Susie Wolff will become the first female driver to take part in a Grand Prix weekend for over 20 years when she drives the Williams in two Free Practice sessions, the team has announced.
Wolff, who has been part of the back room driving staff at Williams since 2012, drove in the Young Drivers Test at Silverstone last July and has been given the opportunity to get some more mileage, under the spotlights of a Grand Prix weekend. The team has not specified which two events she will participate in. She will also get a full test day at one of the four in season tests which are a new feature for 2014.
The statement from Williams this morning said, “In 2014 Susie will continue to work in the Williams simulator to help further develop the FW36. Driving for Williams in two FP1 sessions this season will see Susie become the first female driver to compete in a Formula One Grand Prix session in over two decades, and builds on her promising performance for Williams in last year’s Young Drivers Test in Silverstone.”
Wolff is married to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and has raced extensively in the DTM series.
The last appearance by a female driver at a Grand Prix event came at the start of the 1992 season; Giovanna Amati failed to qualify at the South African, Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix. Lella Lombardi scored half a point in the 1970s and the real pioneer Maria Teresa de Filippis raced a Maserati in three Grands Prix in 1958.
Williams also took on Brazilian Felipe Nasr last week as a development driver with the promise of some FP1 outings, which means that Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa are going to have to accept missing a practice session on a few occasions. Bottas can have little complaint as this is how he got his chance, but for Massa this will be new territory.