Formula One is one of the world’s most followed sports and one of the most male-dominated. The recent signing of the W Series’ (all-female single-seater racing championship) Jessica Hawkins as a 2021 Aston Martin F1 driver ambassador, shows an important change may be on the horizon. 

However, karting (a step on the driver’s ladder to reaching F1) is perhaps where such generational progress is already happening. I was lucky enough to interview one karting driver, Sienna, who has her ambitions set on being a part of that very change: 

How did you get started in karting?

'I heard about my cousin’s motor-racing and, since I wasn't old enough, I looked into Go Karting and ever since my 8th birthday party I have loved it.'

What are your biggest highlights from your karting journey so far?

'My biggest highlights are being the only girl to qualify for the BIKC local finals (for south London) and coming 2nd in a later competition with the U16s.'

What is training like?

'Training is every other Sunday for 2.5 hours, and every Thursday for 2 hours. Training in the mornings is harder since the track hasn't warmed up yet and we are the first to get on track. In the mornings it is normally very busy with a lot of kids aged from 10-16. There are three groups: beginner, intermediate and elite. I am currently in the elite group and there are normally 7 of us, but the other two groups are a lot more crowded. On Thursday nights it's a lot more tiring, since it's the best of the best. It's the last practice/race of the day which means the track is hot and so are the wheels. If we don't improve on a Sunday, we must improve on Thursday, even if it's by a tenth of a second. On Thursdays we have mini competitions between us. This is also when we are able to use things such as blue flags and rolling starts.'

What is the most difficult part about actually driving/karting?

'Keeping a good mindset. You could be the best driver in the world but if you don't believe in yourself or if you have no confidence then you won't be able to go anywhere. Since this is one of the most dangerous sports and the most expensive, you must be confident in yourself and know your surroundings.'

Who is your favourite formula one driver in 2021, and why?

'My favourite driver is Lewis Hamilton. He is a big mentor for me, and he is very inspiring, since he came from nothing but has come so far.'

What are your future ambitions in the sport?

'For now, I am preparing to get my single seaters licence to get into the W series for when I am 18. Then I would like to get a contract with Mercedes or Mclaren, and to come first place in next year's BIKC championship.'

To other young, ambitious drivers out there, what would be your advice? 

'To take risks and to do what you love. If you see a gap to overtake even if it is tiny take it, because it can push you to your next dream. If not, you will be able to say I took a risk and I showed that I'm not playing around. Some things take a second or third try.'

With the resilience, hard-work, and passion Sienna has, the future of motorsport looks in capable and exciting hands.