subscribe: Posts | Comments

F1 test driver Susie Wolff retires at 32

0 comments

Formula 1, Suzie Wolff retiring, motorsportTrailblazing driver admits her Formula 1 racing career “isn’t going to happen”.

In an interview with BBC Breakfast, Susie Wolff said, “It was a decision I made at the end of the summer. There was very little opportunity to carry on in Formula 1.

“My goal was to get on to the starting grid and that didn’t look achievable. So I had to call it a day.

“I always said that as soon as I couldn’t get any further I would stop and that time has come.”

Wolff will make her final appearance in the Race of Champions at the Olympic Stadium in London on 20-21 November.

She began her F1 career with Williams in 2012 after a establishing her credentials in the Touring Car Championship in Germany, built her reputation as a test driver and took part in four practice sessions.

She had her first F1 test at the end of 2012 and was then asked to increase her role in the team for the 2013 season. She was the first driver to test the new 2013 car and has been attending every F1 Grand Prix in her capacity as development driver

Wolff had hoped to be named as racing cover for Valtteri Bottas in Malaysia this year, but when she was denied this it was clear that this was a blow to her progression.

Deputy team principal Claire Williams said Wolff would not be under consideration – although she refused to confirm who it would be.

“Susie Wolff is our test driver not our reserve driver,” Williams said in March.

“I don’t think it was the pivotal moment, but it was one of the moments where I could just see it getting harder and harder,” Wolff said.

It will not be the last we see of her in the sport, but she has said that she doesn’t see a woman racing in Formula 1 any time soon.

Wolff is now dedicating herself to getting more women and girls into motorsport.

She is, she said, planning to work with the UK’s motorsport authority the Motor Sports Association: “We will launch a new initiative aimed at celebrating the woman succeeding in motorsport on and off the track now, plus highlighting to the next generation that motorsport is an option for them.

“I dared to be different, I want to inspire others to do the same.”

There are also rumours that she has been asked to be a presenter on the revamped BBC Top Gear programme.

There is no doubt that this is a sad indictment of the position of women in motorsport.

In 2012 I wrote an article praising the improvement of the chances for women, but now I fear we are going backwards again.

In 2012 the Federation Internationale de l’automobile (FIA) instituted its much-vaunted Women in Motorsport Commission. This now has 32 members, but seems to have accomplished little, which riases several questions:

Is it turning into a talking-shop?

Where are the up and coming drivers?

Where are the role models for young girls?

Hopefully Susie Wolff will be instrumental in ensuring there are more role models for future generations in this country, but I fear for the future of women in motorsport as a whole.

On 29 October 2015, Joe Wilson, sports correspondent for the BBC tweeted, “Wonder if I’ll live to see the day when there is a female F1 winner flanked by beaming ‘grid boys’?  Just a thought.”

Unfortunately, Joe, probably not. With the loss of Susie Wolff, that is, at the moment, very much “just a thought”.

But one thing is clear: “I do believe a woman can compete at that level,” Wolff said. “I showed that in testing.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *