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Susie Wolff gets her chance: Williams offer her a day at Young Driver test
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Posted By: James Allen  |  15 Jul 2013   |  12:23 pm GMT  |  160 comments

Susie Wolff will finally get her chance to drive an F1 car in a formal test session when she drives in the Young Driver Test at Silverstone next week.

The 30 year old former DTM driver has been the team’s development driver, carrying out aerodynamic tests and other duties in the simulator since 2012.

It has been 20 years since a woman Giovanna Amati, last got a chance to drive an F1 car alongside the men. Wolff will be joined at the test by Daniel Juncadella and Williams race driver Pastor Maldonado, who will conduct the new specification Pirelli tyre evaluation programme for the team,

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me, ” said Wolff. “So now it is up to me to prepare myself the best that I can for the day. It’s going to be a big challenge but the most important thing is to do asolid and consistent job and to give good feedback to the team to be able to prove I am at the level to compete on a day such as this.

“Most of my work is based in the simulator which is why this day is so important for me. It will give me a better understanding of what the car is like on track and how that correlates to the simulator which will also help further develop the work I can do there.”

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160 Comments
  1. Andy says:

    It’s a contradiction of terms isn’t it, Susie Wolff and Young Driver?

    1. Wayne says:

      Thought exactly the same thing, it’s a nonsense.

      1. Sebee says:

        Hey,

        Could her data/test info be at all valuable to a certain Toto? Nahhh. :-)

      2. Karen says:

        I would have thought with the way Williams are performing, the last thing he would want to do is make use of her data.

      3. Tim says:

        Without implying any disrespect to Williams (who I admire), they would have to be pretty desperate to be copying anything from the FW35 !

      4. Elie says:

        Perhaps it’s more the other way around.

        Suzie -” Comeon honey just a couple of blue prints of that Merc.”
        Totto- “what do you think I am – stupid”
        Suzie;- ” it will increase the price of our shares if
        Williams are strong in the top 10. ”
        Torro:- Brilliant ok – I will throw in a couple of sheets of
        Telemetry from Lewis car to help this weekend !
        With all due respect Tim- I don’t think anyone would mind some info on that W104- it’s the fastest car in the field (top. 5 raceday) and certainly better than a Williams languishing in p15 and next year-look out !!

    2. Wayne says:

      And it should be ok for us to to talk about her sex without being branded sexist. She is being used as a PR stunt because of her sex so why can we not talk about it? There is a lot of reverse sexism in this sort of thing, if that was a 30 year old guy who last raced single seaters professionally so many years ago, and had poor DTM results we would all be slamming the decision, but because it’s a women we shy away from talking about her sex.

      Well, hogwash to that – she is too old to be a ‘young driver’ and does not have the results to justify the seat so what does that leave? PR, that’s what and nothing else.

      She has taken that seat and the valuable experience from a young driver because she is a lady and it’s newsworthy. She should do the decent thing and refuse to be used.

      1. Andy says:

        Good points, I totally agree with you.

      2. Pat says:

        That’s insane. You’re telling me that if you were 30 years old or more, with average or worse previous racing results, and an F1 team was going to give you a day of running, that you would be Mr. Altruistic and give it up for a more promising youth? Get out of here. She should take the day and do her best. Save your judging for after the YDT.

      3. Andy says:

        I don’t blame her or Williams. All I’m saying is she isn’t a ‘young or current driver’, so how does she fit in to this. I would like to see her do well, but if you look at her DTM results, it’s difficult to see what she can offer.

      4. Steve Zodiac says:

        I’m 56 and if I got the chance to do it I’d say tough luck to all the youngsters, then do a really crap job but hey what a blast. Good luck to her but lets not expect any miracles

      5. Wayne says:

        She should refuse for her OWN sake, surely she must know she is being used for PR value and nothing else? That does not set a great example for any women who follow with real talent, and who are young enough to have a career in F1 does it? It just makes it harder for them to be accepted.

      6. I know says:

        In case you haven’t noticed, Wayne, ALL of Formula 1 driving is done for PR value. Suzie Wolff driving in a YDT is hardly any different.

        On pure performance, she would still deserve the test more than some other drivers deserve their current seat – but that’s actually not the point.

        I’d say judge her performance after the test is completed, but at this point, the decision to offer her the test looks very sound to me.

      7. Lewis says:

        Well a young drivers test isn’t dependant on age, you have to have no more than two Gran Prix experience and she fits that conditioning.

      8. Quercus says:

        You said it yourself: “it’s newsworthy”. That’s as good a reason for an F1 team to put a driver in one of their cars as any other. It’s a long time since F1 was about pure driving talent.

        Look at Sauber looking to foster their Russian connections by putting a Russian driver in their car — and how many other drivers are contributing sponsorship money? The pursuit of PR is perhaps not what we’d like, but it is the reality.

      9. Wayne says:

        Can’t argue with that. Shame.

      10. Andy says:

        That’s a good point, but Williams need good results on track. Is Susie Wolff going to give them the information and feedback they need to improve? I doubt it very much.

      11. docjkm says:

        Agreed.

        Look, an entire thread talking about it… it works.

        I’m far more curious why Mac is not running either Perez or Button. Resting on their laurels? Seems a truant waste of opportunity, esp since they looked to be finding their way, of sorts, in Germany…

      12. Sebee says:

        Really, situation can’t be summed up better than this.

      13. Erik says:

        You forgot to mention her husband holds some big moneybags!

        This is a stark look at how far the once great Williams team has fallen. No respectable outfit in F1 has pulled a stunt like this, knowing how precious every lap is this year. This team is a shadow of it’s former self, I used to cheer them on, now they’re a joke.

      14. Basil says:

        I concur!

      15. Ronnie says:

        Folks, allow me mention Nicolas Prost – born in 1981. He’s lined up for testing Lotus this week, but turning 32 next month. Either the wiki is wrong (which could be the case), or it’s not right to find a 30-year-old woman too old to be in a “young” driver test without considering that a 32-year-old man is in the same situation. Double standard people?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicolas_Prost
        http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2013/7/14795.html

      16. Elie says:

        No your right Ronnie.. I think these whole shenanigans are Pirelli tyre tests in the guise of a YDT. They could have MS in there and no one would care -there’s a thought- F1s greatest Tester !

    3. Dai Dactic says:

      Agreed.
      There should be woman drivers in F1 – in their early twenties.

      So begs the question – Where are the sponsors?
      Considering global female spending power I would have thought that this would be a golden advertising opportunity for a number of international brands.

      Time to bring on Danica Patrick as a marketing consultant?

      1. Stephen says:

        Why SHOULD there be women drivers in F1?? Surely the only drivers who should be in F1 are the worlds quickest ones regardless of what sex they are and if there aren’t any women quick enough they should not be in it!!

      2. Andy says:

        I agree, ability is they key, not sex.

      3. Basil says:

        Exactly! Let them earn the seat.

      4. Dai Dactic says:

        Obviously, their potential regarding F1 competitiveness is on a par with their male counterparts.
        The only drawback is biased sponsorship leading to limited opportunities and thus reinforcing the belief that they are not quick enough.

        They SHOULD be in F1 if only to bust that stupid myth that women can’t compete at this level.
        It would sure make a couple of the male ‘pay-drivers’ look a bit silly.

      5. Wayne says:

        Absolutely, there is no SHOULD about it. It doesn’t matter if they are men or women, nor does it matter what their skin colour is. All that should matter is how fast they are. Unfortunately we’re already in a position where it matters how rich you are in over 60% of the teams!

      6. ManOnWheels says:

        Do you mean “worlds quickest” like Taki Inoue, Alex Yoong, Antonio Pizzonia, Shinji Nakano, Gaston Mazzacane, Paolo Barilla, Paul Belmondo, Narain Karthikeyan, etc.?

      7. Paul Kirk says:

        Stephen, you’re absolutely correct! I agree 500% There’s a lot of b/s going on about feamale drivers, but if they’re good enough and work their way up the ranks as the males have to, then fine, give them a go!
        Personally I doubt if any true female will be capable of achieving top F1 race results but there might be a few that can race F1 down the scale.
        I would certainly want to know that they were deffinately genuine female though!
        PK.

      8. Sebee says:

        I agree with Kyle, Danica is not a racer. He puts it best: “Lots of people can drive fast. Few people can race.” Applied to Danica and other by the way.

        As for Danica and her “brand”…well, I’ve had about enough. Including this little tid bit from this marketing sell out. Apparently she’s not ready to pose nude…yet. Great.

        I guess Bernie can spot a shady used car sales woman or man in a blink. Good on him for not inviting her into F1 and making a sideshow out of woman driver in F1.

        http://www.sportingnews.com/nascar/story/2013-07-12/danica-patrick-nude-photos-swimsuit-pose-si-espn-go-daddy

      9. Ronnie says:

        Women should only be included per merit. Reverse discrimination sometimes can be worse than discrimination itself. It discredits those who deserve the credits.

        That’s one of the reasons I’m delighted to see that when people talk about Hamilton, race was almost completely absent. He’s simply one of the most talented F1 drivers, period.

        F1 should only care about two things about a driver: speed and size.

        Being a female, I prefer watching guys racing, especially hot guys, even to the very fast and very beautiful Danica Patrick :-)

      10. Dai Dactic says:

        Agreed – regarding ‘included on merit’.

        The point is that if little or no funds are available in their teens/early-twenties formative racing years the raw talent is not going to be developed.

        As to who ‘I prefer watching’, this being the 21st century, I don’t give a damn about their gender as long as they contribute to exciting races.

      11. Meieran says:

        I also agree that driving should be merit based and not determined by sex. However, you’re missing a vital point in that women are not offered the same opportunities, nor are they fostered and catered for in the sport. So finally given an opportunity does makes it newsworthy.

      12. Paul Kirk says:

        But, Meiran, why are the not “Fostered and catered for”?
        PK.

      13. arno says:

        Sorry dai, but in F1,only the best should be there…regardless of age or sex.I agree that F1 is no place for PR exercise…You should have a look at Michele Mouton, who became vice champion of rally car in 1982, when at the time,she was driving a monster of 600bhp.Then you have to come to the conclusion that it is possible for a women to do it, however in the case of wolf, there is no chance , i am afraid…

      14. Paul Kirk says:

        And, Arno, 4WD! But I like her.
        PK.

    4. Mitori says:

      It’s not a young driver test anymore sinds the Mercedes tire gate.
      A lot of ‘old’ driver are announced……

      1. Andy says:

        It still is a Young Driver test, but they are now allowed to use current drivers as well. Susie Wolff is not a current driver, so she comes into the ‘Young Driver’ category.

    5. Jeff says:

      As my grandparents say, you’re only as old as you feel!!!!

      1. Sebee says:

        Well, to them 30 IS young. But not by F1 standards.

        Could someone remind us how old Schumi was when he retired…the first time? Not far off 30, so she’s basically nearing F1 retirement age. :-)

      2. bryan says:

        Jeff mate
        I think the saying is ”you are only as old as the lady you feel !”well thats what my old grandpappy used to say…….

    6. David Goss says:

      It should really be called the Inexperienced Drivers’ Test – the idea is to use drivers that are not experienced in F1 to give them a chance t impress, rather than race drivers, and these tend to be young guys so I guess that’s how it got the name.

    7. BurgerF1 says:

      Perhaps by “Young” they mean inexperienced more than age.

      Let’s just be glad that starting next year teams can actually test some inexperienced drivers, whether they be women, or teenagers from Russia.

      1. Andy says:

        I thought by ‘Young’ they meant young and up and coming drivers. Wolff and Paffett don’t qualify in either category in my opinion.

    8. Jonathan says:

      It’s all relative… oh no – he went to Mercedes… but he is still a shareholder in Williams.

      1. Andy says:

        It was a bit laughable when she was appointed ‘on merit’.

    9. AuraF1 says:

      Umm Gary Pafett is 32 and always gets a young drivers test…

  2. goferet says:

    Whoa, this is great and unexpected news with the sport making history by having the first lady driver in 20 years.

    It goes without saying that I wish Susie a good time and successful test for her performance may just be that rock that will shutter the glass ceiling creating a pathway for future lady pilots.

    Having said that, F1 cars have changed a great deal in 20 years for now we have muscle cars that need very physically strong athletes to operate.

    Also I don’t know if our sisters have been jinxed for first there was Maria’s ghastly accident and now Sauber is having some financial difficulties and a loss of form under the stewardship of
    Monisha.

    Maybe some things are the way they are in life for a reason.

    P.s.

    Here’s to wishing Williams score their first points in Hungary.

    1. Olivier says:

      F1 had muscle cars twenty years ago. Right now most of the cars are cruising because of the tires. You don’t need to be physically strong anymore. What you need is endurance. It’s what females excel at. Their bodies are much better prepared to pain. They give birth to Life, remember.

      If I were Williams, I’d go for a female driver:

      1. They are smaller and much lighter than males.
      2. They lack physical strength but they have far better endurance; First, women tolerate hot and humid racing conditions better than men due to their smaller body size. Secondly, women appear to burn more fat and less carbohydrate than men during endurance exercise. http://faculty.washington.edu/crowther/Misc/RBC/gender.shtml
      3. Marketing.
      4. And finally. Females are better in multitasking.

      1. Zombie says:

        That has to be one of the silliest argument i’ve heard in a long long time !

        Men lack in endurance ? Maybe thats why all major marathon winners are usually men ? Or most Lemans and WRC winners. Or tennis matches that have more sets to win the match than in a womens match.

        The physical fitness of an F1 driver is far far superior than what it used to be 20 yrs ago ( thank a certain M Schumacher for that ). They have the ability to perform at their peak under severe conditions so a women tolerating hot conditions is hardly an advantage ( considering most races are during ideal to pleasant temperature with exception of Malaysia and Bahrain. Even the Indian GP is post Indian summer ).

        Marketing ? Maybe. Considering a majority of motorsport fans are male, i’m not sure how far a marketing excercise will go. It will certainly increase the interest for a few races but nothing beyond that.

        Females are better at multitasking ? Really ? So why havent they outdriven men in competitive racing barring rare examples like Michelle Mouton ?

        I have nothing against a woman racing in F1 someday, but that needs to be solely based on merit and not her gender. It is amazing how we men have been social engineered to believe you just can’t disagree with women because you’ll be branded as “sexist”, but reverse sexism is perfectly okay as long as it benefits women !

      2. Basil says:

        I completely agree with you!

      3. Mike says:

        Why Women Rule

        In the sport of ultrarunning, women compete shoulder-to-shoulder with the men, and sometimes beat them to the finish line.

        http://www.runnersworld.com/trail-running-training/why-women-rule?page=single

      4. I know says:

        The endurance required in ultra running is not comparable to the endurance required in Formula 1 racing.

      5. Jake says:

        The differences between men and women are generalisations, there is nothing “general” about an F1 driver or we would all be doing it.
        F1 drivers have to be considered on their individual merits. Their sex has nothing to do with it.

      6. David Goss says:

        By far the most sensible comment so far.

      7. arno says:

        Olivia, are you on medication or what.?It s not only about physical performance, when you have to take Eau Rouge{you know?}flat out, well i am afraid to say that it requires some bal…no offence

      8. Paul Kirk says:

        Har, ha ha ha ha bloody har!
        PK

    2. IanC says:

      To be blunt Wolff isn’t qualified or merit to run in the YDT. She hasn’t competitively driven a single seater since 2005 and her record in DTM is horrible. Had the FIA allowed in – season testing she would have had her chance a long time ago and I suspect we wouldn’t know or care who she is today.

    3. Andrew Carter says:

      Correction, first woman to drive alongside the men in 20 years, Katherine Legge tested a Minardi at Vellalunga in 2005 but was the only one driving that day.

      Maria’s accident probably had as much to do with her lack of talent as anything else, though nothings been confirmed on that front as far as I know, and Sauber have been short on cash for longer than Kaltenbourn has been in charge. Both cases have nothing to do with gender.

      1. grat says:

        Regardless of Maria de Villota’s ability or experience, there was no excuse for the lift gate being at visor level.

        She may or may not have made a driver error that put her in the wrong place at the wrong time, but the lift should have been secured so that it wasn’t a safety risk.

      2. Ronnie says:

        Thanks goodness Massa is a man. Otherwise the consecutive crashes and spins lately would have been pinned on to females’ deficiencies.

      3. Paul Kirk says:

        Grat, I was very interested in Maria’s accident, and I don’t think she made a mistake/driver error, I’ve been told she briefly feinted due to the stress/adrenalan of the drive, and basically failed to aply brakes and steer the car. If that is the case then she might have hit something else or someone else! I mean, the vehicle would have kept on moving untill if stoped against something!
        PK.

  3. IanC says:

    “when she drives in the Young Driver Test”

    If Wolff was actually driving in F1 she be one of the oldest drivers on the grid.

    It really shows you how irrelevant Williams have become when they are using a driver that last drove a single seater competitively in 2005.

    1. Wayne says:

      It has value as a PR stunt and not a lot else. The cameras will be on Williams because of the driver and the fact that she is a woman. Some will call this opinion ‘sexist’ of course but it doesn’t change the fact.

    2. Andrew Carter says:

      McLaren will be using Gary Paffett, he hasent driven single seaters competitively since about 2003.

      1. IanC says:

        Gary Paffett has value in that he is driving to help McLaren develop their car, which is what Williams should be doing, not wasting their valuable track time on Toto’s wife because she thinks she has a point to prove.

      2. Andrew Carter says:

        Do you really think Sir Frank would put her in the car if she wasn’t going to be of some help?

      3. Zombie says:

        Paffett has been an official Mclaren driver for a while now. Not to mention he has a stellar record in DTM and F3. In between, he has participated in many official F1 tests for Mclaren, so his feedback would be important. I’m not sure if i would put Susie on the same level.

      4. Andrew Carter says:

        Neither would I, but that really wasn’t the point. She’s proven to be a competent racer, if not a winner.

      5. Zombie says:

        Andrew Carter, please define “competent”. If it is a wealthy person buying a few DTM drives and circling in obscurity, then yes, Susie has most certainly been “competitive”.

      6. Andrew Carter says:

        @Zombie. You dont get pay drivers in the DTM because Mercedes, Audi and BMW have such tight reign over all their cars, even the so called “privateers”. Susie was a front runner in British Formula Renaul and never had the money to do more than a couple of F3 races. Yes, she didn’t achieve much in the DTM, but must be noted that she spent much of her carrier there in a 2 year old car, in a series where a couple of tenths can be half a grid.

        Where on earth did the silly idea that she was rich and bought her way into the DTM come from?

      7. Zombie says:

        Andrew Carter, the saying is “when in ditch, stop digging”. The grids of WTCC and DTM are filled with privateers who either pay for the drives or get sponsors to fund their racing. The manufacturers have no business in saying whom their customers should run. Perrson is one of the better privateer teams out there, and Susie’s record compared to her teammates speaks volumes about her lack of skills.

        And She was a frontrunner in British Formula Renault ?? Frontrunner with zero wins in 4 seasons ? And 4 podiums in 46 races in one of the best cars on grid ?

        Privateers dont get factory spec latest machines in DTM. Howz that different from any form of motorsports ? Di Resta took a 2 yr old car to a top 5 championship finish. Her teammate Gary Paffett won a darn race in the same car, and scored 34 points in 2 seasons compared to ZERO for dear Susie !

        Sure ! She is in DTM for her pure,incredible talent. A talent that has netted her zero wins, zero poles, zero podiums, zero top 10s and a grand total of 4 points in 7 full seasons! Incredibly silly of me to get the idea that she got a DTM drive because of funds and not talent ! Oh brother !

      8. Ronnie says:

        “McLaren will be using Gary Paffett, he hasent driven single seaters competitively since about 2003″

        Men tend to be viewed more favorably for their careers by our society (by both males and females)

        In the book “Lean In”, it quoted an university study where one case study with two different names were distributed to the class via randomization. The students liked Howard, but found Heidi selfish. Thus when two men in their 30s get a YDT opportunity, they deserve it. A 30-year-old woman? Must be publicity stunt

    3. ManOnWheels says:

      The money you get with a PR-stunt could be the money you need to get the missing two tenths of a seconds out of your car. What’s your problem with that?

  4. Ed says:

    Glad she’s getting a chance, but how does Suzie at the age of 30 qualify as a young driver?

    1. Phil R says:

      Don’t say that anywhere near Gary Paffett!

      1. AuraF1 says:

        Or nicolas Prost (31) also at the young drivers test…

        I guess 30 ain’t old anymore…;)

    2. Paul Kirk says:

      When you reach my age you’ll see 30 as young!
      PK

  5. Anne says:

    Way to go Susie. I hope she gets the seat if Maldonado moves to some other team.

    1. Zombie says:

      Right. Because Susie is better than Kobiyashi,Buemi,Alguersuari,Guitterez and a bunch of other drivers who are without a drive/who’ll be without a drive soon ? What exactly has Susie Wolff achieved to deserve an F1 seat ?

      1. Anne says:

        Susie is already a test driver working for one team. It´s not her fault that there are unlucky drivers out there without a seat. Give her a chance to show if she is worthy or not. if she is not then Williams can sign Alguersuari, Kobashashy or whoever.

      2. Zombie says:

        She is a “test driver” not because of her skills or feedback, but because of her hubby Toto. F1 isnt a sunday county go-kart race to give her a chance over many other worthy contenders for that seat. She has achieved zilch,nada,zero in her career. To think she deserves better over Kobi,Alguersuari,Buemi and a bunch of other drivers just because of her gender is preposterous!

      3. Jonathan says:

        She did marry a shareholder! :-)

        Having taken my tongue out of my cheek I can also say achievements have very little to do it. A development driver is all about delivering usable data to the team. Ultimate speed has very little value. For a good test driver it is all about delivering consistent lap times. The team needs to see lap times that truly represent lowering fuel levels and degrading tyres.

        There was a brilliant article recently about the way a race driver ends up driving a simulator in a different way to a development driver in very subtle ways that can spoil the data. I seem to recall it mentioned Alonso in particular changing his driving style in the simulator in anticipation of certain factors – such as the all but impossibility of a simulator delivering realistic G forces.

        Bearing this in mind it is important that a development driver takes part in confirming the correlation of the real car and the simulator.

        Many people considered Damon Hill not to be a decent race driver – especially as he apparently jumped straight into a decent car – but they conveniently forget the time he put into developing that same car where he was considered brilliant at giving engineers data and feedback they could work with.

      4. Paul Kirk says:

        And,Zomby,aparently Rubens Barracello!
        PK.

  6. McHarg123 says:

    I still don’t fully understand why a team hasn’t gone after a Female driver earlier?? The upsides would be huge.

    1. Tealeaf says:

      What upsides is that then? Which female driver has set the world alight with stunning pace and talent recently? I’m struggling to think of 1.

      1. Jake says:

        If that were the only criteria for a seat in an F1 car there a few of the current drivers that should not be there.
        Money and publicity are more important than pure talent to some teams.

      2. Mad Kiwi says:

        Why does a female driver have to have “Stunning Pace” ???

        Couldn’t a female driver average to okay pac slot in to one of the bottom tier teams and so long as she could more or less run the pace of THAT team or car, wouldn’t that be alright…

        Sponsorship and exposure for the lower team, Exposure and a chance to develop for the driver..

        I appreciate the racign down that end of the grid is probably just as fierce (if not more so) than the front but at that end of the grid PERHAPS the driver is less of a factor than the car itself…

        I think letting her have a drive, be it as a reward for work done to date for the team, as a real excercise to align her sim work with reality or simply to gain the team exposure are all valid and good reasons.

        Good on Williams for doing it. Good Luck to Susie too.

        It would be great if she could post a time faster than any of the bottom team drivers….

        Just to shut some of you guys up and give you something else to moan about.

        I am not sure that will happen but I hope she can.

      3. AuraF1 says:

        How many teams have signed up drivers based on ‘stunning pace’? Mostly it seems to be about money. Perhaps hold women drivers to the same standard? If they being sponsorship the talent seems to go by the wayside with men…

      4. McHarg123 says:

        I’m not talking necessarily about pace. I’m talking about exposure and sponsorship. eg. Danica Patrick. A team like Williams are bound to attract sponsorship for recruiting a Female driver.

    2. Arno says:

      mcharg123, because F1 is all about speed, performance and because no women to this day has demonstrated that she has that.

    3. Paul Kirk says:

      McHarg do you mean “backsides”?
      Lol.
      PK.

      1. McHarg123 says:

        Lol +1
        Just stating my opinion that’s all

  7. Scott D says:

    I will be interested to see if there is any point in putting her in an F1 car…any comparison with Maldonado’s times should be interesting assuming they dont just run her on fumes.

  8. Chris says:

    Best of luck to her, hope she thrives and does very well. Sadly the car may mask her a bit. I am surprised she’s doing the sim work for Williams, shouldn’t a driver with good experiance be doing that? Sad to say it’s showing on the track (and this is about experiance, not about her sex).

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      Given the restrictions on track time, most sim drivers have limited F1 experience.

      1. Chris says:

        Andrew that’s a very good point, but there are drivers out there with good F1 experience who could offer something!

      2. Andrew Carter says:

        Part of the requirement of the test is that drivers have competed in less than 3 GP (don’t know the exact number but it’s pretty small). That means most of those drivers with experience are illegible for what should be renamed as a rookie test.

  9. David C says:

    Best of luck to her but I think it’s a bit pointless considering age, lack of recent open wheel racing experience and terrible record in DTM. I would love to see her do well but I don’t see it happening. Alas she is not going to be the one who shuts up all the bigots who say women can’t drive F1 cars.

  10. Jimbo says:

    What about Katherine Legge for Minardi in 2005? I’m sure she tested alongside alongside a few other drivers during her test.

    Nonetheless, good to see Susie finally get a proper outing in the Williams.

    1. jon l says:

      Not against established F1 drivers or drivers in other teams. It was only Minardi and with a few young drivers they ran before handing the team over to Red Bull/Toro Rosso.

    2. GT_Racer says:

      Katherine did the Minardi test at the end of 2005 at Vallelunga.

      She spun on the 1st day as a result of her not fully understanding the TC system & doing something that over-rode it.
      She was very impressive on the 2nd day however & set a best lap of 1:21.176 after about 30 laps.

      Paul Stoddart was full of praise for her performance at that test.

      Just a shame she got thrown into Champcar in 2006 before she was really ready, She’d been brilliant in Atlantics through 2005 with 3 wins & really could have done with another year in that series before been moved into the big cars.

  11. Richardd says:

    Can’t imagine the weight on her shoulders

    1. Tealeaf says:

      Haha yeah very true, and also his “young driver’s test” seems really “old” with the likes of Kimi, Alonso and Suzie driving.

    2. Rob says:

      The weight on her shoulders is nicely counter balanced by the weight on her wedding ring finger… She would never have got anywhere near an F1 car without her husband’s pull/$.

  12. VV says:

    Good for her. Hope she does well.

  13. thejudge13 says:

    Think we may see a certain younger Australian testing for RB this week.

  14. jim says:

    Oh, how the mighty have fallen. :lol:

  15. Joe says:

    “Young” driver is defined as having taken part in no more than two F1 races.

    I’m sure that if her input wasn’t useful, Williams wouldn’t run her. She doesn’t bring huge amounts of cash, her husband is no longer on the board. Development driving isn’t necessarily about being the outright fastest – it’s requires driving consistently and giving excellent engineering feedback. She clearly fits the bill.

  16. Ravi says:

    Toto Wolff is indeed an awesome deal maker and negotiator !

    1. TP says:

      Nail. Hit. Head.

      I’m all for seeing a female F1 driver, but Suzie doesn’t have the credentials.

      Be interesting to see how she goes, not that test times mean much.

  17. Elie says:

    From a testing/ correlation point of view this makes perfect sense. But as a future race driver it makes none what so ever. Surely their are other young drivers – ladies included that can grow within the team. I wish her well but like many have said if she doesn’t work out its a wasted opportunity for a young talent and setback for her and the team. Im sure their are several other proven racing drivers that would give their right hand to race for Williams.. KK, Petrov, Kovalianen, Alguesuari… I know, I know- money and powerful shareholder husband

    1. Elie says:

      Not to mention first lady CEO in Claire Williams..

      1. IanC says:

        Claire Williams isn’t the CEO of Williams, Mike O’Driscoll is. And she won’t even be the first F1 team principal or CEO as Kaltenborn of Sauber has that distinction.

      2. Elie says:

        Sorry right you are- meant to say Williams Team Principal

  18. Richard says:

    Well at the risk of someone thinking this is sexist I don’t think Stirling Moss is too far from the mark. There are some things that men do well, and there are things women do well, but I don’t think motor racing is one of them particularly at the highest level. Ask yourself if they would still want to do it when it was considerably more dangerous than it is today, and I expect that any woman involved would have been very much the exception rather than the rule. May one of them prove me wrong, but I don’t think they can cut it at the highest level. Men and women are wired differently so I don’t see it becoming widespread, and one has to ask oneself how much of this is because Susie is Toto’s wife.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      Your argument has a sound scientific basis. Oh wait – no it’s just an opinion you generalised half the population of the planet with…

      There are men who are caring, nurturing, multi-tasking and wouldn’t take the remotest risk in getting near an F1 car.

      There are women who take part in extreme sports and have proven themselves at the peak of technically based skills (female test pilots and astronauts for example).

      Let’s just say that over 99% of women AND men are not cut out for F1 – hell, we even complain about half of the men in F1 being rubbish on these forums.

      Maybe Susie Is not cut out for it – but that’s not to say your argument holds any merit. That’s like judging all men based on say felipe Massa – he’s crashed a few times recently – so clearly the male gender shouldn’t be allowed near high level Motorsport. Think about it a bit.

      1. Richard says:

        Well I wish you would not put words into my mouth, but I stand by what I said. I think on the whole men would be better at it than women regardless of the level they were at. By that reasoning there would be more men making it through to F1. There’s no doubt women would be good at certain aspects of it, but in the end it’s having that certain grit, and determination to succeed and being able to sustain it throughout a race. Completely unrelated there are other professions that I think men are better such as dentistry, and while women can be very knowledgeable, men are seem better at it from a practical point of view. I state from experience from the practice I attend where they took on a female dentist, however slowly but surely patients migrated back to the male dentists.

      2. AuraF1 says:

        Oh right your dentist – well why didn’t you say so…

        Clearly thought long and hard about that whole stereotyping issue…

        Never mind.

  19. john says:

    its a shame a kid – girl or boy – from the wrong side of the tracks, who has trained from go karts, FFord, F3, etc… left home early, spent the long nights in the garage, been cold in the wet, had accidents they can’t pay for, has had to look for and find sponsorship to eat and survive in motorsport … but who was born with a god given talent to drive – is not getting an F1 test … as opposed to a shareholders spouse who last came ninth in DTM.

    Forget sexism. This should be about giving a kid a break – women or men.

    1. Alan Dove says:

      Susie put in the mileage in karting as per the norm nowadays, so while she doesn’t have the results some would expect from a driver getting an F1 test, she isn’t a total dinlo.

      And F1 being about promoting pure driving talent? Those days have never existed.

      1. john says:

        sorry, what … “Those days have never existed”

        F1 is not about promoting driver talent ?

        so Kimi Raikkonen’s F1 drive after 23 car races wasnt promoting driver talent ? …

        nor is some 17 year old kid by the name of Sebastian Vettel getting a Williams F1 test as a result of winning a rookie trophy, relevant …

        …and at 21, Lewis Hamilton showed no promise either I suppose when he ran a McLaren ?

        …I could go on if you like …

        and btw, Susie Wolf is no Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel or Lewis Hamilton.

      2. Alan Dove says:

        The barrier to entry into motorsport is so very very high now. There are of course exceptions but when you see families having to re-mortgage their house just to race go-karts you start to get a little perspective.

  20. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Cool, excellent, good luck and I hope more opportunities to come.

  21. Franco says:

    No woman will ever be successful in F1 until they are given the proper opportunity, this starts in lower formulas to enable them to show their skills and get noticed.

    James, next time you interview RedBull maybe you ask them if they have ever considered a female young driver programme.

  22. deane says:

    ”Young driver test” is just a lazy term that the media, forum users and even the teams use for a test that is nothing of the sort, even before the Pirelli mess.

    Laptime is king, so lets wait for SS to test next week before making too many comments, hey?

  23. Haydn Lowe says:

    I’m a little bit ‘meh’ about the whole thing to be honest. If there was a female driver out there who was good enough I think she’d be in a car already – money talks in F1 and a female driver would bring similar exposure to the sport that Hamilton did as the first black driver.
    I’d love to be proved wrong, but I suspect that women drivers would not be able to hang with the men and that’s the real reason why there aren’t any now, and why the only woman knocking on the door is the 30 year old wife of a major paddock player.

  24. Paul Meyer says:

    WOW! I must say I didn’t expect these caveman-type comments from most of this website’s readership. Thank goodness for the few people who can see the bigger picture.

    1. Rob says:

      If Williams had announced they were putting a male “young driver” into the car with such a questionable driving resume and being married to a former Williams major shareholder/now director of Mercedes Benz F1 team most of the same comments would apply.

      This has nothing with her being a woman… it has to do with her being this person’s spouse.

      Oh that an an F1 team would search for a young female driver to promoter though junior formula.

    2. docjkm says:

      Please, what exactly IS the “bigger picture”?

      1. Rob says:

        is the bigger picture Toto Wolff’s cheque book?

  25. Greg (Aus) says:

    Good luck to Susie, I hope the test goes well.

    Her track record in other categories doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, but I’m willing to reserve judgement until we see what she can do in the car.

    And if, in the meantime, it attracts some positive publicity for Williams and helps the team with sponsorship to get it back competing where it should be, all the better.

  26. Keith says:

    What people need to remember is that Frank Williams has been in F1 for a long time, and if she didn’t contribute anything worthwhile to the team and its performance, then she would have been gone a long time ago. Frank has got rid of drivers in the past that didn’t perform, and no he hasn’t gone soft in his old age.

    Secondly if they (Williams) were going to use her, as female, in a marketing role, then she would be plastered all over the place and we haven’t seen that at all. In fact at times you wonder if she is still at Williams, which means she is there on merit – so far.
    Her role, from what I can gather is similar to Gary Paffett at McLaren’s and Pedro De Rosa at Ferrari. They spend most of their time in the Simulator assessing new parts on the car. So let’s see how she goes, before passing on remarks.

    I for one will be keen to see her times, against Maldonado. On his day he can be quick, and given that he is South American, I don’t think he will want to be beaten by a female, just right now. Sure he is going to be running a tyre program, but you can bet he will want to post a damn quick time, just to show he is there on merit also.

    My understanding is that she needs the running to get her Super License, so the FIA will be taking a close look at her performance also.

    1. Rob says:

      2013 Frank Williams/Williams F1 isn’t the same place that it used to be… a long time ago.

      And De La Rosa and Paffett have racing resumes that you may care to compare with Wolff’s. Either one might actually be a better choice to have Williams race drive than one of the two pay drivers Williams currently need to field.

    2. Anop Valimbe says:

      I think everyone who drives a F1 car should have a super license and not only the race drivers.

      James, do only race drivers get super license?

    3. ShaBooPi says:

      Hey Keith while you have valid points you’ve omitted one major thing which is Claire Williams this year has become deputy team principal. And now in the same year Susie Wolf gets her a somewhat big shot. This isn’t the Williams of old, as the other poster mentioned.

    4. Michael Carty says:

      Keith. Two words why Frank Williams has kept her and thats Toto Wolff. A huge Williams F1 shareholder and husband of Susie

      1. Keith says:

        I think people are missing the point of my comment.

        Michael Carty – Toto Wolff only holds a little under 16% of William shares that is by no means a major shareholder in the Business. He doesn’t even have a board seat when he was working there. So very little, to no power at all.
        Secondly she is a paid member of staff, not there as a sponsored person, nor has she paid her way to be there. There would most likely be around 20 to 60 very keen and eager drivers with sponsorship packages that would have had their managers knocking on the door of Williams asking for a chance to be the Development Driver, and would put down some form of cash / funds to back their case. Yet she is still there. So what does that say about her work that she is doing.

        ShaBooPi – As to what I said, I believe she is there on merit, so far. As for Clair, if you have ever meet her, then you would be saying good choice, secondly if you have ever followed William’s from the late 1970’s to today, then you would have known all about the alleged “Piranha Club” and Frank is one of the big long term members of said club. If one even needs to think about the team or Frank going soft in his old age then think again. Look at the quick changes the team just made. Out is Coughlan and in is Pat Symonds. In today’s world no one single person designs a car anymore, but if you lead that team, and it is crap, then you’re out.
        Now we see Pat Symonds in, and he is one Big Bad Ass Shark, A true racer, like Frank of the old days, an out of the box thinker, and not a person, to hold your hand. So if she can’t perform, then he will voice his disapproval and she will be gone. Pretty much as simple as that.

        In the past we had the old “T” car, and then full on testing teams. Now we only have the simulator and wind tunnels to fine tune the cars. Not everyone is good on the simulators also. It is well known that Michael Schumacher got, we call in simple terms car sickness in the simulators. McLaren’s is believed to have the best in the business and Williams is not a far second behind it, based on what a number of former and current drivers say about the equipment.
        Some people are extremely good at that type of work. Paffett at McLaren is consider to be one of the best in the simulator, and as for Petro De La Rosa, he has shown the way in which it can be a very valuable tool to the race team, which is why he is at Ferrari and they do need a lot of help in the department. They were very late to the game in using simulators.

        So as I said in my comment, let’s see how she goes on the track before passing judgement on her. She has got a lot farther than any of us has gone in F1.

      2. Michael Carty says:

        You totally underestimate the influence that Toto Wolff has. Loads of drivers have a MUCH more impressive CV that Susie, who has at best, a very average one. Two drivers that spring to mind, who are not attached to an F1 time who have bags loads of talent are Antonio Felix da Costa, and James Calado. Why aren’t they employed instead of her ? No logical reason I can think of. Cant wait to see her times ? Wish her car was weighted after every run

      3. Keith says:

        Michael Carty –
        I disagree with your view that Toto Wolff carried to much influence at Williams. He is in fact pretty new to single seater racing and F1 at that. As I stated, there are a lot of people who are fast, but just don’t know why they are fast, which is pretty useless to an F1 engineer. There are drivers who are extremely quick over a single lap, yet race pace is pretty bad. Plus you have drivers who can’t qualify very well, yet race a lot better than there grid position states.

        As for the simulator, which is what she is employed for, there are a number of current drivers who are crap at it. That is why, when a person is good at the simulator like Gary Paffett, but hasn’t got a race seat, and then you have to wonder why McLaren keep him on, if I go or judge that person by your view of Ms. Wolff.

        As for looking at impressive CV, maybe you should cast your mind back to a certain Jan Magnussen, Back in 1994, he won 14 out of 18 F3 races, and everyone and I mean everyone said next world Champion. Yet he gets into F1, and nothing happens, in fact people were totally stunned at his performance. He was even replaced part way through a season. Yes that is his son Kevin, currently driving today for McLaren. So an impressive CV is not the sure fired ticket to F1 success.

  27. Pat Byrne says:

    It’s newsworthy. F1 was always thus. It’s not like she’s going to get a race seat.

    Frankly I have a bigger problem with Daddy’s boy Max Chilton holding a drive in F1 despite being annihilated by his teammate. I do wish the Sky presenters would stop making excuses for him.

    1. Michael Carty says:

      100%. Esteban Gutierrez is much closer to his established and rated team mate than Max is to his unproven rookie team mate, yet its Gutierrez who all the Sky F1 presenters infer is in over his head and in danger of loosing his drive

  28. aveli says:

    i think all the women drivers should get together and push foe a women f1 race where each team provises a third car to be driven by a woman in a support race before the main event.

  29. Martin says:

    For all those who say women aren’t up to it:

    Back in 1930′s Elizabeth Junek come second in Targa Florio in her husbands private Bugatti T35, (and she would have won if it wasn’t for a puncture). That was 3 laps of Sicily on closed, but regular roads, no safety whatever.
    Compared to that todays F1 is walk in park.
    Regards,
    Martin

  30. Mike from Colombia says:

    Nowadays we have to say that men and women are equal in every way….otherwise the PC brigade will be at your throat.

    The fact is that there are things that men will be able to do better than women and things that women will be able to do better than men….what is the problem with this?

    Given that women have to compete against men in conditions where there are extreme physical demands – then it is natural that men will have the upper hand.

    Why not enter women and men into a single Wimbledon championship?

    And using Danica Patrick as an example is not particularly useful. NASCAR is nowhere near F1 in terms of the skillset required. Put the F1 guys in NASCAR and they will very soon be competing near the top. Put a NASCAR guy in F1 and see how he will struggle to cope.

    We hear of Danica Patrick and Susie Wolff complaining about wanting opportunities and to be treated seriously and equally – to be considered as racers and not as women. And then the next week they are stripping their clothes off for some “sexy” (I use the term very loosely in this cas) photoshoot. Which way do you want to have it ?

    1. Zombie says:

      Did you just say that ? I mean, did you really just say NASCAR takes less skill than F1 ?? Maybe that’s why Montoya,JV,Kimi never even got close to the sharp end of the field. Trulli and Salo tried too, but came nowhere close for a fulltime drive. NASCAR and F1 are two different sports that requires different set of skills. Few openwheeled racers have ever succeeded in NASCAR, and few NASCAR racers have even done well in open-wheeled cars.

      And i wouldnt put Susie and Danica in the same sentence. Danica Patrick is a formed IRL race winner, and has done well in Nationwide series with 2 poles despite her limited experience and tough competition.

      1. ShaBooPi says:

        Uh…sorry Zombie. Montoya pretty much after his golden F1 years stumbled over to the US and won races in virtually every series he raced in. He’s also a Nascar rookie of the year and this year could easily have had 2 wins were it not for untimely cautions with 2 laps remaining. Montoya didn’t grow up dreaming of being a Nascar driver… so you can’t compare him to Nascar greats who did. He got his F1 dream and when he wamt good enough he went elsewhere and won races easily. The sheer lack of fitness of Nascar drivers compared to sportsmen and women including F1 drivers is telling, either the sport hasn’t evolved or the drivers are from a limited pool. We see this in every sport from boxing to tennis every decade athletes get fitter. Nascar is still miles behind and a talented sportsperson will always lose to a talented and physically fit sportsperson. Just my opinion.

      2. Mike from Colombia says:

        Yes. I did say that.

      3. zombie says:

        ..and you are wrong. Wake me up when one of the so called driving gods of F1 takes wipes NASCAR.

        ShaBooPi : After golden years in F1 ? Montoya spent less than 6 seasons in F1 and was barely 30 when he left for NASCAR. He has spent more time in NASCAR than in F1, and yet nowhere close to challenging for the cup despite a competitive team. Sure, his 2 wins has been on road courses and his best finish in a championship has been out of top 5 after 7 seasons.

        Comparing lack of fitness of NASCAR drivers who don’t have to bear the same G-forces of a open-wheeled car is like comparing tennis to rugby ! NASCAR and F1 are two different sports that takes different skills. Those who claim one is greater than the other sadly has no understanding of either.

      4. Mike from Colombia says:

        F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport….end of.

      5. Zombie says:

        Yaawn ! Still struggling to prove your “NASCAR is nowhere near F1 in terms of the skillset required” statement eh ? Tough luck,mate.

        Like i said, wake me when one of the F1 guys succeed in NASCAR. Until then enjoy living in your “pinnacle well” !

  31. YashFlash says:

    Waste of petrol. Slowest time of the whole test without a doubt.
    Short tracking women into F1 has never worked and never will, drivers need the graft and success through junior formula and young women need to be left to progress naturaly to develope as drivers.
    Go Danica!

  32. Seifenkistler says:

    Actually my wife is the way better racing driver than me: i did gravity races as a kid (= Seifenkiste), she did car slalom with her NSU Prinz – actually winning some amateur races.
    She said one of the disadvantages of a woman is the weight of the brain. She needs way bigger neck muscles than men to compensate for the extra weight ;)
    This is the same reason why we didn’t put helmets on our young kids when we placed them in the sidecars of our bikes. Weak neck muscles and with the extra weight of the helmet it can be dangerous at emergency breaking.
    Kid seat with roll protection top, neck protection and shoulder traps, but no helmet.

  33. Glennb says:

    Speaking of the YDT, I see that RBR have taken my suggestion and put Ricciardo in the RB9 on Wednesday arvo.
    This totally makes sense.

  34. Monza71 says:

    I want to see a woman driving in F1 but strictly on merit.

    Nobody should get a seat unless they have a proven record in GP2 and Wolfe doesn’t does she ? She didn’t even do well in DTM.

    Her only claim to fame appears to be a husband with plenty of money and shares in the Williams team.

    Williams certainly seems to need the cash but if she fails miserably it will be at least as big a setback for women in F1 as the ludicrous Villota debacle.

    There has to be a woman out there that can take it to the men on equal terms as Michele Mouton did in Rallying and, remember, she also won LMP2 at LeMans : a significant achievement on it’s own.

    I suspect Wolff isn’t in the same league as Ms Mouton and even Danica Patrick has declined to put herself up against the men in F1. I wonder why ?

    I suggest we wait and see Wolff’s times. Perhaps we will be pleasantly surprised……

  35. Roberto says:

    Most of the people commenting, would dream only to be on the grandstands to watch the “YDT”. Many of the pundits have criticised not only Williams decision to put Mrs. Wolf on a car, but also criticise her for not refusing the opportunity… Even if she isn´t the next big star or come last, she has earned the seat for the test, how many years do you think she has working to get there? have you “pundits” done it? wtvr reasons Williams have to put her on a car they are all valuable, she has almost two years with the team,working on simulator, racing experience and why not a shareholding husband who has believed and invested in the team, enough reasons??

  36. Michael Carty says:

    Guys,

    I agree that this is a total joke. This driver does not deserve the test based on their results. Im not mentioning the drivers sex at all.

    The young driver test is just a name. The criteria are clearly laid out here. Nothing to do with age. Its how much F1 experience they have

  37. aveli says:

    serina would set williams alight again.

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