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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 October 2018

French Grand Prix: Saudi Arabian woman drives F1 car to mark end of ban ahead of race

Aseel Al Hamad took wheel of same car in which Kimi Raikkonen won 2012 Abu Dhabi GP

Renault stole a march on their Formula One rivals on Sunday when they gave a Saudi Arabian woman a chance to mark a special day by driving one of their cars ahead of Sunday’s French Grand Prix.

On the same day that women celebrated being allowed to drive on the roads of Saudi Arabia, Aseel Al Hamad, the first female member of her national motorsport federation, took the wheel of the same car in which Kimi Raikkonen won the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

She was part of a Renault ‘passion parade’ hours ahead of the first French Grand Prix in a decade and the first to be held at the Le Castellet circuit for 28 years.

Aseel, who is a member of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission, is a keen driver and motor sport enthusiast who took part in a training day on June 5 at the circuit.

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"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.

"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."

Aseel is responsible for creation of strategies to promote the education and training of women in motorsport in Saudi Arabia.