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HindustanTimes Tue,30 Sep 2014

Other Sport

Female Formula One driver Susie Wolff aims for Grand Prix spot
AFP
London, February 24, 2014
First Published: 21:49 IST(24/2/2014)
Last Updated: 22:04 IST(24/2/2014)

Susie Wolff has set her sights on driving in a Grand Prix after it was announced on Monday she would become the first woman in 22 years to take part in a Formula One event of any kind.

Already a development driver with British team Williams, Wolff's expanded role will see the 31-year-old Scot take part in the first practice sessions ahead of both the British and German Grands Prix in July.

Not since Giovanna Amati, who failed to qualify in the 1992 Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos for Brabham, has a woman driven a Formula One car over the course of a race weekend.

Now Wolff hopes her knowledge of the tracks at Silverstone and Hockenheim will help in the quest to join the likes of world champion Sebastien Vettel and Fernando Alonso on a race-day grid.

"I've driven the car at Silverstone (in a test) last year so I have a bit of experience with the track, and Hockenheim I know well from my time in German touring cars," said Wolff.

"If you can take part in the Friday practice sessions, then of course you have to be looking at doing an actual race.


 In this Jan. 30, 2012, photo taken from files and released by the Williams F1 Team on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, Susie Wolff poses for a photo at the Monte Blanco Circuit in Spain. AP


"I said the minute I joined Williams I didn't want to run before I could walk.

"For me it's about doing a good job each step of the way and if I do that in the practice sessions then the next natural progression will be taking part in a race."

Wolff is aiming to do what only two women have done before her, with Italy's Maria Teresa di Filippis, who raced for Maserati three times in 1958, and Lella Lombardi, who took part in 12 races in the 1970s, the only female drivers to have so far competed in Formula One Grand Prix races.

Wolff, who joined Williams in 2012, added: "I've been made aware of the history of it, but more importantly for me is that we've done it in a chronological way.

"For me, it's more important to be doing a good job and contributing to the team and to be given the chance, not because of the history, but because of merit and the job I do for the team."

Williams' chief technical officer Pat Symonds said there was nothing 'tokenistic' about Wolff's latest role with the team.


In a file picture taken on February 19, 2013 Williams' Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado (L), Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas (C) and British development driver Susie Wolff (R) pose behind the Williams FW35 Formula One racing car during its launch before a training session. AP


"Susie has become a valued member of our driver line-up and 2014 will see her take on more responsibilities as we seek to make a strong step forward in performance," he said.

"Susie has demonstrated a natural talent for developing a car and providing strong feedback and these sort of characteristics will be key this season as teams seek to quickly understand and refine the radically overhauled 2014 cars."

Williams' announcement came just 10 days after grid rivals Sauber said Simona De Silvestro had joined them as an affiliated driver in a bid to gain the superlicence required to compete in Formula One.


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