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Wolff prowls British GP practice

2014-07-04 07:45

A WOLFF IN WILLIAMS CLOTHING: Susie Wolff becomes the first female driver in 22 years to participate in an F1 weekend. Image: AFP/ Andrew Yates

SILVERSTONE, England - Susie Wolff will accelerate out of the Silverstone pits-lane today (July 4 2014) to become the first woman driver in 22 years to take part in a Formula 1 GP weekend.

Wolff replaces Williams' Valtteri Bottas for the first practice ahead of the 2014 British GP - and a day towards which, she says, she has been working for years.

The 90-minute session will be the closest she has come to ending what is now a 38-year wait for a woman to actually race with the men but it could also be as far as she gets in that ambition.


There are no plans for a race drive but Wolff aims to show at least that the only barriers for women aspiring to enter the sport should be the same as for the men - the metal ones ringing the circuit.

Deputy team principal Claire Williams, daughter of founder Frank, said: "It is a really big day for Susie. She goes out there with her peers in a competitive situation.

"Yes, we are doing a lot of set-up work over long runs with heavy fuel loads and stuff, but I still think you will be able to judge her more than you have been able to in the past."

Wolff, wife of Mercedes motorsport head Toto who is also a Williams shareholder, made her test debut for the team at Silverstone in 2013.

On July 4 2014, she will work through the programme Bottas (third at the 2014 Austria GP) would have carried out: that means preparing the car for the second and third practice sessions, Saturday qualifying and providing feedback for engineers.


Williams said: "She's has to deliver technically, which she's done. If she hadn't have done that we wouldn't have allowed her to progress up into the test driver role in 2013 and then the Friday sessions in 2014.

"We're not running her tomorrow to see how good she is."

Fellow drivers welcomed her involvement... Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton said Wolff was one of the few women he could recall competing against in junior series.

Hamilton said: "We raced Formula Renault together. She was great. We shared a podium together a couple of times. I think she's done remarkably well in her career. It's going to be really cool, I think, to see her in a Formula 1 car."

Lella Lombardi, in 1976, was the last woman to race in F1. The most recent to take part in any stage of a GP weekend was Italian Giovanna Amati who tried and failed to qualify with Brabham in 1992.

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