The announcement that Marussia have employed the female race driver Maria De Villota has sparked the old argument taken up by many F1 fans the world over; why aren't there any female drivers in Formula One?
It's true that in recent years there have been no female drivers gracing the Formula One scene and the sports history there have been fewer than a handful. However, rather than look at this with the presumption that women are actively prevented from driving in Formula One, let's look at this from a simple statistical and factual point of view.
It is a statistical fact that vastly fewer women than men are interested in Formula One and so stands to reason that even less women actually attempt to achieve this goal. Add to this the not so obvious statistical fact that, in any one race season, there are no more than 24 human beings that are good enough to drive the massively challenging, powerful and agile cars. Speaking from personal experience, thousands of people would love to have the skill and stamina to be an F1 driver. Finally, F1 drivers need to be of a certain physical stature and even for some of them (the tall ones like Mark Webber and Justin Wilson) their physique is borderline when it comes to fitting in to a Formula One car; women have a very different body structure entirely. True, the teams could design the cars to fit but, with Formula One the way it is, what team is going to go to the expense?
With all this in mind; skill and ability, body shape and athleticism, and ultimately (arguably most importantly) the actual interest in being involved, then surely it's understandable that female drivers in F1 just doesn't happen. However, theres no prejudiced reason why not and I would love to see Marie De Villota get a first seat drive!