Susie Wolff joins Williams as development driver

2012 F1 season

Williams has announced Susie Wolff has become one of the team’s development drivers.

Wolff (nee Stoddart) has raced in the DTM since 2006. Her best result is two seventh places scored in 2010.

Team principal Frank Williams said: “Susie is a talented, successful and highly professional racing driver who competes in one of the world?s most fiercely-contested racing series.

“Susie will join Williams as a Development Driver, in which capacity she will assist us with the development of our simulator and other technical challenges. Susie will also undertake some aerodynamic testing of the FW34 and a full track test in the coming months. Susie will also attend a number of races with us.

“I should add that, as Susie is married to Toto Wolff, a Director of Williams, her appointment was carefully considered and then approved by the Board, with Toto recusing himself from the process.”

Wolff said: “I would like to thank Sir Frank for giving me this opportunity both on and off the track. I must also thank Mercedes Benz AMG and HWA for supporting me to take up this new experience with Williams.

“Formula One is the ultimate challenge for any racing driver and it offers me the chance both to apply and to improve the skills I have developed racing in DTM.

“In return I shall be offering some of my own technical insight and experience ?ǣ coming from a different discipline ?ǣ and helping the team engage with its partners.”

Bernie Ecclestone gave his backing to the move, saying: “If Susie is as quick in a car as she looks good out of a car then she will be a massive asset to any team and on top of that she is very intelligent. I am really looking forward to having her in Formula One.”

Wolff joins Williams’ development driver line-up alongside GP3 champion Valtterri Bottas, who is driving for the team in Friday practice sessions this year.

2012 F1 season


Browse all 2012 F1 season articles

Image ?? DTM

Advert | Go Ad-free

101 comments on Susie Wolff joins Williams as development driver

  1. andae23 (@andae23) said on 11th April 2012, 10:25

    Wolff (nee Stoddart) has raced in the DTM since 2006. Her best result is two seventh places scored in 2010.

    “I should add that, as Susie is married to Toto Wolff, a Director of Williams, her appointment was carefully considered and then approved by the Board, with Toto recusing himself from the process.”

    Somehow these two things don’t add up…

  2. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 11th April 2012, 10:28

    The interesting thing here is the presence of a quote from Bernie Ecclestone. Why is he endorsing Wolff’s appointment? In the light of the surprising recent departure of Adam Parr, it’s bound to raise questions.

  3. davros said on 11th April 2012, 10:30

    If only there was a separate category just for women in DTM then her results in the series over the last six years wouldn’t look so bleak. Anyway I’m sure Frank has chosen her for all the right reasons, and doesn’t secretly find this rather depressing.

  4. realracer (@realracer) said on 11th April 2012, 10:30

    Yep once again, being a women gets her places where a man has to break his back to get too, shameful, what exactly is she going to develop into?? Her DTM record speaks for itself, she’s not F1 material.

    • Dobin1000 (@dobin1000) said on 11th April 2012, 11:27

      Exactly, she has it so easy racing for six years in DTM – where’s my test??

    • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 11th April 2012, 12:19

      But there have been loads of supposedly sub-standard drivers in F1 over the years.
      There are also some people who didn’t do so well in the lower formulae, and excelled in F1, like james Hunt, and there have been some people who were awesome in the lower formulae who weren’t that good in an f1 car, like Giorgio Pantano and Vitantonio Liuzzi

    • James (@jamesf1) said on 11th April 2012, 12:47

      Given the lack of female involvment in the sport at a racing, testing or even simulator role in the last 40 or so years, I’d say the women are breaking their backs to get into the sport.

    • Puffy (@puffy) said on 11th April 2012, 13:18

      Exactly! I’m tired of women getting all the drives in motor racing, I mean look at how skewed the Formula 1 field is. Oh no wait, my mistake, you’re talking complete and utter nonsense.

      • realracer (@realracer) said on 11th April 2012, 13:51

        I’m not talking nonsense what exactly has suzie done to get an F1 driver role??? Six years in DTM and she hasn’t even finished in the top 5.

        • Lee1 said on 11th April 2012, 14:15

          How is this any different from other male drivers paying to race?

        • Puffy (@puffy) said on 11th April 2012, 14:47

          The patently ridiculous claim that women are somehow privileged over men in obtaining positions and the fact that your first instinct is to denigrate her for being a woman rather than questioning her credentials tells me that you have nothing to add to this discussion that anyone should take seriously. It shouldn’t need to be pointed out to you that there is a different skillset involved in being a race winning driver and a driver able to help develop cars/simulators/technologies, of which neither you nor I are in any position to debate her proficiency in. But the the indignation you’ve shown that a woman be given the job over a man, shows what kind of attitude you have towards women.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 11th April 2012, 15:44

            You do realize that most the talk about her helping develop the car will be nice PR talk right?

          • Puffy (@puffy) said on 11th April 2012, 16:29

            And that statement is based on? I mean apart from your inability to believe that a woman could actually make a meaningful contribution?

          • realracer (@realracer) said on 11th April 2012, 17:21

            As far as I know a good driver knows how to set-up a car well and knows what direction to take with it, Suzie has been in DTM for 6 years and has managed a best result of 7th, a lot of male drivers have been dropped after a season or two even after scoring better results, plus Suzie has no F1 experience so how is she going to contribute, to developing an F1 car??

          • Solo (@solo) said on 11th April 2012, 18:22

            Sorry Puffy but i can’t describe your words anything more than wrongly put sentimentality on taking unneeded defending role for the female gender.
            This woman isn’t there because she’s more capable than others.

            She’s there because she’s the wife of the Wolff guy. You don’t have to be a genius to put two and two together. Excuses about her talent are kind of desperate attempts considering her record.Does that mean she’s there because she’s a woman? Well maybe but ill give it more to her personal connection than her gender on this one.

          • Puffy (@puffy) said on 12th April 2012, 9:23

            @solo Please don’t misunderstand me, there are a lot of valid criticisms to be made about her appointment, but being a women is not one of them. Her DTM record is far from impressive and it’s certainly not much of a stretch to imagine that her connection to a director of the team was a factor in the decision, although I did point out that there’s not necessarily a link between racing results and being able to provide good technical feedback. My issue was purely with the assumption that because she is a women, she’s somehow less than a man, as well as the ridiculous notion that desirable positions are constantly being given to women to the detriment of men.

    • Her latest photo makes her look quite slight, this will be far more of an advantage in F1 than in DTM.

      In fact the castrol rankings website lists her as 168 cm and only 58 kg, i.e. lighter than Massa if slightly taller.

      What we don’t know is how good she is at car set-up, we don’t know what benefit her team mates get from her input or how technically adept she is.

      I think if she’d been hired for a race drive all the criticism would be valid, because we can see the results, and they are not those of an F1 driver. If she’d been picked as a future driver the same thing could be said, but her role is testing and simulator work. If I was running a team I’d want the best person at those things, but sitting outside as we are we have no idea how to judge her performance in that area. the only thing we do know is that she has a number of years experience in DTM, and before that F3 and karting.

      • Kelly (@kelly) said on 12th April 2012, 6:50

        Well in 6 years in DTM her best is 7th. I think that’s a pretty good indication that she can’t set up a car. I seriously wonder what Williams are doing with decisions like this. How good can a person be male or female in simulator work with no experience in F1?

  5. davros said on 11th April 2012, 10:35

    “If Pastor is as quick in a car as he looks good out of a car then he will be a massive asset to any team and on top of that he is very intelligent. I am really looking forward to having him in Formula One.”

    That’s a quote from Bernie just before the 2011 season.

  6. mattshaw85 (@mattshaw85) said on 11th April 2012, 10:40

    “If Susie is as quick in a car as she looks good out of a car then she will be a massive asset to any team”

    That’s… progressive.

  7. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 11th April 2012, 10:41

    I remeber seeing her in DTM some times. Is she related to paul stoddart?

  8. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th April 2012, 10:43

    So Marussia took Maria de Villota last month. Now Williams has Susie Wolff. Who will be next? Simona de Silvestro?

    • THOMF1S said on 11th April 2012, 10:49

      Why do you even need racing credentials, it seems all your really need is to know someone near the top…maybe one of the Ecclestone girls will jump in a car…

    • andae23 (@andae23) said on 11th April 2012, 10:59

      didn’t Danica Patrick had an F1-test a few years ago?

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th April 2012, 11:07

        @andae23 – She was supposed to test for Honda in 2008, but Honda quit Formula 1 and the test was cancelled. She was then repeatedly linked to USF1 (but so was Kyle Busch), only for them to take Jose Maria Lopez and James Rossiter before they folded (Rossiter’s joining the team was never actually announced, and it wasn’t until over a year later that his manager admitted they had signed up).

    • Lothario said on 11th April 2012, 11:22

      Well GP3 have two Female racers in Carmen Jorda and Vicky Piria. Might not be long before we see either of them if not both under contract to a big F1 team.

    • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 11th April 2012, 12:19

      Danica patrick!!!!!
      I want her in F1 in 2014

    • James (@jamesf1) said on 11th April 2012, 12:50

      Natascha Gaschnang? Alice Powell?

      Natascha is a pretty good racer. A shame she had a horrific accident in GT1 last year (or was it 2010?), she looked pretty promising. Alice Powell has really come alive in last couple of years too, remember watching her on ITV when they played Ginetta Junior highlights 4 or 5 years ago. Actually a good series, some impressive driving from kids as young as 14

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th April 2012, 13:44

        @jamesf1 – Powell is good, and certainly very promising, but I think she’s a little too inexperienced for Formula 1. She’s only really competed in low-tier Formula Renault series. As for Gachnang, she’s really dropped off the radar. She was impressive in Spanish Formula 3, but that was four years ago – and she really struggled in Formula 2 and Auto GP.

        Right now, I think Simona de Silvestro is the only female driver who can a) make it into Formula 1, and b) stands a chance at success.

    • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 11th April 2012, 13:48

      maria teresa de filippis? :P

    • Polishboy808 said on 12th April 2012, 0:31

      YES!!! I hope Sim gets a ride in F1 someday….

      Till then, I can only watch in anguish as she struggles with that stupid “Lotus” (read Judd) engine….

  9. THOMF1S said on 11th April 2012, 10:44

    Is this a new Bernie Ecclestone masterplan? Encourage all the teams to hire (moderatly) good looking women to drive instead? Nevermind about talent…

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th April 2012, 10:50

      If Wolff got a racing seat and impressed, it wouldn’t be the first time someone’s results in other gategories were not representative of their actual talent. Case in point, Kamui Kobayashi.

      • Joel Holland (@jholland) said on 11th April 2012, 12:42

        Kobayahsi won GP2 Asia. Sure he didn’t excel in the main series, but it was obvious he was top-level.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th April 2012, 13:48

          @jholland – GP2 Asia teams were encouraged to field drivers from non-traditional motorsport nations. When Kobayashi won the title, he was competing against the likes of Hamad Al Fardan, Kevin Nai Chia Chen and Mika Mäki, who are hardly household names. When he raced in GP2 proper later that year, he was up against Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Petrov, Maldonado and so on; all of them drivers who would eventually make it to Formula 1. The difference in overall talent between the GP2 and GP2 Asia grids was astronomical.

          • Joel Holland (@jholland) said on 11th April 2012, 17:54

            Yes, I know. But he beat d’Ambrosio, who’s not awful.

            My point is he did win something. Stodart hasn’t won anything.

    • Lothario said on 11th April 2012, 11:26

      It’s never about talent anyway, just if you have an impeccable season in GP2 and so many million in the bank thanks to an oil giant. Perfect example, Pastor Maldonado.

    • Maciek (@maciek) said on 11th April 2012, 12:54

      Why not, they’ve been hiring moderately good looking men without the necessary talent for years.

  10. Oh, no, was Milka Duno unavailable??

  11. matthewf1 (@) said on 11th April 2012, 11:19

    starting to think that a sex change is looking like my best way into F1

  12. Txizzle (@txizzle) said on 11th April 2012, 11:25

    As long as she can me it work on her own skill i’d gladly welcome her.

    Well, i’d gladly welcome any woman to F1, the only sad part is that most drivers of them get reeled in
    because of their gender and commercial value then there achievements.

    I hope Susie gets to suprise a few people.

  13. BasCB (@bascb) said on 11th April 2012, 11:38

    I really am not sure what to make of this announcement.

    The only real sense in putting out this press release seems to 1. get Bahrain out of the news for a few seconds 2. Show how Bernie and Williams are on better terms now that Parr has left. Next to that is shows that F1 is starting to get the idea that female drivers can do the job as well.

    But that typical Berie-esque inappropriate quote? Or the fact that her experience is all touring cars. Her relationship with Toto Wolff. Hm.

    But who knows, maybe it just shows Toto is bringing people who are real racing types into the Williams family. And it still might have to do with improving their simulator for sportscars usage that will get very usefull for developing their hybrid systems in the near future. Or even DTM looking at bringing hybrid systems into that series in the near future.

    • Bigbadderboom (@bigbadderboom) said on 11th April 2012, 11:55

      @BasCB The only real sense in putting out this press release seems to 1. get Bahrain out of the news for a few seconds

      From headlines I’m reading now this is seaming less likely! Looks like it’s all about to go into melt down for Bernie on this one, with no way of getting paid either!!

      As for Susie, well I hope she gets a shot on the track and maybe an FP1 just to get a real idea of how quick she could be in a single seater. But I think from his comments Bernie sees her more as “Eye candy in a ruce suit!” But i’m sure she has many more positive qualities she can bring to Williams!

  14. Richard F150 - I am not a truck said on 11th April 2012, 12:33

    If there is another female driver (test or otherwise) appointed in the next month or so I would guess that something interesting is in the works… 3-car mixed sex teams permitted or increased FOM funding perhaps.

  15. f1andy83 said on 11th April 2012, 12:57

    I think what we are all missing here is that women need to be forced into formula 1 in order to make them raise their game. For example, the reason why there aren’t that many great women racers is because the pool is very small compared to the pool of men. But if we start adding them to formula 1, as mediocre as they are, little girls will see that it is a possibility, and hopefully the pool of possible female drivers will increase. What I see from all the posts above is the short term outlook on this, but what we need to understand is that long term solutions usually take time. Do I agree with this approach, no. But I do understand what they are trying to achieve.

    • Tango (@tango) said on 11th April 2012, 13:15

      I certainly do hope that is te plan. I wouldn’t trust them with such a grand manoeuvre if there wasn’t any instant gain involved.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 11th April 2012, 13:52

      I think that what many are missing is that nowhere in the article does it say she will be driving any car under competitive conditions. She won’t be racing and nor will she be a reserve driver.

      This is not about women driving in Formula 1. This is about a person who has secured a testing and development role.

      • Flying Lobster 27 said on 11th April 2012, 14:26

        Agreed; like the nomination of de Villota, let’s not blow this out of proportion.
        Nonetheless, we are still to see a fully honest hiring of a woman on the basis of her racing credentials alone, and not women who are “coincidentally” daughters-of, wives-of or partners-of…

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.