JEDDAH: The Women’s World Car of the Year has welcomed Aseel Al-Hamad, who serves as Saudi Arabia’s representative at the FIA Women in Motorsports Commission and is a board member at the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, to its global panel of judges.
The award distinguishes itself as the sole global car awards program that highlights the role of women in the car world and chooses the best cars of the year. It was founded by New Zealand motoring journalist Sandy Myhre in 2019 and is exclusively comprised of female motoring journalists. With Al-Hamad’s recent inclusion, the panel now boasts 74 judges from 50 nations.
On her appointment, Al-Hamad said: “I am incredibly proud of my new role supporting Women’s World Car of the Year, as we are aligned in our mission to enhance female empowerment in the automotive and motorsport industry. This has traditionally been perceived as a male dominant world, and through our work, we are dedicated to correct the balance.”
I am incredibly proud of my new role supporting Women’s World Car of the Year, as we are aligned in our mission to enhance female empowerment in the automotive and motorsport industry.
Aseel Al-Hamad, Saudi motosports pioneer
As a prominent figure in the industry, she regularly addresses and guides the Saudi workforce, and frequently appears in the media to advocate for women’s empowerment, serving as an inspiring symbol of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 for leadership and constructive transformation.
Al-Hamad is a strong supporter of motorsports. She acquired the skill of driving in Dubai long before women were permitted to drive in Saudi Arabia. Her journey in racing began as early as 2000 when she tested her abilities in amateur competitions, establishing herself as a notable female figure in the automotive world.
Al-Hamad’s most recent endeavor involves co-founding STEER, a Saudi travel company with a license that focuses on organizing supercar automotive tours to showcase the stunning landscapes of Saudi Arabia. Their primary objective is to boost domestic tourism within the Kingdom by offering immersive automotive experiences.
In a significant milestone for the region’s history, in June 2018, Al-Hamad participated in an event at Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France, as a guest of Renault. This event celebrated the historic moment when the ban on female driving in Saudi Arabia was lifted.
Al-Hamad made history as the first Saudi Arabian woman to import and possess a Ferrari since 2012, a significant milestone that preceded the granting of driving rights to women in Saudi Arabia. Her exceptional talent and unwavering dedication led her to actively participate in numerous amateur tournaments, ultimately earning her a coveted membership within the International Automobile Federation.
Her appointment to the jury of the Women’s World Car of the Year underscores the evolving roles that women are assuming in Saudi Arabia, particularly within the realms of sports and entertainment. This shift has been facilitated by the Vision 2030 initiative, which has created numerous business and investment opportunities within the country.
Saudi Arabia has made substantial investments in attracting prestigious sporting and automotive events in recent years as part of its Vision 2030 agenda. The nation has successfully hosted major global events for the first time in its history, including the Dakar Rally, Formula E and Formula One races, among others. Additionally, a state-of-the-art racing track was constructed to accommodate F1 racing, beginning in 2021.
The Kingdom has also signed agreements to host the MotoGP, and the World Rally Championship round. There are plans for developing the racing industry and the country introduced Formula 4 academies for young drivers, and is constructing a permanent circuit where the Grand Prix will take place in 2026.
Women’s World Car of the Year seeks to acknowledge the finest cars of the year while amplifying the voices of women in the automotive industry. The criteria for voting are based on the same principles that guide anyone in selecting a car, without gender bias. Factors such as safety, quality, price, design, ease of driving, benefits and environmental impact, among others, are all taken into account when casting votes.