UNDER DEVELOPMENT: Spanish female racer Carmen Jorda, 26, has joined the Lotus F1 team as a development driver. Image: Facebook
BARCELONA, Spain - Spanish female racer Carmen Jorda will be a development driver for Lotus this season, the Formula 1 team announced on Thursday (Feb 26 2015).
The 26-year-old appeared in the GP3 junior series in 2014 with little success, failing to finish in the top 10 with a car that then proved a winner when it was put in the hands of Britain's Dean Stoneman.
Lotus said she would attend races and F1 tests through 2015 and spend time in the team's simulator. Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado and France's Romain Grosjean are the regular race drivers.
'DREAM TO DRIVE F1'
Jorda has also competed in the Indy Lights series in the United States. She will drive the 2015 car on a track at some point.
"I've been racing since I was 10 so it was my dream to drive an F1 car since I was very young," Jorda said. "Joining Lotus F1 Team is a big step towards my goal."
She is still, however, a long way from getting a superlicence to race.
"I will be working to improve myself as a driver as well as helping the team to develop the car by testing new developments in the simulator."
F1 has not had a female race driver since Italian Giovanna Amati failed to qualify with Brabham in 1992, although Britain's Susie Wolff is a test-driver for Williams.
Lotus' chief executive officer Matthew Carter said: "We're looking forward to working with her over the course of the season and ultimately seeing her behind the wheel of the car. We have a strong programme for her to attend Grands Prix as well as extensive time in our sophisticated simulation facility at Enstone (UK HQ).
"She is a unique addition to the team and we are looking forward to helping her progress her goals as well as receiving the benefit of her insights and contributions to the development of the E23 Hybrid."
Carmen is the daughter of former racing driver Jose Miguel Jorda. She has spent three seasons in GP3 where her best race finish was 13th.
NOT ALL IN FAVOUR...
GMM reports, however, that news of another female driver knocking on F1's door did not go down well universally. As Baldwin reported, Jorda didn't finish a race in the top 10 despite the same car proving "a winner when it was put in the hands of Britain's Dean Stoneman" and Rob Cregan, who was Jorda's GP3 team mate in 2012, said on Twitter: "Carmen Jorda couldn't develop a roll of film let alone a hybrid F1 car."
He was among a number of people who suspect her signing was more about gender, appearance and money.
Cregan added: "F1 is about talent, not money and nagging up fake positions."
Another of Jorda's on-track rivals, 2014 GP3 race-winner Richie Stanaway, reacted to the news on Twitter simply with the comment "LOL" while Mitch Evans, GP3's 2012 champion and a race winner in GP2, F1's feeder series, in 2014, used his Twitter identity to tell Lotus: "It's not April 1st yet".