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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Vogue’s Controversial Cover Featuring Kelly Piquet Sparks Debate Among F1 Enthusiasts

Dutch edition of the famous fashion magazine Vogue features Kelly Piquet posing in full driver's gear

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Aditya Saikrishna
Aditya Saikrishna
I am 21 years old and an avid Motorsports enthusiast.

UNITED KINGDOM: Motorsport enthusiasts have engaged in a heated debate in response to a recent issue of Vogue that features Kelly Piquet, Max Verstappen’s girlfriend.

Kelly Piquet, Nelson Piquet’s daughter, features on the front page behind a racing helmet on the cover page of the Dutch edition of Vogue.

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Nelson Piquet was an F1 driver who came under fire recently after videos emerged of him making racist and homophobic comments on seven-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton and inciting violence against the Brazilian presidency elect.

Piquet and Verstappen have been spotted together in the F1 paddock since 2021, soon after she split from former F1 driver Daniil Kvyat, with whom she has a daughter, Penelope.

Kelly Piquet’s cover triggers controversy over misrepresentation of women in racing

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For the Dutch edition of the famous fashion magazine Vogue, Kelly Piquet poses in full driver’s gear, with a catchline which says “Pole Position,” an attempt seen by many as promoting women in motorsports.

She discussed how she could allow Max Verstappen, a two-time world champion, to continue with his hectic schedule while simultaneously achieving her own career objectives.

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However, Kelly Piquet’s role as “Women in Motorsports” is limited to being present in the paddock and cheering for her partner, Max Verstappen, while happening to be born into a family with a history in F1 through her father and brother, Nelson Piquet Jr.

Many fans across social media platforms felt that the fashion magazine should have roped in an actual female driver to do the coverage. Vogue had the choice to celebrate Hannah Schmitz, Red Bull Racing’s head of strategy, who has repeatedly received acclaim for having played a crucial role in many Red Bull race wins.

The featuring of Kelly Piquet continues to perpetuate that the source of attention to women in motorsports is either attractiveness or through their famous male partners rather than the achievements of actual female racers.

F1 enthusiasts on Twitter added, it makes no sense why Vogue did not highlight women who are involved directly with motorsports. There is no shortage of exciting women’s talent in motorsports.

Iron Dames is one such group of women which would have been a perfect fit for the theme. It is a project headed by Deborah Mayer, a driver and President of FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission. 

Susie Wolff is a former British racer who has succeeded in DTM and even participated in one practice session for Williams Racing in 2014. In 2018, she switched roles to lead the Venturi Rokit Formula-E team to a second-place finish in the drivers’ championship in the 2020-2021 season.

The drivers in W-Series are another noteworthy candidate who could have suited the theme with their youth and richly-talented driver line-ups. It truly is appalling that the role of women in F1 and motorsports has been minimized to that of being girlfriends and daughters to famous F1 drivers.

Kelly Piquet’s feature in the magazine highlighted the issue of women in motorsports, which led a Twitter user to compile a thread of praiseworthy women involved in motorsports in some capacity. 

Despite the criticism, many have defended the magazine. A few feel that Kelly’s feature has nothing to do with the theme of women in motorsports, while others felt she is involved in F1 as she offers “mental support” to her partner, Max Verstappen.

Interestingly, her brother, Nelson Piquet Jr., is known for his involvement in the “Crashgate” scandal rather than his exploits on the track. He had crashed his car deliberately during the 2008 Singapore GP, which helped his Renault teammate, Fernando Alonso, to win the race.

Also Read: F1 Academy Announces 5 Teams Competing for the All-women Series for 3 Years


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