VALENCIA, Spain — Hankook Tire & Technology Co. Ltd. has agreed to become the "presenting partner" of an international initiative to support gender equality in motor racing, with a special focus on attracting younger girls to motorsports.
The initiative, "Girls on Track," is the work of the Federation International de l'Automobile (FIA) and has been associated with the FIA's Formula E series for single-seat, open-wheel electric racers for the past eight years.
Hankook's involvement coincides with its first year as Formula E's spec tire supplier.
The FIA will host invited participants during the 2023 season at four Formula E race weekends: Mexico City (Jan. 13-14), Diriyah, Saudi Arabia (Jan. 26-87), São Paulo, Brazil (March 24-25), and Jakarta, Indonesia (July 2-4).
The program for Season 9 will include additional workshops and behind-the-scenes insights for girls and young women ages of 12-18. All the races will feature a stronger focus on education, discussions about career planning and gathering practical motorsport experience, Hankook said.
The goal of the one-day events is to introduce girls to the allure of motorsport and show them career opportunities. Only about 1.5% of all competition driving licenses are held by women, Hankook said.
In addition to around 100 participants attending the events at the four circuits, the program will offer virtual meetings, allowing girls to access the experience of inspirational female executives from the entire championship, including teams and partners.
Virtual participation will also be possible for the first time. Hankook will be presenting its involvement for social sustainability and gender diversity alongside current partners ABB and FIA.
Manfred Sandbichler, Hankook motorsport director Europe, said Hankook is "delighted" to be able to add its know-how to the Girls on Track program.
"With the topic of tires," he said, "we are presenting another aspect of professional motorsport. The Hankook team wants to use our involvement in Formula E to offer the youngsters a fascinating insight into what goes on behind the scenes in motorsport.
Julia Palle, Formula E sustainability director, added: "We are excited to team up with our technical partner Hankook to deliver an expanded and more immersive experience for young girls who are interested in exploring the opportunities of a future in the world of motorsport and Formula E."
In its fifth year, FIA Girls on Track has hosted 1,800 young women at 11 Formula E races and at six different race locations, where they took part in career discussions, kart races and media workshops.