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Saudi Woman Marks End Of Ban By Driving Formula One Car

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Saudi Woman Marks End Of Ban By Driving Formula One Car

Yesterday saw a landmark day in Saudi Arabian history as a decades-old ban on women being allowed to drive cars was lifted in the Kingdom.

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Last month saw the first women given their official driving licences, and then yesterday they were officially permitted to start their engines.

Well, one Saudi woman took things from nought to 100 in pretty short order yesterday as she became the first Saudi Arabian woman to get behind the wheel of a Formula One car, reports the Daily Mail.

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Formula One team Renault decided to mark the special day by letting Aseel Al-Hamad, who is the first ever female member of Saudi Arabia's motorsport federation and a member of the FIA (International Automobile Federation) Women in Motorsport Commission, take the wheel of their F1 car ahead of the French Grand Prix on Sunday.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

In actual fact, she took part in a training day on 5 June, but she took part in a Renault 'passion parade' ahead of the showpiece race at Le Castellet circuit, which was won by Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

Al-Hamad said: "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.

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"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."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The car in question was actually the race car in which Renault's Kimi Raikkonen won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix back in 2012.

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Al-Hamad has played a big part in the creation of plans and strategies for women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to learn and be trained in motorsports.

Despite this loosening of the rules regarding women behind the wheel, the Saudi government is still cracking down on activists who campaigned for women to be allowed to drive, according to human rights group Amnesty.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Yesterday they tweeted a video imploring the Saudi King Salman to free the activists who face lengthy prison sentences.

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The video was accompanied by the caption: "Today, the driving ban has been lifted in Saudi. Today, there is no stopping women to drive. Except those who fought for this right! Jailed and branded 'traitors' by Saudi Arabia. Tell King Salman to free Saudi activists now!"

The ban ended at midnight Saudi Arabian time yesterday.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Formula One, Saudi Arabia, World News, News, F1, Car

Tom Wood
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