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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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1

serina would set williams alight again.

2

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

3

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??

4

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……

5

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.

6

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.

7

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!

8
Mike from Colombia

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 ?

9

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.

10
Mike from Colombia

Yes. I did say that.

11

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” !

12
Mike from Colombia

F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport….end of.

13

..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.

14

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.

15

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

16

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.

17

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.

18

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

19

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.

20

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

21

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.

22

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.

23

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

24

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.

25

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?

26

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.

27

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.

28

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.

29

Please, what exactly IS the “bigger picture”?

30

is the bigger picture Toto Wolff’s cheque book?

31

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.

32

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.

33

”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?

34

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.

35
Tornillo Amarillo

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

36

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.

37

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.

38

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.

39

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.

40

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.

41

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.

42

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.

43

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

Clearly thought long and hard about that whole stereotyping issue…

Never mind.

44

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

45

Not to mention first lady CEO in Claire Williams..

46

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.

47

Sorry right you are- meant to say Williams Team Principal

48

Toto Wolff is indeed an awesome deal maker and negotiator !

49

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.

50

“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.

51

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. 😆

52

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

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