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Saudi woman drives F1 car to mark end of ban

© AFP | A Saudi woman behind the wheel after the lifting of the ban on women driving, with Renault marking the occasion at the French Grand Prix

LE CASTELLET (FRANCE) (AFP) - 

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.

"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.

© 2018 AFP