Jenson Button: No reason why a woman cannot race against guys

Jenson Button and Bernie Ecclestone
Bernie Ecclestone and Jenson Button do not see eye to eye on the issue of a women-only F1 series to run alongside the men's championship
Chinese Grand Prix
Venue: Shanghai International Circuit. Date: 10-12 April
Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra; text commentary on BBC Sport website; highlights on BBC One

Jenson Button has rejected Bernie Ecclestone's proposal for a women-only Formula 1 championship.

The F1 impresario has suggested the idea as one of a series of proposals aimed at spicing up the sport.

"We have a lot of issues that need resolving but I don't think we'll have a women's championship," said Button.

"There's no reason a woman can't race against guys. These days, with the way the cars are, it is mentally taxing and demanding but not physically."

The 2009 world champion, who is a capable triathlete, added: "I can't run a marathon the same speed as Paula Radcliffe so I'm sure a woman with the right skill set could be as competitive as any guy in F1."

Ecclestone, who is concerned about falling television audiences in some major territories, said: "I thought it would be a good idea to give them a showcase.

"For some reason, women are not coming through - and not because we don't want them.

"Of course we do, because they would attract a lot of attention and publicity and probably a lot of sponsors."

Susie Wolff
Williams test driver Susie Wolff was recently overlooked as an option to replace Valtteri Bottas at the Australian Grand Prix when the Finn had a back injury

Williams test driver Susie Wolff, the woman who is currently the closest to an F1 seat, has also rejected the idea.

"It's most definitely not the right way forward," she said.

"First of all, I don't know where you'd find a full grid of female drivers who are good enough. Secondly, I have raced my whole career in motorsport as a normal competitor. I can, hand on heart, say it would not interest me at all to win such a race."

Among Ecclestone's other ideas are a return of the much-maligned double points scheme that was used at the final race of 2014, but extended for the final three races of the year, and giving points for qualifying but then reversing the grid.

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