back to article I was once one of you, F1 star Lewis Hamilton tells delighted IT bods

Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton used to be a PFY working on mainframes before his racing career took off, he revealed today during HPE's Discover conference in Madrid. The British racing driver, who notched up yet another Grand Prix victory in Abu Dhabi last Saturday, was at the conference to talk about how HPE's tech support …

  1. James 47

    What a knob

    How many women drive F1 cars, or even work in a technical/engineering manner in the pit lane?

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: What a knob

      That was probably his point; why shouldn't there be more women in F1?

      If they have the interest and can drive well enough or engineer they should have a chance.

      At club level I have seen a couple of bike racers who could ride better than I can, why not F1 as well?

      On a different note, having driverless F1 would be the nail in the coffin for it, its already bland enough, taking the personality out of the cockpit would be a step too far.

      1. Locky Silver badge

        Re: What a knob

        I give you Helle Nice

        1. trevorde
          Thumb Up

          Re: What a knob

          "...before the race on 2 June 1929, she indulged in a long night of champagne, morphine and sex.

          She won regardless,..."

          You go, girl!

          1. TRT Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: What a knob

            Ah well you see F1 lacks a rear view mirror suitable for doing their make-up...

      2. Overflowing Stack

        Re: What a knob

        I'd like to see sharks with frickin lasers on their heads driving the cars

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What a knob

        "That was probably his point; why shouldn't there be more women in F1?

        If they have the interest and can drive well enough or engineer they should have a chance."

        The thing is that in the main they don't have the interest. That is why there is such a big difference between the numbers.

        The reasons is very well established science the the distributions of boys and girls interests are different broadly expressed as girls are interested in people and boys in things. The interesting thing is that the evidence is that this difference is innate but reduced by societal influences so as society becomes wealthier and there is less restrictive gender roles the differences the differences between men and womens occupations etc become larger. Sweden for example as some of the most extreme occupational gender segregation whereas India has far far less.

        Why should it matter if motor sport, engineering, physical sciences are mostly men and medicine and biology are mostly women? It is fine as long as the minority are treated fairly and women have every encouragement and special treatment to encourage them in these fields which it is not true of men in fields where women predominate. Why is it only ever seen as a problem when there is a high proportion of men in something seen as prestiguous or desireable and never when the is a preponderance of women or when the male 'domination' is in a less desireable area .

        Motor sport will always be predominantely a male interest. Pretending thsi is the result of some conspiracy or discrimination gives a never ending stick to beat innocent people with.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What a knob

          Hark! A man has arrived to tell us all what women do and don't want.

          And is wrong. What a surprise.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What a knob

        I already find it hard to see the personality in Lewis Hamilton.

      6. cookieMonster

        Re: What a knob

        Totally agree, personally I lost most of my interest in F1 after the introduction of rules to knobble Ferrari (Schumacher).

      7. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: What a knob

        "That was probably his point;"

        Then he wasn't making it very well, because he said it to HPE employees, not Liberty Global, or whoever it is that owns F1 nowadays.

      8. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: What a knob

        If they have the interest and can drive well enough or engineer they should have a chance.

        It is a career which starts as early as in the kindergarten with Carting. Shumi won titles as a kid in Carting long before Formula 1. For whatever reason, you are likely to see at most one girl per 20+ boy drivers in Carting at present. If not less. That is the root cause here.

        Lamenting about the gender gap at career top - on the F1 grid without understanding that it is driven by a gigantic gap at the feeding point (Carting clubs) is actually the same as lamenting about a career gap at an IT junket while ignoring the fact that it is driven by the reality of too few girls starting an IT career in school.

        By the way, while the "IT career gap at source" is much narrower (if any) in the East, the career gap at the Carting club there is even worse. There you will see as many ladies as men starting the IT profession while virtually zero trying to race against men on the Carting race track. In fact, the only country I can think of where sports like this is relatively gender equal (and it shows) is Germany. Everywhere else, car racing is a boy zone.

      9. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What a knob

        Sorry your education isn't as strong as your indoctrination.

        We all should know why there are more men in ******* and women in ******** fields.

        There will never be equal numbers in every case, doing so could only be accomplished with the

        brainwashing power of femfascism. To the white knight and femis in here - If you want more wymen in STEM then stop encouraging wymen studies!

    2. Kevin Johnston

      Re: What a knob

      Claire Williams?

      1. Gonzo wizard

        Re: What a knob

        See also: Monisha Kaltenborn (formerly the Sauber team principal).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What a knob

          And let's not forget Monisha's spectacular exit following a few years of total and utter blunder. She almost destroyed and bankrupt Sauber. F1 is high performance, high demand, high expectation and hyper expensive sport. If you do not perform, you are out, and it doesn't matter if you are white, black, woman, man or pink with green spots. Not to say that the clock is already ticking for ClaireW, unless she pulls some magic out of the hat for the next year, however, there is a huge staff exodus at Williams F1 team right now....

    3. Teddy the Bear

      Re: What a knob

      Well there's Claire Williams who's team principal at WIlliams, and Tatiana Calderon is a test driver for Sauber F1 off the top of my head. There are also women senior technicians and data wranglers in F1, you can sometimes see them in the back of the pits (though there are far more at the factories).

      There are more women in F1 today than ever, but there's still work to do - the gender pay gap is terrible (though no worse than banking for example).

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: What a knob

        'Well there's Claire Williams who's team principal at WIlliams, and Tatiana Calderon is a test driver for Sauber F1 off the top of my head. '

        While that's true you can't deny it's still something of a sausage fest, so it's a bit unwise for anyone in F1 to being throwing gender equality rocks at other fields just yet.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What a knob

        "Well there's Claire Williams who's team principal at WIlliams"

        Technically, she's "Deputy Team Principal" her dad is still Team Principal, and probably more an example of nepotism than an example of how well women are doing in F1.

    4. RGE_Master

      Re: What a knob

      Sophia Flörsch?

      She's spent loads of time in papers recently, although that was because she crashed.... Must refrain from making jokes at this point.

    5. rg287

      Re: What a knob

      You do realise that everything you see at the race is basically irrelevant if we're talking team composition?

      The race crew is merely the pointy-end representing hundreds of designers, engineers, strategists back in the factory. Many of those are women - but obviously you'll never see that in the race coverage. And that's without counting the standard business-support staff - HR/Accounts/Marketing/PR/Legal/Medical/etc.

      There are female drivers, but few of them have been good enough to progress from Test Driver to get a seat as a number 1/2 driver (or failed to qualify if they were entered). Susie Wolff was reserve/test driver for Williams for 5 years, Tatiana Calderon is a test driver for Sauber at the moment.

      There are also plenty of girls coming through the lower formulas with mixed success. 17 year old Sophia Florsch had a fairly spectacular/horrific crash a couple of weeks ago in Macau.

      1. Dapprman

        Re: What a knob

        Suzy Wolf is a bad example as well if you followed her career - she was just there for PC reasons. I watched her first 3 seasons og DTM, the final one of which included a new rookie driver, Paul Di Resta. During her first season she did well and only did not move up a grade (finishing top of the 2 year old car group) because Mika Hakkinen had come in to the series, taking the only spare place in the top group (new cars), meaning there was no progression up. The next two seasons she struggled, though was not necessarily any slower, she just had better competition at her car level. 4th season Paul Di Resta took a seat in the 2 year old car group. He was considerably quicker, so much so he was beating new car drivers (2 groups higher). To say he was a quicker drive than Suzy Wolf (or Stoddard as she was back then) was an understatement. Note Paul failed in F1 as he was consistently slower in qualifying and races than his team mate Adrian Sutil, who was only a mid paced driver.

        1. Gonzo wizard
          FAIL

          Re: What a knob

          Oh Dapprman please have an awareness of what you are talking about. Nobody gets into top-line motorsport for PC reasons, it is way too expensive to put somebody in a car on on a bike. They buy their way in with hard cash or they have sufficient talent to get a place on merit. And that includes test drivers.

          Oh I forgot, clearly it is political correctness that gave Susie Wolff the ability to lap a Formula One car in a representative time at Hockenheim in 2014.

          Jeez.

          1. Oddlegs

            Re: What a knob

            Nobody gets into top-line motorsport for PC reasons, it is way too expensive to put somebody in a car on on a bike. They buy their way in with hard cash

            Except in this case PC reasons equal hard cash. The first team to have a female driver will get so much exposure as a result that their advertising revenues will soar. I remember the exposure Williams got just for having a woman test drive one of their cars. Wolff was 32 at the time in Hockenheim. Very few 32 year old drivers get such an opportunity in F1. A cynic might even say she got the opportunity because she was a woman not in spite of it.

            Female drivers becoming commonplace will happen, no team's going to pass over a female driver for a less good male one.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What a knob

            " They buy their way in with hard cash or they have sufficient talent to get a place on merit. "

            Even those with talent start at a young age in go-karting and need many years of intense parental support. The ever-increasing financial burden at each new stage is beyond most families. They may find small sponsors but that soon becomes insufficient.

            I helped sponsor one youngster but it was obvious none of our pockets would be deep enough for the advanced teenage stages. Fortunately by that point he felt the fun had gone out of it and preferred to exercise his cricket skills instead.

      2. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: What a knob

        Women 'Wanting to do it from about 5 yr old' & 'getting the years of practise from carts up over at parental expense' -> the venn diagram overlap is near zero.

        The teams may well talent spot but they don't need many new test/spare drivers from year to year.

        I would contend there will be better 'drivers' in the non single seat racing series (more women as well) unable to make the step up, it would be like moving from a private pilot license to passing top gun via your own wallet.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a knob

      "even work in a technical/engineering manner in the pit lane?"

      What a knob you are, you might want to watch F1 once in a while. Several F1 teams have female pit crew, Force India, Mercedes for sure, and I think I have spotted a few more also. Then there is Clare Williams, Monisha Kaltenborn and for sure others I forget..

    7. JDX Gold badge

      Re: What a knob

      Quite a lot of women work in F1. If you watch it on TV you see them all the time.

      Also this is a stupid comment. Lewis isn't the CEO making hiring decisions.

  2. Joeyjoejojrshabado

    "female models who stand around the teams, drivers and cars in a decorative – and what some feel is a sexist and objectifying – way."

    If their purpose is a decorative one, then by definition they are being objectified in a sexist manner.

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Decorative, certainly. Objectifying, possibly. Sexist? Not really all that much. The women get paid for it, they enjoy it (from dozens of interviews when the announcement was made the gridgirls would be getting fired), nobody is forcing them in any way, why should we give a toss?

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        re: why should we give a toss?

        Don't know about you, I give a toss because it's wrong to discriminate on gender for this sort of role, or indeed for most jobs.

        It's the fact they're grid girls that's sexist. Like there aren't any attractive young men that could do that job! Let's get a nice mix of attractive people, all genders and ethnicities and everyone gets to perv! That's entertainment.

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: re: why should we give a toss?

          Let's get a nice mix of attractive people, all genders and ethnicities and everyone gets to perv!

          Got a point, but once you are at that stage, then there'll be the possibility of a huge backlash against 'only beautiful people' - and you'll probably not like where that ends up.

          Basically, you'll be paying to put the packets of peanuts back on the dispenser card

          And no one will be giving a toss ever again....

        2. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: re: why should we give a toss?

          The reason for it being girls is simple economics. The viewers are by far predominantly straight males most attracted to pretty women. So putting attractive women around the car is more likely to keep get/keep them watching. Sexist, yeah probably a little bit, but that's the way it's been for all of humanity. I don't get the push to suddenly pretend we males aren't simple creatures when it comes to what we like seeing. Just having some women stand around looking attractive isn't exactly going to do much to harm egality of women.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: re: why should we give a toss?

            LH called out a chief exec on the number of women. So he was addressing the employer.

            In F1 LH is not a chief exec or employer and not responsible for hiring.

            So well done Lewis, good call.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      We do realise that by getting rid of grid girls, we have decreased the number of women working within F1.

  3. Wellyboot Silver badge

    375 hours between iterations of a car

    If that's the time needed to run a complete redesign & build after updating the dataset - wow.

    1. badger31

      Re: 375 hours between iterations of a car

      That depends on what is meant by an iteration. No way do they do a complete redesign and build in that time. That's probably the time it takes to design, test, build and run one component or set of components.

      Teams generally have (or at least used to have) a B spec car at some point in the season. The B spec is to fix any problems found in the opening races and also to copy any good ideas another team has. I wouldn't expect even Merc and Ferrari to be able to bring out a new spec car every 375 hours.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 375 hours between iterations of a car

        One of my mates from school used to work in Formula 1 on the design side - in charge of the wind tunnel testing. That example is most likely the time to test changes to the aerodynamics and implement them. They'll produce the prototype component (model of a front wing etc), put it through aerodynamic/wind tunnel testing, make it for real, then track test it etc through to it being considered the "next version" of the car. Agile for cars. Break it often not one of their mantras though.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alternatively...

    He also took an on-stage swipe at Neri, directly asking the CEO: "There's a lot of men [in the audience], it's not very strong on the women front, why is that?"

    Alternatively, just maybe women have no interest in watching men drive round in circles and so didn't bother attending?

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Alternatively...

      Alternatively, just maybe women have no interest in watching men drive round in circles and so didn't bother attending?

      You mean maybe they had a choice and weren't told they were going to another three hour stand up meeting?

      I remember as a Primary/elementary pupil. being herded into the assembly room (just the boys) to meet 'Nigel' someone or other, some footballer or other, I didn't have a clue, I wasn't a football fan.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Alternatively...

      Yeah no women who work there would be interested in a hot billionaire

  5. The Quiet One

    Fernan Dellonso......

    Anyone At the Dell Tech Forum in London the other week see that painful Video McLaren forced Fernando Alonso to do (presumably at Gunpoint) where he prattled on about how Dell were Critical to McLaren's success?

    I thought they had slowest car on the grid this season.......

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fernan Dellonso......

      "I thought they had slowest car on the grid this season......."

      ..... but Alonso managed to get them to 6th in the constructors championship

  6. Rocket_Rabbit
    Mushroom

    Hamilton is a twunt of the highest order

    Fair play, he can drive an F1 car.

    Other than that, jog on you muppet. Yeah, IT is a male dominated industry, but HR is a female dominated industry and you don't hear anyone harking on about getting more guys into HR...

    All I'm saying is if you try to force it, it'll end wrong. If women want to be in IT, great, but let them find their own way. If you run all of these promotions and offer lower standards, it'll only devalue the truly skilled women in IT already.

    And there will not ever be a Female World Champion F1 driver. You can call me whatever you want, but that's biology for you. One of the reasons they're looking at a female only motorsport series.

    1. Vometia Munro

      Re: Hamilton is a twunt of the highest order

      There used to be plenty of women in IT. Seems that what changed was the incredibly toxic management culture of the '90s onward, something that guys don't like either but are more prepared to tolerate. If we're looking at standards being compromised, there's your target right there.

      As for Hamilton, I seem to recall he has some pretty unsavoury opinions on the matter of gender so maybe he's not the most appropriate spokesentity.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Hamilton is a twunt of the highest order

        @Vometia >>> guys don't like either but are more prepared to tolerate<<<

        Due to having families to support and almost zero sexism?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hamilton is a twunt of the highest order

        I am not arguing that there is no toxic management but this is just another example of the gender equality paradox.

        Stepping back if there is an inequality towards the number of men in one occupation there must be a corresponding inequality towards women in another. What is the explanation for the dominance of women in teaching, nursing or vets?

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Hamilton is a twunt of the highest order

          Yes, primary school and nursery teachers in UK is 85% female. I don't see it as a problem.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: primary/nursery teachers in UK is 85% female. I don't see it as a problem.

            I'm not sure I ever felt I needed gender-matched "role models" while growing up, but it seems to be a thing that helps many others. However, I would rather not point at the situation and say "problem", which seems to me a bit confrontational, but instead ask: "Would we get better outcomes from early education if the staffing was more representative of the pupils?"

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Hamilton is a twunt of the highest order

      You can call me whatever you want, but that's biology for you

      Yeah sure. Care to share that bone you are gnawing on, as a fellow troglodyte I would love to scratch my back.

      To put it bluntly, as long as a woman is holding the all time record for wartime bombing combat sorties (WW2 to be more exact), I do not see why a woman cannot be a F1 driver. It is a significantly less demanding job than slotting incendiary 100 pounders in between Feldwebel Schultz eyeballs at point blank range.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Hamilton is a twunt of the highest order

        "To put it bluntly, as long as a woman is holding the all time record for wartime bombing combat sorties (WW2 to be more exact), I do not see why a woman cannot be a F1 driver."

        I'm trying to find out who this is but cannot. There were plenty of female pilots in WWII, but I couldn't find any record holder (male or female) either for combat sorties, or more specifically for bombing sorties, which were much more dangerous.

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: Hamilton is a twunt of the highest order

          I'm trying to find out who this is but cannot. There were plenty of female pilots in WWII, but I couldn't find any record holder (male or female) either for combat sorties,

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irina_Sebrova - 1008. A couple of other people in her regiment are in the 900-es, but AFAIK she is the only person to cross the 1000 combat sorties (most of them bombing) boundary.

          Highest I can find for RAF bomber pilot in WW2 is 173.

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: Hamilton is a twunt of the highest order

            "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irina_Sebrova - 1008. A couple of other people in her regiment are in the 900-es, but AFAIK she is the only person to cross the 1000 combat sorties (most of them bombing) boundary."

            Thanks. I found information about the Night Witches on my first look, but not her in particular. Probably because the articles don't explicitly say GOAT, a search for which I assume only shows articles of Messi.

            I'm not sure that comparisons with RAF bomber records are fair. It seems to be comparing apples and oranges, because with the attrition rate of RAF bomber crews, I reckon it's mathematically more or less impossible to reach 500, never mind 1000. I was reading about 60% losses after 20 sorties. Even at 60% losses after 50 sorties, to reach 500 is a 1 in 10000 chance (easy with that many pilots), but to reach 1000 is a 1 in 100m chance.

            I'm not saying she didn't do it, I'm saying that Soviet and Allied records don't seem to be comparable.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hamilton is a twunt of the highest order

        To put it bluntly, as long as a woman is holding the all time record for wartime bombing combat sorties (WW2 to be more exact)

        Some of that will invariably be down to luck in not getting shot down by flak or fighters. In those days there wasn't much you could do skills-wise to avoid it.

  7. smilerbaker

    Women in F1 - nothing to do with money, any team would jump at the chance to stick a woman in an F1 car, just look at danica patrick (average driver at best), the sad fact is there are no woman drivers anywhere near fast enough, if suzy wolf couldn't get a drive, when her husband owned a chunk of the team and supplied their engines then that tells you all about her lap times (which where never actually published).

    No team is going to stick someone in the car who is 10 seconds a lap off the pace, not that they would ever get the required points to gain a super licence anyway. UNLESS they bring huge amounts of cash with them, Stroll type levels of cash, or for the older folk Diniz levels.

    I don't understand peoples gripes with Hamilton, he's damned if he says something and damned if he doesn't, you just come across as jealous idiots.

    1. Franco Silver badge

      "I don't understand peoples gripes with Hamilton, he's damned if he says something and damned if he doesn't, you just come across as jealous idiots."

      I can't speak for anyone else, but my dislike of Hamilton (despite my respect for his ability) is due to his attitude. Rather like Novak Djokovic in tennis, instead of allowing the public to make up their own minds, he demands love and respect for his ability and funnily enough most sports fans don't like being told what to think.

      He has shown a great deal more humility this year than previously admittedly, although that is a fairly low hurdle to clear.

      Anyway, with my cynical hat back on, opportunities given to female drivers are (unfortunately) still largely going to come down to their marketability. I know an awful lot of people in IT who are aware of Danica Patrick but have no idea that she's a racing driver, they know her as the GoDaddy girl.

  8. Big Al 23

    Some confusion perhaps?

    Quote from story:

    "...female models who stand around the teams, drivers and cars in a decorative – and what some feel is a sexist and objectifying – way." End quote

    I'm pretty sure that professional models are not considered by most of society as "decorative" nor their presence to be "sexist and objectifying... of woman". In fact fans and F1 teams have overwhelmingly requested that the Grid Girls be reinstated as part of the sport. One Grid Girl posted a picture of a stripper and a pic of a Grid Girl and asked which pic the public viewed as objectifying woman. The point was obvious to all.

    1. 96percentchimp

      Re: Some confusion perhaps?

      I couldn't care less about grid girls. I could do with fewer celebs clogging up the grid, though, and more overtaking, and a better distribution of the sport's revenues so the mid and lower teams can compete.

      And yeah, Hamilton's a bit of a knob, but he's also a fantastic driver. FWIW Schumacher and Vettel were often thoroughly dislikeable. They both developed more personality when they stopped winning as much.

  9. RobertLongshaft

    Lewis Hamilton is easily the most unlikable British sportsman/tax avoiders/evaders.

    Nobody likes him and F1 has to be one of the most boring "sports" to exist, i'd literally rather watch golf.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      "Lewis Hamilton is easily the most unlikable British sportsman/tax avoiders/evaders."

      He is a twat, yes. But easily the most unlikable? I guess you have forgotten about such glorious sportsmen as John Terry, Joey Barton, and of course Ched Evans and other criminals.

      I suppose you meant easily the most unlikable British sportsman except for footballers. The competition is thinned out considerably now, but I reckon I can still find someone brutally objectionable.

      1. Korev Silver badge

        He is a twat, yes. But easily the most unlikable? I guess you have forgotten about such glorious sportsmen as John Terry, Joey Barton, and of course Ched Evans and other criminals.

        Not forgetting Andy Murray or Chris Frome

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "British driver Lewis Hamilton"

    That would be the driver who lives in Monaco and the US, races for a German team, and imports his jets via the Isle of Man to avoid paying British Tax.

    Yeah, great British driver.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Glamour in F1 is good

    Just have both male and female grid people. Problem solved: everyone's happy

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Glamour in F1 is good

      "Just have both male and female grid people. Problem solved: everyone's happy"

      Well, I'm not sure about the optics of that. 'Grid girls' is considered objectifying. I'm not sure 'grid children' is making things better, to be honest.

  12. smilerbaker

    its KARTING people, not carting

  13. alkjones

    'Mainframes'

    FFS

    They were HP DL380's, you Mook.

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