Last week it was confirmed that the only female team principal in Formula 1, Monisha Kaltenborn, was to step down.
Kaltenborn and Sauber would no longer be working together as of the Baku Grand Prix last weekend. The Indian-born female has been at the helm of the Swiss-based team since 2012 after initially joining as head of its legal department some ten years earlier.
But, what does this mean for women in motorsport?
It is especially harrowing as the period in which she left was women’s sports week and, as the first Formula 1 female team principal, the 46-year-old has played a considerable part in inspiring women in motorsport.
She has remained F1’s only female team principal ever since she landed the role, although Claire Williams is the de facto boss of Williams. As deputy team principal, with her father Sir Frank Williams not well enough to take an active day-to-day role, Clare Williams runs the diurnal operations of the team.
Nonetheless, Kaltenborn has defied stereotypes and done the seemingly impossible, taking the reigns of such a well-known sports team. And, she has done a splendid job. Her efforts last year were spectacular – the Swiss team was in danger and Kaltenborn fought hard to save them at a time of horrendous financial difficulty.
It is a shame that the duo has split as she was, effectively, their saviour last year in a bid to find the team a buyer.
Kaltenborn has also been a formidable inspiration for many women who aspire to work–and are already employed–in such a heavily male-dominated industry. It is no secret that motorsport employs mostly the opposite sex but, during the last decade, Kaltenborn has proved that women are just as capable as men.
Any skepticism that critics previously had over the former team principal were quickly diminished as she proved to be tenacious. Need it be said that it is a shame to see the Kaltenborn go, but CLICKON Motorsport wishes her every success in the future.