Susie Wolff set to be first woman in 22 years to drive F1 car

Jul 04, 2014, 08:25 IST | AFP

Williams' driver Wolff, who’ll become the first woman in 22 years to officially drive an F1 car, says she’s confident of racing against men in today’s free practice for Sunday’s British GP

Silverstone: Susie Wolff will today become the first woman in 22 years to drive an F1 racing car in an official session when she takes to her Williams car in the first practice for Sunday’s British GP.

Susie Wolff
British driver Susie Wolff

Wolff (31) a Scot married to Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff, is keen to prove that women deserve a chance at the highest level of motor racing, and is also challenging for a racing seat in the future.

“What’s most important this session is the team,” she told reporters. “But I am also ambitious and this is my chance to show what I can do. It’s an opportunity not many get and as a woman I’ve had to work harder to earn respect. I have to show what I can do. I’m nervous, but you need that adrenaline. Honestly, I’m ready. The Barcelona test prepared me perfectly. Everyone thinks I need to show I’m fast, but I’m not going on qualifying runs. I’m part of the team. It’s important for me to return the car in one piece and not 20.”

Wolff will be the first woman to run during an official GP weekend since Italian Giovanna Amati attempted to qualify for the Brabham team in the opening three races of the 1992 season. Amati failed and lost her seat to Briton Damon Hill, who went on to claim the drivers’ world title with Williams in 1996.

Wolff has plenty of racing experience having risen through the traditional British karting and single-seater series to take part in the German sportscar championship. She believes she has a good chance of success.

“I’m realistic, it’s not easy. It’s a struggle because there are so many other talented drivers, who are fighting for the same chance. But the teams want lighter drivers which counts in our favour and, physically, we are catching up on the men too,” she said.

Females in F1...
. In 1992, Italy’s Amati Giovanna tried to qualify for team Brabham in the first three races in 1992 but failed and lost her seat to Briton Damon Hill.

. In 2012, Spain’s Maria de Villota was named as a test driver for Marussia, but suffered serious head injuries in an accident while testing at Duxford. She died later that year.

. In 1975, Italian Lella Lombardi became the first woman to finish sixth and scored half a point in the abandoned Spanish GP.

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