Meet the first female team principal in F1

Monisha Kaltenborn and Ruth Buscombe show F1 is well on the way to becoming a truly inclusive sport.
Monisha Kaltenborn heads up the Sauber F1 Team
Monisha Kaltenborn heads up the Sauber F1 Team © Sauber F1
By Alexandra McCarthy

As a sport, Formula One's developed into a truly inclusive discipline, spanning across countries and continents, carting with it a whole circus of the highest-spec equipment, cars and people.

Organisations such as Susie Wolff’s initiative Dare To Be Different exist to inspire and encourage more young women to showcase their talents and brilliant minds, and to get more involved in the motorsports world.

And it’s not just female drivers pushing the boundaries and coming up through the ranks, now we see many more women in technical and management positions.

dare to be different event 2016
Young girls inspired by Dare To Be Different © Dare To Be Different

Monisha Kaltenborn, of Sauber F1 Team, is one of these women.

With a master’s degree in International Business Law, experience working with the UN and a long history with the Sauber F1 team and Motorsports group, Monisha is the first female team principal in the paddock.

Her advice for young women who are aiming for a top spot in the paddock?

“You have the qualifications, you have the competencies, and you show your excellence through your job and your activities. And then don’t let yourself get intimidated by some unqualified comments that you're a woman.

"What is important is that you be yourself. Don’t try to then behave like a man or do it like a man because you cannot do that. As a woman you can’t, but you shouldn’t also need to."

Ruth Buscombe- Sauber F1 Senior Strategy Engineer
Ruth Buscombe, Sauber F1 Senior Strategy Engineer © Sauber F1

And sitting alongside Monisha on the pitwall is Ruth Buscombe, the Senior Strategy Engineer for Sauber F1, who's also an ambassador for Dare To Be Different.

Having worked for Ferrari and Haas F1, it didn’t take long for Ruth to distinguish herself from her peers, but it did take a lot of hard work.

“Everything in Formula One is always about pushing the limit," she says. "Whether it’s the car, your own limit or your personal development.”

It's no secret that in Formula One it’s all about achieving the highest performance possible. That not only includes signing up the top drivers, but it also means hiring the man or woman who will help push the team closer to this goal. Both Monisha and Ruth agree that anyone who wants to work in F1 has to be able to provide results.

All these Formula One teams are so competitive that actually if you can be the person who brings a performance differential you can be a valid cog in a big team of people and be an asset.

Ruth Buscombe

So there you have it: if you work hard and stay focused, you can achieve any goal you set yourself. Including working in F1.

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