Saudi Arabia has ended the ban on Women Drivers, the Only country in the World to have this ban. The lifting of the ban, ordered last September by King Salman, is part of sweeping reforms pushed by his powerful young son, Crown Prince Mohd bin Salman, in a bid to transform the economy of the world’s top oil exporter and open up its isolated society.
Aseel Al Hamad is the first female member of the Saudi Arabian Motorsport Federation and on the Women in Motorsport Commission (WMC) set up by Formula One’s governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA). Hamad made a further breakthrough for Saudi Arabian women by driving a Formula One car ahead of the French Grand Prix. The lap of the Le Castellet circuit came on the day a ban ended on women driving on the Gulf kingdom’s roads.
Hamad drove a 2012 Renault car as part of a parade of the French manufacturer’s vehicles to mark the return of the race after a 10-year absence. The same Lotus Renault E20 car took Finland’s 2007 world champion, Kimi Raikkonen, to victory in Abu Dhabi in 2012.