollock, which would offer an explanation as to how Formula Equal would afford the vast sums required to enter Formula One, but he refused to comment on any links.

“We are in intense discussions with I would just say a Gulf area country,” explained Pollock. “I’m not really in the position to talk about that and be fully open about it at this present time – that will come out in the very near future. And I just hope it’s going to work because … it does take a lot of money.”

Having a mixed gender team would represent a big step for both Formula One and Saudi Arabia, though. The series has not had a female driver take part in a Grand Prix weekend since Susie Wolff in 2014, while Saudi Arabia only allowed women to start driving as recently as 2018.

Martin Whitaker, chief executive of the Saudi Motorsport Company, told BlackBook Motorsport that his organisation's workforce is 40 per cent female, highlighting the progress the country has already made in this area.

This forms part of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 framework, which is to afford more opportunities to women in a country where women’s rights have historically been severely restricted.

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