Race ace Susie Wolff reveals her delight at making Grand Prix debut at Silverstone

WITH its roaring engines and glamorous pit girls, Formula 1 is very much a man’s world but race ace Susie Wolff is on a mission to change that.

At Silverstone next week, Susie, from Oban, Argyll, will be the first woman to take to the track at a Grand Prix in 22 years.

As an F1 development driver for Williams Martini Racing, she will test the cars before the race so final adjustments can be made.

Although delighted to be making her Grand Prix debut on home soil, Susie, 31, is still determined to make it on to the starting grid for real in a competitive race.

The racer, who started driving go-karts aged eight, said: “I am very excited about Silverstone.

“It’s a massive opportunity for me and one that I’ve worked long and hard to get.

“I’m proud to be part of Williams. They are an iconic British team with a lot of heritage in the sport.

“As a British driver, taking part in the British Grand Prix is also very special, especially as it’s Silverstone’s 50th birthday.

“If we are successful there will be massive celebrations on Sunday.”

She added: “My ultimate goal is to make it as an F1 driver.

“I’m determined to do it but I’m under no illusions. It will be a long, hard slog but I will get there.

“I’m not out to rewrite the history books of what women can achieve in racing, I’m doing it for me.

“I’m out to be the best I can be and if that inspires other women along the way then that’s another positive.

“I’ve just got to focus on being the fastest and the best.”

Making it in F1 is tough – even with the talent and ruthless ambition of champs such as Alain Prost, Michael Schumacher or Sebastian Vettel.

To make it as a woman is virtually impossible. In 64 years, just five have made the cut, compared with 822 men.

And women drivers have made it on to the starting grid just 15 times, the last being Italian Giovanna Amati in 1992.

Susie said: “Becoming an F1 championship driver is extremely difficult but I’m determined.

“Teams want lighter drivers, which counts in women’s favour, and physically we are catching up on the men. It’s only a matter of time.

“You need to be the complete package and bring in the right amount of sponsorship.

“It would be a great marketing ploy to sign a woman, so you never know.”


Susie, who lives in Switzerland with her husband, Mercedes-Benz motorsport executive director Toto, 42, added: “The whole culture of the sport is changing and there are more female engineers and bosses. It’s a great time to be a woman in motorsport.”

F1 is a very physical sport. On track, drivers will experience G-forces equating to around four-and-a-half times their body weight.

You need serious strength to manoeuvre the cars which means petite Susie has to follow a rigorous training regime and a healthy diet.

She said: “I hate the word diet. My philosophy is, what you put in you is what you’re going to get out.

“If you put diesel in a petrol car it won’t work properly. I could eat junk but it won’t help me.

“You can’t afford for your weight to fluctuate in F1 as the engineers would have to make 

continual adjustments to the cars.

“People don’t realise how physical driving can be. Moving your head, even a millimetre to the left or right, could result in a broken neck.”

Susie, who will also test drive at the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim on July 20, added: “I have proved, strength and stamina wise, I am up there with the men.

“I’ve probably had to work harder to get here but I have earned the other drivers’ respect.”

One of Susie’s biggest supporters is former racer and fellow Scot David Coulthard, now a BBC commentator.

He said: “She’s a very talented racing driver – focused and determined. She’s beaten me more than once.

“Could she be an F1 driver? Absolutely.”

Racing is a dangerous sport but Susie, who was hurt in a 180mph crash in 2006, says there is no room for fear in Formula 1.

She said: “If you have a crash, you just get back in the car and keep going.

“My parents still find it hard to watch me in action but they understand my passion and are my No1 supporters.

“My husband also gets really nervous before I race. He knows how much it takes out of me mentally and physically.”

Racing is Susie’s life at the moment but she would love to have a family in the future.

She said: “I wouldn’t have babies while I’m still racing and I’m nowhere near ready to give all that up.”

She may be classed as a British driver but when she makes it on to the starting grid, Susie will be flying the flag for Scotland.

She said: “I’m a proud Scot. I have a Saltire on my racing suit and on my helmet.

“For such a small country, we produce a lot of top-class sportspeople, look at Andy Murray.

“I am looking forward to making more history for Scotland.”


Source: http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/motor-sports/race-ace-susie-wolff-reveals-3784220