Being unable to drive in your own country would be rough – particularly if you’re a racing driver. Aseel Al-Hamad, until the 24th of June, was living just that reality.
In Saudi Arabia, women have only just been allowed to drive after a ban lifted, meaning Aseel Al-Hamad – an experienced racer – was unable to race in her home country.
“Having loved cars since I was a child, today is highly emotional for me. This is the best driving moment of my life,” she said.
As the first female member of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, and a member of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission, it should be no surprise that this wasn’t the only way she marked the ban lifting.
At the 2018 French F1 GP, the Renault Sport Formula One Team offered her a lap of honour in the 2012 RS27 Formula 1 which Kimi Raikkonen drove to a victory in Abu Dhabi that year.
“I have loved racing and motorsport from a very young age and to drive a Formula 1 car goes even beyond my dreams and what I thought was possible,” Al-Hamad said.
“It is a genuine honour to drive the Renault Sport Formula One Team E20 car in front of the crowds at its home Grand Prix 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 spirit to dream.”