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Wolff: 'Fans want women in F1'

2013-05-03 09:03

PUTTING HER FOOT DOWN: Williams development driver Susie Wollff is pushing for a chance to race alongside the men in F1. Image: AFP


LONDON, England - Development driver Susie Wolff is pushing the Williams Formula 1 team to give her a proper test to keep alive her dream of racing in Formula 1.

Wolff said: "For me the next logical step is to do the young drivers' test, and do it well. I think there's quite a big movement now, people want to see a woman in F1, the momentum is definitely there.”


An official young-driver test has yet to be confirmed but is expected to be scheduled for Silverstone in July (2013) before the Hungarian GP and the European summer break.

Wolff, who also competed under her maiden name of Stoddart in Junior series and the German Touring Car championship (DTM), lacks a super-licence to race in F1 but a full test would help.

"There are many people who think it's going to be embarrassing for me to drive on a young-driver test day because I'm going to be so far off the pace," she said. "For me, it's incredible to hear such comments. I wouldn't be doing aero tests if I hadn't shown some kind of capability.

"People forget we've been racing at a high level for a long time. It’s not like you are just plucked from obscurity and told 'drive the F1 car'."

Williams does not currently have a designated reserve driver should Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado or Finland's Valtteri Bottas be unavailable.

F1 has not had a female driver for decades; Italian Giovanna Amati was the most recent to try to make the grid but she failed to qualify in 1992. South African Desire Wilson is one of the very few female drivers in F1 - she entered a GP in 1980 but failed to qualify. The only woman to appear on the score sheet was Italian Leila Lombardi who was sixth in the shortened 1975 Spanish GP and was awarded a half-point.

Wolff has never done an F1 start or a pit stop and her role at Williams is mainly straight-line aero testing and simulator work. "People are really pushing now and asking 'why there isn't a woman in F1?' For me the timing is good but motorsport is a lot about talent and a little bit about timing and luck," she said.


F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone was supportive, she said, even if publicly he has stated he does not see any woman driver on F1's horizon because there was nobody good enough at present. Stirling Moss, generally recognised as the best driver never to win the World championship, also declared that women lacked the "mental aptitude" to compete in F1.

Wolff said that was "a load of rubbish", even if she understood why the 83-year-old might have said it. "Sir Stirling is a very nice man but the issue there was the generation gap. In his day there were many fatalities and I think for him it was this image of women not putting their lives at risk."

Away from F1, female drivers are making considerable inroads into motorsport with Danica Patrick a winner in IndyCar and on pole for Nascar’s Daytona 500 in 2013.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2013 Formula 1 season – fresh reports every day.
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