Wolff ready to roar in world of F1

Susie Wolff is hoping she has taken a step towards proving there is a place for women in Formula One in the future.

In her role as Williams development driver, Wolff solidly completed 100 kilometres of Silverstone’s International Circuit in one of the team’s cars from last year.

Although realising a dream, Wolff is adamant it was “no show run” or a publicity stunt, and certainly not because her husband Toto is an executive director and major shareholder at Williams.

The 29-year-old Scot has no doubt the drive was handed to her on merit, and went some way towards banishing the memory of what happened to Maria de Villota in July. As test and reserve driver for Marussia, De Villota was involved in a freak accident while conducting a straight-line aero test at Duxford Aerodrome in July which saw her lose her right eye and almost her life.

Wolff recognises the negative impact such an incident had with regard to women in motorsport, which only strengthened her own resolve to get behind the wheel for Williams.

“After what happened earlier in the year with Maria, it was important for me to go out for both of us and show everybody that women do have a place in Formula One and can drive the cars successfully,” Wolff said.

“After her accident a lot of media asked me, ’Do you feel that’s it now for women in Formula One?’ But a lot of the media were not motorsport based. Many just saw a story about a woman driver in F1 who had a bad accident, lost her eye and nearly died. So it was important for me to go out there and do a good solid job.

“I have no doubt Williams would never have let me near the car if they didn’t feel I was capable or ready for it. They are one of the top teams on the grid and they expect a certain standard before they let anyone near one of their cars.”

After seven seasons in DTM with Mercedes following spells in karting, Formula Renault and Formula Three, Wolff was unsurprisingly bowled over by her experience of an F1 car.

She appreciably wants more, but whether that leads to her gaining a superlicence required to compete in F1 is too early to say.

“On my final in-lap as I was driving into the pits I said to myself, ‘Okay, I have to do everything I can now to get back in this car’, and that is my goal,” Wolff added.

“I loved driving the car and I hope I have done enough to show the team I can be of assistance, that I can do more, more tests and aerodynamic work next season.

“I hope I’m on a path for much more opportunities to come.”

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