March 8, 2024 | News

Formula Winter Series celebrates International Women’s Day

As the Gedlich Racing Winter Series paddock and wider motorsport community celebrate International Women’s Day, we caught up with our paddock’s female leaders to talk about their careers, and the motorsport community.

Anna Büttner, the team manager at US Racing, was born into motorsport, and has had a varied and very exciting career across multiple disciplines: “My interest in motorsport started pretty early at the age of one. Because I came from a motorsport family, I was always very passionate about it. I decided pretty soon that I would spend my life here at the race track. I started at the age of 19, after my school. I was the assistant to the race director in DTM and Formula Three. I then moved into data engineering assistance with DTM for a couple of years. And I studied as well, in technical business administration.
“After that, I went to work with US Racing. It’s a small team and you do everything. I never wanted to be an engineer, but I found it important to know some technical stuff, and just to be experienced on that as well.”
Büttner’s pleased to see that efforts are being made to grow opportunities for female racing drivers, but believes more can be done at the grassroots level: “I believe there should be more financial support for women, because the basement is done in the karting and the junior series, and this obviously takes a lot of money; not only in F4, but already in karting. It would probably be helpful to to support financially, because you can only be competitive if you drive in the right team with the right material.”

Jil Herbst is perhaps the most ever-present member of staff, male or female, in the Winter Series paddock. Her role as the spearhead of Equipe Vitesse means she has had a strong relationship with many teams in the paddock: “In our team the ratio of men and women is balanced. My team members or I bring our girls to the track one day, and they’re infected immediately! My parents have supported me in building the team over the years, until I took over the leadership on my own last year. Many in the paddock also know me from a young age, so it’s not worth discussing that I am a woman.”

Astrid Lang, the team manager of Rinaldi Racing’s efforts in both GT and Prototype Winter Series, believes that she has seen change in the paddock over her time in the sport. She said: “Yeah, I feel good steps are being made. You now you have female engineers, female mechanics, female drivers. 2012, when I started, the only women I saw were in the organisation or catering. So yes, a step forward for sure, but you still really have to push it. It should be automatically that everybody has the same chance to get the job. So it’s still this thing; we also still receive job applications mostly from male engineers and mechanics.”

Mena Esteves works for the Race Ready Organisation, who support Gedlich Racing during the Winter Series and run modern and historic events across Iberia in the summer months: “I started my career 20 years ago in off-road motorsports. I was involved with that for nine years. And after that, I changed over to corporate events. I was involved on that side for ten years, and then I changed again for circuit racing.”
Esteves is often found in forward-facing roles in the circuit office, and has noticed change across her career in the sport. “When I started, it was mostly guys from the teams. Now we can see mechanics who are girls, managers in the paddock who are female. And 20 years ago, we didn’t see a lot of women in the crew behind the sport.”

Gedlich Racing has been honoured to welcome high-calibre female drivers into our categories once again in 2024, most notably within Formula Winter Series, where numerous F1 Academy drivers competed in the opening three rounds of the season, and Ella Lloyd has made an impact for Rodin Motorsport.
Beyond the starting grid, female staff in team management, engineering, media and logistics continue to thrive and succeed within the Winter Series paddock. We are delighted to celebrate them on International Women’s Day.