Of bags, shoes and Formula One

The incessant roar of F1 cars doing their thing on the circuit or the smell of rubber burning up might not be the favourite poison for most women, but Kaltenborn is not the average woman


Published: Sat 20 Oct 2012, 11:24 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 1:59 AM

MONISHA KALTENBORN did not become an astronaut, which is what she dreamt of as a child but in an instant last week, she was catapulted into the rarefied air of space when F1’s Sauber declared she would be the team’s principal, with immediate effect.

Kaltenborn’s achievement is a rare honor in a sport where women are present but have not made it to the top echelons, leave alone become principal. The lady with a self-confessed penchant for bags and shoes, is now the first female team principal in the history of F1 and owns 33.3 per cent stake in the team. For Kaltenborn, who joined the team as head of its legal department in 2000, her new job is also a cherished privilege because she has been hand-picked by the team owner, Peter Sauber, as his successor. Not many women would dream of getting that kind of an opportunity but some dreams come true. Kaltenborn’s certainly has, even though she says she still has that yearning for taking off into space.

The aspiring –space- traveller turned lawyer today spends her time rubbing shoulders with team principals and says that her entry has made her male colleagues more respectful and careful with their words, in these meetings. And no, she is not intimidated by the new role she has had to take on. Instead, this stellar woman said recently that most women have the ability to see the larger picture when they are handling their responsibilities, both at home and work and that is a double bonus for those around them. Men are largely preoccupied or likely to notice their own position, she said, while women will work for consensus and take the majority interest into consideration, while forging ahead. Kaltenborn born in India’s quaint hill-town of Dehradun is a mother of two and says that while she misses her visits to India, she is trying to keep the country and its traditions alive in her family in Switzerland, hwere she now lives with her husband, by making sure that her kids know a smattering of Hindi. In fact, she says, her German husband and mother-in-law too know a few words of Hindi now!


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