Friday, March 2, 2018

First female Saudi Ferrari owner joins Italians to celebrate women driving

 This story appeared in the English daily Arab News on 2/28/18. A link to the story is here,  and the story is pasted below. 

JEDDAH: Aseel Al-Hamad, the first Saudi woman board member at the Saudi Arabia motor federation and the first Saudi female to own a Ferrari, was a special guest at the Italian Culture Center’s event on Feb. 27 called “Saudi Women Can Drive.”
Diplomatic guests included Vincenzo Amendola, undersecretary of state of Italy, and Luca Ferrari, the Ambassador of Italy to Saudi Arabia in Riyadh.
Elisabetta Martini, the consul general of Italy in Jeddah, said: “The royal decree issued last September which has removed the ban on Saudi women to drive in their own country opens a huge market now for many companies.
“Mostly it was a dream that came true and tonight’s event is not about economy but about dreams. The two companies represented here, Ferrari and Maserati, are brands that have contributed the most in the creation of the Italian dream.”
Al-Hamad is an interior design engineer graduate and businesswomen who followed her dream about Ferrari cars. She decided to reward herself because of her successful business (a design company), and the reward was a roaring Ferrari car. She said how glad she was about the royal decree, which will have “a positive reflection for the country socially and economically.”
“I was so pleased by the decision, just like any other Saudi woman, and I was assured that my decision to buy the car of my dreams was the best decision to make. am so happy because I will drive soon in the Kingdom.”
Amendola told Arab News: “The reform decision helps use the energy of this country, especially of women in this young generation. This energy can help to achieve the reform that the government is presenting. The friendship between our countries is historical but now there are many projects that we are planning together.”
Another attendee said: “I am American by blood but Saudi at heart, and women being able to drive is absolutely superb. It rocks!”
Two Italian car brands presented a number of cars in the event, including Maserati. A short documentary was played about Maria Teresa de Filippis, an Italian who was the first woman to race in Formula One. She participated in five World Championship Grands Prix after May 1958, but scored no championship points. Though her Formula One career was brief, she won races in other series and is remembered as a pioneer in the sport.
Saudi women will be free to drive in the Kingdom by June 24.

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