Lotus development driver Carmen Jorda has backed the idea of an all-female world championship put forward by F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.
Ecclestone suggested the creation of a new series to encourage women into the sport. Susie Wolff made Friday practice appearances for Williams in 2014 but a woman has not started a grand prix since Lella Lombardi in 1976.
Jorda, who was signed to Lotus earlier this year, thinks it is time motorsport followed the example of other professional sports.
"Well, I think society has changed a lot in the last few decades," Jorda told the official F1 website. "You see women in better jobs, managing to have careers of their own in areas that were deemed male for a long time. Nowadays you see women competing in their own championships in most sports: football, tennis, skiing - you name it - and in none of these championships are men and women competing against each other. So the question is: why not have a F1 world championship for women?"
The 26-year-old thinks there is still a negative image attached to female drivers in motor racing circles.
"When I was very young - I had only started racing in go-karts - I had a podium finish and the guy who ended in P3 started to cry. When they asked him why, he said it was because a girl beat him. That's the reaction of men everywhere in racing - they try to push you down!"
When asked why more sponsors are not pushing for teams to take on a female driver, Jorda replied: "Because they all dream of winning, and they believe that a woman cannot win in F1. That's why I think a female F1 championship would be the right answer. And there are prominent supporters to that idea, as we have seen lately!"