Wolff gets full bite at F1 test
SUSIE WOLFF: Her F1 test in July 2013 with Williams was the biggest step for a femail in the formula in 20 years. Image: Wheels24
LONDON, England - Scot Susie Wolff made her full test debut with former champion team Williams on Friday - the biggest step by a woman driver in Formula 1 in more than 20 years.
She'd spent seven seasons in German Touring Car but scored only four points.
Ferrari's Felipe Massa told reporters after the final day of a young driver test at Silverstone: "I think she was pretty good. She was pretty quick and it's really fantastic to see a lady driving F1."
'IT WASN'T EASY'
Wolff, now 30, may not be a young driver but she was as thrilled as any of those making their test debuts after 89 laps and the day's ninth-fastest time of the 16 drivers - 1min35.093. The day's fastest was 1min32.894 set by triple World champion Sebastian Vettel in a Red Bull.
"It was important for me to show I had the performance," the wife of Mercedes motorsport head/Williams shareholder Toto Wolff, said. "It was fantastic. The team did a great job, talking me through everything step by step.
"Physically it wasn't easy but it was what I expected. I was well prepared.. it was completely manageable."
F1 has not had a female driver in decades. Italian Giovanna Amati was the last to try to get on a grid but failed to qualify in 1992. Compatriot Lella Lombardi was the last to start a race - that was in 1976.
Wolff has taken part in straight-line aerodynamic tests, without other racing drivers present and, as development driver, was the first to drive this year's car.
Spaniard Maria de Villota was appointed test driver for Marussia in 2012 before she lost an eye after her car collided with a truck during an aerodynamic test in England.
Britain's Katherine Legge also tested a Minardi in Italy in 2005.
Race drivers such as Vettel and Massa were on Friday limited to testing a new type of Pirelli tyre to be introduced at next week's Hungarian F1 GP after several blowouts during the July 2013 British GP at Silverstone.
Pirelli motorsport head Paul Hembery said the test had been useful: "The established performance of the 2012 structure, consolidated with the speed of the current compounds, will provide an interesting mix of strategies for the races ahead."