Red Bull sign first-ever female driver Beitske Visser to junior team

Beitske Visser

Red Bull have signed their first-ever female racing driver to the junior team which produced reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Beitske Visser started racing karts competitively aged seven and stepped up to single-seater cars last year.

The Dutchwoman, 18, won two races in her first year with the Lotus/Motopark team in the ADAC Formel Masters series.

Visser joins the likes of Susie Wolff, Williams' development driver, in the pursuit of a Formula 1 race seat.

Just five women have previously started a Formula 1 race. Italian Lella Lombardi, who scored half a point from 12 starts, was the last woman to compete in a race back in 1976.

The last woman to enter an F1 grand prix was Italian Giovanna Amati, but she failed to qualify for three races at the start of the 1992 season.

Visser joins five other drivers in the Red Bull Junior Team - Callan O'Keeffe, Carlos Sainz Jr, Daniil Kvyat, Tom Blomqvist and Antonio Felix da Costa, who is acting as Red Bull and Toro Rosso's reserve driver in this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, who race for Toro Rosso, are two drivers who graduated to F1 through Red Bull's junior programme.