By Berthold Bouman
Mercedes won their first Formula One race at the Shanghai International Circuit last year, this year the German team hopes to close the gap on their rivals, and more important, the Silver Arrows team must keep developing the car in order to battle at the front.
Toto Wolff: Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games
Mercedes Motorsport Director Toto Wolff thinks it is difficult to repeat last year’s success at the Shanghai track. “One year on from Nico’s win, a lot of people will be asking whether this is something our team can repeat in 2013. But like they say, yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games, and that’s definitely true for us. We start again from zero this year and need to work hard to adapt the car to suit the circuit and the tyre compounds we have available, in the conditions that we find on track next weekend,” said the Austrian.
Mercedes has planned more new parts for China and Wolff said, “We have made a solid start to the season in the first two races with Nico and Lewis both performing at a very high and equal level. The development race will be critical this season so we have more new parts planned for China. Our aim has to be to improve on our good start to the season and continue scoring good points in both championships.”
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton – Photo: Mercedes Benz
Lewis Hamilton: We’ve had a better start than we expected
Lewis Hamilton is looking forward to race again after the three-week break. “My first two races with my new team have been a great experience and everyone has made me feel so welcome. We’ve had a better start than we expected and to have finished in fifth and third places so far is really positive,” Said the 2008 World Champion.
He’s confident his team can keep up the pace of development, “I know there is much more to come so we will keep working hard and pushing the development of the car. I’ll be at the factory this weekend and look forward to hearing about the work that’s gone on in the last couple of weeks and the upgrades that we will take to China.”
Rosberg won the Chinese GP last year – Photo: Mercedes-Benz
Nico Rosberg: I enjoy the Shanghai track a great deal
Of course Nico Rosberg has good memories of the Shanghai circuit, as he scored his maiden win during last year’s Chinese Grand Prix. “I travel to China this week with very good memories from winning my first Formula One race in Shanghai last year, and having led the race there for the past three years. I enjoy the Shanghai track a great deal and I have a positive feeling going there with the car that we have at the moment.”
And he added, “We’ve had a strong start to the season and I’m confident that we can keep pushing and hopefully score some good results in China and Bahrain.”
Ross Brawn: We’re fully aware that there is still a gap to close
Team Principal Ross Brawn also thinks that his team has made a good start this season, but there is still work to do. “Our season has started well, perhaps better than we expected, however we’re fully aware that there is still a gap to close and that we must keep up the pace of development,” said Brawn
He’s also looking forward to test the new parts the team has developed for Shanghai, “A lot of hard work has taken place at our factories over the last two weeks to do just that and I look forward to seeing how that translates to track performance.”
• Red Bull Chinese GP Preview
• Ferrari Chinese GP Preview
• McLaren Chinese GP Preview
• Lotus Chinese GP Preview
• Mercedes Chinese GP Preview
• Sauber Chinese GP Preview
• Force India Chinese GP Preview
• Williams Chinese GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Chinese GP Preview
• Caterham Chinese GP Preview
• Marussia Chinese GP Preview
By Berthold Bouman
For the Mercedes team the season will also kick off in Melbourne, as it will host the first race of the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship. Many changes at the Silver Arrows’ team, after Norbert Haug and Michael Schumacher left the team, the management team has been reinforced with Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda, Ross Brawn remains the Team Principal, and Lewis Hamilton will take over Schumacher’s place.
Team Principal Ross Brawn: Intense but exiting time for the team
“Our factories in Brackley and Brixworth have been buzzing with activity this week with both Nico [Rosberg] and Lewis [Hamilton] visiting to complete their final preparations on the simulator, and the team working to finish the cars, engines and pack the freight for the four flyaway races coming up,” Brawn said ahead of the Australian Grand Prix.
Asked about the progress the Silver Arrows team has made, he commented, “The first race is where we can really begin to assess our competitive position and how much of a step forward we have made with our new Silver Arrow. We had a successful pre-season testing programme and personally, I am pleased with the progress we have made, both with the car and in terms of how we operate as a team.”
But testing is testing and Brawn added, “Racing is a completely different situation and Melbourne will see much higher track temperatures and more varied conditions than we have experienced so far. We’re looking forward to the challenge and to the action starting in Melbourne next weekend.”
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg – Photo: Mercedes-Benz
Lewis Hamilton: The beginning of a new adventure
For Lewis Hamilton, everything will be different this season, a new team, a new car and a different way of working. But the 2008 World Champion is looking forward to the new challenge, in fact, he changed teams because he needed a new challenge. “It’s the start of a new season and the beginning of a new adventure for me with Mercedes. I can’t wait to get to Melbourne, get out on track and find out where we stand,” the Briton said.
He’s of course looking forward to race the Silver Arrows in Melbourne, “The Australian Grand Prix is always an exciting race: the teams don’t know how they compare in terms of performance, the fans are fantastic and, with big changes to the tyres again this year, we just don’t know what will happen in the race.”
“We had a good, reliable car during winter testing so that’s the positive we can take with us into the weekend but we know that in terms of performance, everything begins again from zero in Friday practice.”
Nico Rosberg: Tyre degradation biggest issue
Nico Rosberg welcomes his new team mate, and for him it will be a challenge too to race alongside Hamilton. He too has no idea how fast the Mercedes is, or how fast the competition is, “The first Grand Prix is where everyone finds out where they really are and we can judge how well we have done against our competition as the times in winter testing just don’t tell the full story.”
He’s a little worried about the new tyres, but confident his team will do well down under, “Tyre degradation will be the biggest issue for everyone so we need to look at that carefully and do a good job in managing it. I’m really looking forward to next weekend and getting the season underway.”
• Red Bull Australian GP Preview
• Ferrari Australian GP Preview
• McLaren Australian GP Preview
• Lotus Australian GP Preview
• Mercedes Australian GP Preview
• Sauber Australian GP Preview
• Force India Australian GP Preview
• Williams Australian GP Preview
• Toro Rosso Australian GP Preview
• Caterham Australian GP Preview
• Marussia Australian GP Preview
By Berthold Bouman
Williams development driver Susie Wolff is the star of a BBC documentary about her life as a racing driver, currently she’s the only female driver in in the pinnacle of motorsport: Formula One.
Wolff is very likely to become the next female Formula One driver, the documentary, ‘The fastest woman in the world,’ follows her career in a male dominated sport.
A statement on her website read, “Directed by her award-winning, BAFTA-nominated brother David Stoddart, 31, the no-holds-barred film will be broadcast as part of BBC Scotland’s spring schedule, and features appearances from Formula One race ace Lewis Hamilton and racing legend David Coulthard.”
Wolff, from Oban in Scotland, commented, “Shooting the film was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’m a fairly private person, so to have my brother follow me for nine months, through some pretty difficult times — let’s just say it was a big challenge.”
Her brother David agreed, “It was tough combining the role of documentary maker and brother. You have to remember you’re there to film Susie’s story, but during the more difficult moments your instinct as a brother kicks in. It was challenging at times to strike the balance, but it’s a great story that needed to be told.”
And he added, “Susie was very open and honest, and I’m enormously grateful to her for that, and for giving me a rare glimpse into life in Formula One.”
Susie Wolff is development driver for the Williams F1 team – Photo: Williams F1
Wolff started her race career — like most drivers — in karting when she was eight. In 2003 Wolff was one of the finalists of the prestigious BRDC McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award. She’s married to Toto Wolff, who left his job at Williams earlier this year to become Mercedes’ Head of Motorsport.
Wolff starred in the German touring car championship (DTM) for seven years, she drove for Mucke Motorsport and later for Persson Motorsport. At the end of the 2012 season she announced she would retire from the DTM series to prepare for her role as Formula One driver.
About her racing career she said, “I don’t race to prove how good women can be against men. I race because it’s my passion and I hope this documentary will give an insight into a very competitive world, in which I’ve been racing since I was a young girl.”
Last woman to participate in a Formula One race was Italian Lella Lombardi. Wolff is now the only female driver in Formula One, as Maria de Villota’s career abruptly ended after a crash at the Duxford Aerodrome while testing for the Marussia Formula One team.
‘The Fastest Woman in the World’ will premiere on BBC2 Scotland in spring.
By Berthold Bouman
Williams was the last team to launch their 2013 contender at the Circuit de Catalunya, Spain, today. The FW35 is an evolution of its predecessor, but according to a statement, it has a new gearbox, new rear suspension, new radiators, a new floor, new exhausts, new bodywork, a new nose, and the car is a lot lighter as well.
As there have not been any significant regulation changes, Williams Technical Director Mike Coughlan has had a relatively easy job. “I’m pleased with the gains that we’ve been able to make with this car. It’s a better, more refined Formula One car than the FW34 and I think everyone involved in the project can feel proud of the work they’ve done,” said Coughlan.
Coughlan also said Williams will during the season explore the benefits of the Coanda effect. “The Coanda effect is going to be a big thing for us,” he said, and added, “There’s been no rule clarification concerning this area of the car, so we’ll work closely with Renault to maximise the available gains. Use of the DRS is more restricted this year, so we’ll take some resource away from that and focus on other areas.”
Sir Frank Williams was proud to present his new car, but was cautious about the expectations of the FW35, “We will have to wait until Australia to truly see what we have, but we believe it is step forward from last year’s car which was also a very competitive vehicle.”
He nevertheless remained optimistic about the forthcoming season, “I’m hoping that with the current team we have in place, our new FW35, the combined talent of Pastor [Maldonado], Valtteri [Bottas] and Susie [Wolff], and the continued support from our partners; we will be in a position to challenge the very best.”
All Photos: Williams F1
Pastor Maldonado is ready for his third season with the British outfit, and he’s confident the FW35 will be competitive, and even thinks about winning more races, “Last year we won a race and were competitive, but this season we must be even more competitive which I believe is possible. Consistency will be our aim to close the gap to the teams in front.”
And he added, “Being part of the Williams family is very special as a driver and I want to thank Frank [Williams] for not only giving me the opportunity to drive for him, but also to deliver a win. My goal is to help take the team back to the top.”
Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas will make his Formula One debut this season, and he’s looking forward to his first Grand Prix for Williams. “I have been doing a lot of training, meeting with my engineers and working in the simulator in preparation; so I feel ready. We know we have improved our car from last season but I am looking forward to seeing how it compares on track. We have a busy test programme ahead but I’m really excited,” he said, adding, “The moment the start lights go out in Melbourne is a moment I have been building towards my whole career.”
Development driver Susie Wolff is actually the only one who has already had a taste of what the FW35 is like before the official launch, as she did the initial shake-down at Idiada. “Being the first to get behind the wheel of the FW35 at Idiada was a real honour. It was a special feeling to drive the FW35 out of the garage for the first time and successfully complete its first kilometres in front of many of the team who have put so much effort into the design and build,” she commented.
Today is the first day of, in total, eight days of testing at the Barcelona circuit, the first four days are scheduled for this week, the next and final four days of testing take place from February 28 to March 3.
By Berthold Bouman
Ross Brawn: “The F1 W04 is a clear step forward in sophistication.”
Mercedes revealed its W04 today in the pit lane of the Spanish Circuito de Jerez, where the first pre-season test days will take place. Nico Rosberg was the lucky driver to have tried the new car in the morning, and Team Principal Ross Brawn seemed quite happy with the new Silver Arrows car.
“2013 marks the start of a second era for our Silver Arrows works team,” said the Briton. About the changes within the Mercedes team he commented, “The restructuring we undertook at the team over the past 18 months are now growing in maturity and this is reflected in the F1 W04, which is a clear step forward in design and detail sophistication over its predecessor. Many thousands of hours of work have been invested by our technical teams in Brackley and Brixworth to ensure that the new car delivers a step change in performance compared to last season.”
About his drivers he said, “We are also hugely proud to welcome Lewis to the team as a works Mercedes-Benz driver. With Lewis and Nico, we have what I believe to be the strongest driver line-up in Formula One and I know that a healthy level of competition between them both will help drive the team forward.”
Nico Rosberg: “We want to make this the best team in Formula One.”
Rosberg had already tested the car in the simulator this winter, and commented, “The car seems to be performing well in the virtual world but we have a very busy and intense programme ahead of us during testing to make sure we can deliver that performance on track.”
He too, was happy with the management changes, “The atmosphere in the team is very positive and the people are highly motivated to succeed. And, of course, I have a new team mate with Lewis. It’s his first time in the Silver Arrow and I look forward to working together and pushing each other hard, to make this the best team in Formula One.”
Lewis Hamilton: “I have never seen a team hungrier for success than this one.”
Throughout his career, Mercedes engines have powered Hamilton’s cars, and now he will finally make his debut as an official works Silver Arrows driver. “It’s a very special day for me to officially present our Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow to the world. There is no company with
a longer history in Grand Prix racing than Mercedes-Benz and it is an honour for me to tread in the footsteps of legends like Juan Manuel Fangio, Sir Stirling Moss and Michael Schumacher,” he said.
He was impressed by the Mercedes team, “I’ve been at the factory
for a few days now, getting to know the guys, meeting my mechanics and engineers, learning myself into the team and I have never seen a group of people that is hungrier for success than this one.”
“This is a new start for me with the team in Brackley but I have worked with Mercedes-Benz for a very long time now, and I learned one thing most of all: Mercedes-Benz doesn’t know how to lose!”
But, he warned he needs time before he will be able to score his first victory for Mercedes, “We are playing a long game here but I know we will have success together and I’m excited to be a big part of making it happen.”
Toto Wolff: “The only thing that counts in Formula One is lap time.”
Toto Wolff, who replaces Norbert Haug as Executive Director of Mercedes AMG Petronas, said about the new car, “The first laps for a new car are always filled with emotion and today was no exception. It is even more meaningful when the car is a Silver Arrow: Mercedes-Benz has a long tradition of racing success and this is something we are proud to represent and determined to live up to.”
Although he joined the team just two weeks ago, Wolff has already been impressed by the staff of the Mercedes team, “The people are highly motivated, open-minded and determined to succeed. Our drivers are hungry for success, too, and it will certainly be fascinating this season to see how Nico and Lewis perform together. Ultimately, though, Formula One is very straightforward and the only thing that counts is lap time.”
Pre-season testing will officially start tomorrow, Tuesday and Thursday Rosberg will be behind the wheel of the W04, and Wednesday and Friday Hamilton will be driving the car.
By Berthold Bouman
Mercedes became the sixth team to reveal their 2013 contender, the Mercedes W04. The new car was presented during a simple ceremony at the Circuito de Jerez, Spain, where pre-season testing will commence tomorrow.
Of course also present were both drivers Nico Rosberg and a freshly recruited Lewis Hamilton, who signed a three-year deal with the Silver Arrows team. Also new to the team is Toto Wolff, who has been hired to strengthen the management team of the German-owned outfit, while Ross Brawn is still Team Principal.
Mercedes designed a car without a stepped nose, and the W04 is now a true Silver Arrow again with a smooth and slender nose section. Again, not many details were visible with the naked eye, most attention went to Mercedes’ new sponsor Blackberry — as both drivers posed willingly taking a snap-shot of the new car with their Blackberry.
All Photos: Mercedes-Benz
Rosberg, who already had tried the new car this morning, said, “It all went to plan, I very much felt at home [in the car] and that’s important. So, it’s good and this afternoon it’s going to be Lewis, he’s going to give it a go. Tomorrow is our first day of proper testing and I’m really looking forward to that.”
“A quite exciting day for us,” said Hamilton, adding, “the launch of a new car, and to be team mates with Nico; we were just saying how crazy it is because we used to be team mates back in 2000 when we were go-karting, so it’s a dream for me to be back here as his team mate.”
About his new car he commented, “It looks beautiful. It’s a lovely car, I’m just excited to get in it. I’m just really excited to get in and see what it feels like.”
By Berthold Bouman
The Williams Formula One team confirmed Susie Wolff will continue her role as development driver for the Grove-based team, and her level of involvement will even be increased in 2013. Wolff joined the team led by Sir Frank Williams in April 2012 and she spent a lot of time in the team’s simulator to develop the FW35, Williams’ 2013 contender.
Wolff will also do more in-car testing this season, and will be the first to drive the FW35 at Idiada next month, and will do the majority of the aerodynamic testing this season. Mike Coughlan, Williams’ Technical Director commented about Wolff and her role within the Williams team, “Susie has proved herself to be a valuable addition to our driver roster and her feedback during simulator sessions is second to none.”
And he added, “As a result we will be stepping up her role this year and I’m looking forward to the progress we can make with Susie’s input in conjunction with that of Pastor [Maldonado] and Valtteri [Bottas].”
Susie Wolff – Photo: Williams F1
Wolff said in a Williams statement, “I really enjoy my time working with Williams and feel very much at home here. Last year was a valuable experience and I certainly feel that I’ve developed a lot as a driver.”
About stepping up her role as development driver she said, “Increasing my role this year will further this progression and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the FW35 for the first time next month.”
“I’m showing that women can play a role at the top-level of motorsport and would like to thank Sir Frank Williams and the whole of the technical team for the trust they continue to show in me.”
Susie Wolff-Stoddart was active in the German DTM touring car championship for seven years before she decided to move to Williams. In 2003 she won the BRDC Rising Star of the Year Award, and was nominated for the BRDC McLaren Autosport Young Driver of the Year Award in 2003 and 2004.
By Berthold Bouman
Ross Brawn has dismissed rumours that his position as Team Principal of the Mercedes Formula One team could be in doubt, and today confirmed he’s still in charge of the famous German Silver Arrows team. Mercedes has recently hired Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda to reinforce the management team, but there are no plans to replace Brawn.
“I am the team principal and I am in charge of sporting, technical and racing matters,” Brawn said today. “Toto is coming in and that’s a whole other side of the business that I don’t want to get involved in. I don’t want to get involved in, on a day-to-day basis, the commercial activities and I don’t want to get involved with the support we need to give Daimler on a day-to-day basis.”
And the Briton added, “There are a lot of things that Toto will be doing that are complimentary to what I’m doing in terms of running the team, but you have to have one reference. Everybody knows that the only way a racing team would work is to have one reference, and I’m that reference.”
Brawn, who previously has worked for Benetton and Ferrari and helped Michael Schumacher winning the Formula One crown seven times, said Mercedes wants ‘a long-time commitment’, and that is exactly why he stays as Team Principal. Apparently, Mercedes is trying to lure McLaren’s Technical Director Paddy Lowe to the team to succeed Brawn when his time has come.
Ross Brawn has no intention to leave the Mercedes team
“It’s like my succession plan at Ferrari. When I decided I was going to stop at Ferrari, we built a succession plan and I am part of that, I’ve talked to Paddy, we know the situation. I’m planning on being here for a very long time.”
Actually, Brawn isn’t really happy with all the media attention, “I think it’s a bit disappointing that it’s got into the media, because that’s disturbing for the team. I want our guys focused completely on doing the best job they can for this coming season.”
And he added, “It’s a really exciting time here and Lewis [Hamilton] is now spending some time here at the factory and there’s a huge buzz about the place for the coming season. That’s what we want to maintain and unfortunately those things are in the nature of the business, but they are distractions for people and I have to do the best that I can to make sure people don’t get distracted!”
By Berthold Bouman
Mercedes today announced Toto Wolff will join the Mercedes Formula One team, and together with Ross Brawn and Niki Lauda he will be guiding the team to more success. The Austrian entrepreneur will acquire ‘a significant minority interest’ in the German team, according to a Mercedes statement.
Mercedes announced triple World Champion Lauda will also acquire a stake in the German Silver Arrows team. Wolff’s arrival is part of the reorganisation of the Mercedes F1’s management team. Wolff will become executive director of Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd, and will replace Norbert Haug, who left at the end of 2012 as he was held responsible for the lack lustrous past three seasons.
Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars and Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG said in a statement, “As an entrepreneur, investor and motorsport manager, Toto Wolff has proven that this sport runs in his blood; at the same time, he is also well aware of the economic necessities of the business. With Toto Wolff, we have gained for our Formula One team not only an experienced motorsport specialist, but also a long-standing enthusiast of the Mercedes-Benz brand.”
Toto Wolff joins new Mercedes F1 management team – Photo: Williams F1
“Together with him and Niki Lauda, we will further develop our motorsport activities and guide our Silver Arrows into the next era.”
Wolff, who will retain his shares in the Williams Formula One team, commented about this new challenge, “Mercedes is one of the most important participants in motorsport worldwide. I am not only a big fan, but also a longstanding friend and enthusiast of the brand. I am looking forward to the challenge and, along with preparing for a successful racing season, also want to focus on the targeted promotion of new talent.”
“I am leaving Williams on good terms and I will miss the team and friends I have made there. I’d also like to wish Frank and the whole of Williams the best of luck for the future”, Wolff added.
By Berthold Bouman
Fans of the German Touringcar Championship (DTM) know what these two drivers have in common, they were both born in Scotland, and both will unfortunately retire from the DTM championship after the last race of the season at Hockenheim this weekend, their names: Susie Wolff and David Coulthard.
Hockenheim will be the last DTM race for Susie Wolff
Wolff obviously wants more time for her role as development driver for the Williams Formula One team, and after seven years in DTM, will say goodbye to her fans at Hockenheim this weekend. In those seven years she contested 73 DTM races for Mercedes, and many fans will miss the pink painted Mercedes she always drives.
Wolff started in 2006 with the Mucke Team, and finished in the top ten during her first race. “Driving for Mercedes-Benz AMG in the DTM, one of the best championships in the world, has been an incredible journey that started seven years ago for me and I am very proud to have been part of such a great team,” she said.
And she further commented, “Along the way I have enjoyed some really exciting racing, had some tough fights and met some brilliant people. I am very grateful and feel lucky to have achieved this and will always be thankful for the opportunity Mercedes-Benz AMG and HWA gave me. Most importantly, thank you to all of my fans who have supported me. Be assured I am by no means ready to hang up my helmet yet and am looking forward to exciting new opportunities in the future.”
Coulthard retires after a relatively short DTM career, he participated in 33 DTM races, but now wants more time for his role as Formula One pundit and commentator for the BBC. The now 41-year old Coulthard has scored 16 points in his DTM career, and posted the fastest race lap twice. The Scot became a familiar sight on the German tracks in his bright yellow Mercedes.
He also had an impressive Formula One career, he participated in 246 Grands Prix from 1994 until 2008, and DC as his nick name is, won 13 races for McLaren before he moved to Red Bull Racing in 2005. In 2008 he retired from Formula One and joined the DTM circus, but perhaps wasn’t as successful as he had hoped to be.
“I am looking forward to the final race of what has been an exciting season in the DTM,” Coulthard said, adding, “The weekend will be my final opportunity to compete at this level as I will stop racing in the DTM to concentrate on my developing off-track businesses and of course my family.”
Last DTM race for David Coulthard as well
Of course Coulthard found his way to DTM via Mercedes, and he thanked Mercedes Motorsport Director Norbert Haug, “I would like to thank first of all Norbert Haug and his team at Mercedes Motorsport for providing the opportunity, Deutsche Post for their support and their willingness to allow the Wings for Life Foundation to have promotional space on the car, which has helped raise awareness and funding for the research into spinal cord injuries.
“Thank you, as well, to the HWA and Mücke teams for patiently helping me with the transition from single-seaters to touring cars, and of course to the people who make professional sport sustainable, the fans. I have enjoyed the last three years and I wish the organizers and competitors in DTM continued growth and success with the championship.”
And thus, after this weekend’s race at the Hockenheimring, we say goodbye to a Scotsman and a Scotswoman, it has been a pleasure seeing them race, and Grand Prix Journal wishes them all the best for the future.
By Berthold Bouman
Williams development driver Susie Wolff drove last year’s Williams FW33 at Silverstone yesterday during a Williams F1 Partner event. Wolff, married to Toto Wolff, an executive director and major shareholder at Williams, normally does her job in the simulator, but yesterday her dream of driving a Formula One car came true.
“It was incredible to experience a Formula One car for the first time. I’ve done a lot of simulator work since I joined the team but nothing compares to the exhilaration of driving the real thing,” Wolff said after completing two 50 km runs. About the far from ideal conditions at Silverstone she said, “The conditions were a little tricky as it was quite damp at the beginning of the run but the track soon dried out. The team also did a fantastic job preparing me for today, giving me all the information I needed so that I was always in control.”
The 29-year old Scot, who also races in the German DTM touring car series for Mercedes, stressed it wasn’t a show run or a publicity stunt, and is adamant there is a future for women in Formula One. “I have no doubt in my head Williams would never have let me near the car if they didn’t feel I was capable of it or ready for it,” she said.
Unfortunately, when speaking about a female Formula One driver, the name of Maria de Villota springs to mind. De Villota had a horrific accident in July during straight line tests at Duxford airfield for the Marussia Formula One team, she was seriously injured and lost her right eye, and she has become an inspiration for other female drivers.
“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.
“Many just saw a story about a woman driver in Formula One 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,” she added. “I had Maria’s star on my helmet, it’s with pride I have that, and without a doubt I was driving for the two of us.”
Of course she wants to drive more often, “On my last lap, when I was driving down the pit lane, I said to myself ‘I have to do everything I can to get back in this car’. I hope I have done enough at this stage to prove I can be of assistance to this team. Hopefully I can get some more tests.”
Wolff is one of only a handful of women who ever made it into Formula One, in the past Maria Teresa de Filippis, Desire Wilson, Giovanna Amati, Lella Lombardi and Divina Galica tried their luck in Formula one, but recently female drivers have only been able to test a Formula One car.
In 2002 American Sarah Fisher drove a McLaren during the US Grand Prix, but it was a show run, in 2005 Briton Katherine Legge tested a Minardi at Vallelunga, and de Villota had already tested for Renault in 2011.
Susie Wolff, Williams development driver