Maria De Villota- Lotus Renault F1

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Last month, Spanish driver Maria De Villota, completed 300km in a Lotus-Renault F1 car at Paul Ricard, France. She was only 1.5 seconds from Renault F1 test driver Roman Grosjean.

Maria’s manager called me with 4 weeks notice to prepare her for what a lot of people thought would be an impossible task. That blanket belief and the fact that the word ‘impossible’ was used immediately sparked my interest. My attraction is always to the ‘underdog’ and I have always wanted to see how far I could take a female racing driver’s physical conditioning.

I worked with Maria initially in Madrid twice a day for three days intensively, to see what she was made of. The result was that I was very impressed with her fighting spirit, mental and physical toughness and effort. I worked her as hard as I would any F1 driver and she held her own. We still had work to do to overcome the very male -dominated envoirment that is Formula 1 and the extremely tough physical challenges of driving at up to 300km per hr/200mph

After a month of functional, tough training we headed to Paul Ricard. She has tremendous self-belief and charisma but I could sense that many people felt she could not do the job. She more than did! I was very proud of her and I think she gained the respect of the F1 boys that day as she completed the planned 79 laps.

It was a privelage to work with Maria and I hope she goes on to have a strong racing career.

Until next time…

All the best.