LE CASTELLET, France: Renault stole a march on their Formula One rivals on Sunday when they gave a Saudi Arabian woman a chance to mark a special day by driving one of their cars ahead of Sunday’s French Grand Prix.
On the same day that women celebrated being allowed to drive on the roads of Saudi Arabia, Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of her national motorsport federation, took the wheel of the same car in which Kimi Raikkonen won the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
She was part of a Renault ‘passion parade’ hours ahead of the first French Grand Prix in a decade and the first to be held at the Le Castellet circuit for 28 years.
Al-Hamad who is a member of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission, is a keen driver and motorsport enthusiast who took part in a training day on June 5 at the circuit.
"I have loved racing and motorsport from a very young age and to drive a Formula One car goes even beyond my dreams and what I thought was possible.
"It is a genuine honour to drive in front of the crowds at the team’s home race in France.
"I hope doing so on the day when women can drive on the roads in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shows what you can do if you have the passion and the spirit to dream."
Aseel is responsible for creation of strategies to promote the education and training of women in motorsport in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Hamad had celebrated the end of the ban on women drivers with a lap of honour in a Jaguar F-TYPE.
Al-Hamad, the first female board member of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, had never driven on a track in her home country before.
Al-Hamad joined Jaguar in a call for June 24thto be known as World Driving Day – a day when finally, the whole world can enjoy the thrill of being behind the wheel of a car. On World Driving Day Jaguar invites people to share a memory of their best driving moment (image or anecdote) using the #worlddrivingday.