Sir Stirling Moss says women don't have the mental strength for Formula 1

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Sir Stirling Moss says women don't have the mental strength for Formula 1

Motor racing legend Sir Stirling Moss has landed himself slap bang in the middle of a sexism row after saying he thought women weren't up to the task of professionally racing a Formula 1 car.

Sir Stirling admitted that women could handle the physical demands of piloting an F1 car but said he didn't know whether "they've got the mental aptitude to race hard, wheel to wheel."

He added: "The trouble is, when you're racing, it's pretty tiring."

The former champion who won 16 grand prix titles during the fifties and sixties continued his point during a BBC Radio Five Live interview, saying: "We had three-hour races in those days. You needed tremendous concentration. Now races are only one hour and ten minutes.

"We've got some very strong and robust ladies, but, when your life is at risk, I think the strain of that in a competitive situation will tell when you're trying to win.

"The mental stress, I think, would be pretty difficult for a lady to deal with in a practical fashion. I just don't think they have the aptitude to win a Formula 1 race."

The controversial comments came after a documentary was aired on the BBC at the weekend that followed DTM driver Susie Wolff's journey to becoming a Formula 1 test driver.

Wolff said upon hearing the comments: "'I completely disagree with him. It makes me cringe hearing that.

"I've got a lot of respect for Sir Stirling and what he achieved, but I think we're in a different generation.

"For Sir Stirling, it's unbelievable that a female would drive a Formula 1 car, which is fair enough.

"In the days they were racing, every time they stepped into a car, they were putting their life on the line. But F1 is much more technologically advanced – it's much safer than it was."

The Scottish racing driver added: "When Sir Stirling was asked about me he said, "She's going to have a really tough time ahead of her".

"He's allowed to have his opinions, but I disagree with him.

"That perception, that stereotype, is there and it maybe always will be there. It's not up to me alone to change it."

Only five female drivers have raced in a grand prix, the last in 1992.