Susie Wolff, Williams FW33, Silverstone, 2012

Wolff ‘not playing the woman card’ to get F1 seat

F1 Fanatic Round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Susie Wolff, Williams FW33, Silverstone, 2012In the round-up: Susie Wolff says she doesn’t intend to use the marketing potential of being a female racing driver to get a place in F1.


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Susie Wolff Q&A (Sky)

“For me that was really important and if that has more meaning to some people because I am female, then of course I will use that to my advantage, but I am not going to play that card as a way of ‘give me the drive because I’m a girl and I was fast enough’. At the end of the day there were a lot of great performances over the three days and we are all fighting hard to get into F1 and I have also got to keep fighting hard.”

Wolff drives women forwards with full Formula One test (CNN)

“After a tough end to my DTM career many people assumed I was always at the back and just wasn’t quick enough but I have showed that was possibly an unfair judgment.”

Sauber’s salvation: the inside story (Autosport, subscription required)

“Early this year a broker raised the possibility of a commercial and technical partnership with a Russian conglomerate. Peter [Sauber] and Monisha [Kaltenborn], a jurist with international law experience, poured heart and soul into the project, and by Bahrain it was clear from the smiles on their faces that progress had been made.”

Highlights of my McLaren career (McLaren)

Emerson Fittipaldi: “The old Buenos Aires circuit had the fastest, longest corner in Formula 1 and the M23 was extremely good in that corner. The fastest McLaren driver through there was Mike [Hailwood] ?ǣ Mike the Bike! I followed him round to see how he went so quickly there. And of course my other team-mate, Denny [Hulme], won the race, which was another reason for me to be confident that the M23 was a quick car.”

Comment of the day

Here’s the winner of the latest Caption Competition from @Michaeldobson13:

Bernie Ecclestone, Paul Hembery, Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona,

“For health and safety reasons, these tyres are pre-delaminated.”

From the forum

Happy birthday!

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On this day in F1

Aintree held the British Grand Prix for the last time on this day in 1962. Jim Clark won for Lotus ahead of John Surtees and Bruce McLaren.

Image ?? Williams/LAT

128 comments on “Wolff ‘not playing the woman card’ to get F1 seat”

  1. The only problem Wolff faces is that there aren’t any seats available. Of the four Mercedes-powered teams, all four have strong driver line-ups. Her best hope lies in waiting for someone else toove. The only scenario I can see playing out is her husband moving Bottas to Force India so that Wolff can take the Williams seat. Even then, she’ll face stiff competition from Daniel Juncadella.

  2. I’ve been reading through some frustrating comments on Susie Wolff: we all know Susie Wolff is not the greatest driver in the world, but a lot of people keep on making the point “Susie you suck, go home”, which is not really constructive.

    Obviously Williams has made a conscious decision to hire a female driver. The idea is to show young girls – and especially their parents – that Formula 1 is reachable, it is possible for a female driver to get to the top. That’s one way of achieving that goal.

    On the other hand, the FIA now has a committee (I believe with De Villota as chair(wo)man) that secures equality between men and women throughout the feeder series, so they try to prevent discrimination at any stage in a young girl’s career.

    So both methods have the same overall goal, but the first focusses on the actual drivers while the latter focusses essentially on the team bosses/talent programs. It just depends on where the actual problem lies, and to be honest I think female drivers aren’t the problem here. I think there are just too many Stirling Moss’s out there, which is sad.

    I’m not sure though, which should be the FIA’s first priority in this matter: they should first figure out why there haven’t been any female drivers in the past decades. 1. Identify the problem 2. Solve the problem. It can’t be that hard, right?

    1. 1. Identify the problem 2. Solve the problem.

      I think this is where a lot of FIA committees already struggle. From my perspective, most committees (like the overtaking group and what have you) seemed to be too partisan and too solution-minded. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in business school, it’s that you need a mediator for change and ideally also to lead a project. The committee to promote women in motorsport needs to attract some people who have absolutely nothing to do with F1, but are experts in research and perhaps project management.

      From my point of view, F1 often finds itself looking inward like a stubborn patient at a psychiatrist; ‘If I change this and that, I’ll be fine.” instead of actually looking at what the problems are, where those problems came from, how to solve them and how to make sure the changed implemented stick.

  3. andae23. You do know why Susie got the drive in Williams, don’t you. Hint… who is she married to? 2nd hint…who is part owner of Williams?

    It would be reasonably safe to say that without the answers to the above questions, Susie would not have had the whiff of a chance of ever sitting in a Williams.

    I am all for a female entering in F1, but any F1 driver should be there on merit, not because of a family connection. Susie underperformed spectacularly in DTM. Catherine Legge performed far better, but never got an offer of an F1 drive. Susie has little experience of open wheel driving. Until she can compete equally in a lower formula such as 3.5 or gp2, there is absolutely no reason for her to even think she would get an F1 seat on “ability”.

    1. @gilgen I agree partly with you there: of course Susie got the seat partly because of der Toto, but to be honest I’m sure it also has to do with her being a woman, right? I mean, I can’t imagine they would hire one of the owners’ husband who has spectacularly poor results in DTM – that would just be too suspicious.

      By the way, don’t take any of the things I say the wrong way: I’m not a Stirling Moss

  4. Her presence is pure tokenism. Of course there is a plenty of precedent for tokenism in F1 – Karthikeyan was put in an F1 car purely to appeal to the Indian market, just as Ma Qing Hua got a shot because he was Chinese and not because of his proven ability.

    The thing is, most fans objected to the presence of the two men mentioned above, just as most fans dislike pay drivers such as Chilton. But objecting to Wolff seems to bring the Thought Police out in force.

  5. Lol, her husband is a shareholder in the team she’s testing for and we’re supposed to believe this is on merit alone (as well as all the other baggage)?

    1. @pSynrg, did she pass the test, yes or no. Was her husband in the car with her or controlling the timers, yes or no ? Are those finishing behind her better or worse than her, yes or no ?

      1. Sure, can she drive (as an existing development driver a Williams) F1 car, yes or no? (Realtively) better than an F-Renault, F3 or DTM car, yes or no?

        But you gotta admit it is one heckuva coincidence she is married to a shareholder of the very team she is offered a test drive with.

        Nepotism is rife in all walks of business, politics and indeed life. I think it’s a perfectly normal (and an evolutionary) thing to offer an advantage to those nearest and dearest to you, to strengthen the ‘unit’ as a whole.

        But a lot of posts on here are absolutely right. Her record to date is no match for many of the drivers in GP2, never mind F1. The PR driven ‘woman card’ and the above nepotism is almost plain to see. I just wish they’d stop trying to BS their way through it.

  6. Wolff ‘not playing the woman card’ to get F1 seat

    I’m sorry, but as soon as headlines like that start appearing, it’s b/c she is playing the vag!na-card.

  7. I deliberately used the references to Stirling, Pat, Hans Stuck jr Michelle Mouton to see how aware the expert psychoanalysts on this thread are of F1 and racing in particular. Could either Pat or Michelle have gotten a F1 seat? Did you know that Stuck first earned the title rainmeister in F1. Would anyone be aware that Pat ,as in Pat Moss Stirling’s sister was once thought to be as good if not better than him. Explain why these women are not ex F1? Susie waited 30yrs for an F1 test which she passed comfortably FIRST TIME OUT.

    1. She’s a Williams development driver which pretty much gives a (yet another) head start.

  8. If physical differences between man and woman prevent more women from coming to Formula One, then I think there should be a separate Woman’s Championship…after all, we have it in all other sports. Why not in Formula 1?
    And those women who do well in that championship might get an F1 test or two, or could even be drafted into the main championship due to their performances.
    I’m only saying this subject to the physical differences between man and woman, as avl0 and @vettel1 and several others have said.

    1. Why not in Formula 1?

      @wsrgo – b/c it wouldn’t be commercially viable!

      Tell you what though: YOU go find the sponsorship to support a women-only F1 series, and you can do whatever you’d like with it.

  9. eddie. Imagine! from the moment she was born, Susie was waiting for an F1 seat?? Wow, she must have abnormal talents!
    I am a pensioner, and could say the same. I have been waiting 70 years for an F1 seat…..still waiting….!

    WSRGO. to call for a separate womens championship, is extremely sexist!

    1. @ gilgen You miss my point completely. At 30, an old woman as she has been described, she competed and finished midpack against guys considerably younger. If in her declining years she still has that much ability, what might have happened if she had been given the chance at 25 or 22, see where I’m going. Passing means she has some ability which she couldn’t have developed in one day.

      1. Eddie. oh come on….this was only a test of the cars etc. Susie hardly finished mid pack. She had carried out sim running and straight line running in the Williams, so had an advantage over others who had never even sat in an F1 car. Apart from that, look at the cars she beat? She was in a car that does have some pace, and could barely lap as fast as the slowest cars in the series.
        Yes, she was given a chance a number of years ago by Merc, where hubby put her in one of his DTM cars, yet still managed to trail around at the back. When 15 cars can lap within 1 sec gap, and she couldn’t, does that not tell you something. If she had any potential, she would have at least gone into wsr 3.5 or GP2. She didn’t.

        1. It was a test, she passed in position 9 out of 16. Since 8 is half of 16 I would say she’s firmly midpack. Take a look at the numbers I crunched and get back to me please.

          1. midpack. wow. in other words, completely mediocre and not manifesting sufficient talent to justify consideration for an F1 race seat.


          2. You cannot even begin to compare test data between cars not in the same team the performance gap renders it meaningless and you know this, stop trying to twist the data to fit your agenda.

            Of the runners testing in the same car as her she was the slowest by a full second. She can come out and say this proves shes fast enough but I can say chicken is best served raw, doing either doesnt make either true, it’s just words and spin, the times (and the food poisoning) tell the tale.

  10. @ Max Jacobson, celeste, Deej92, jonathan. and others, I decided to crunch some numbers for you. In qualifying for Silverstone Vettel was .604 seconds off the pace, Maldonado 2.752 and Bottas 3.057. The last qualifier was 4.501 behind at 1.34.108 Susies time would have put her on the starting grid. Note the difference in fuel load and tires. In P3, Maldonado 1.6 to Bottas 1.8. The last placed car was 5.956 off. Now to the tests. Maldonado was 1.322 while the other driver was 1.204 off compared to 3.199 for Susie . Last place Chilton was 5.453 off. To be 3.199 seconds behind Vettel, first time out is no disgrace.

    1. Susie’s time 1.35.093 would have put her on the starting grid.

  11. eddie. wrong. she finished 23 out of 33. the ones behind her were vdg, pic, bianchi, Chilton who were all doing full tank tyre testing. the remainder were ..kvyat (who?), sato (who), rossi (caterham), stevens (who), gonzalez (who), and ellinas. apart from sato and kvyat, all the others were in caterhams or marussias. apart from the tyre testers, the only one who had sat in an f1 car before was rossi.

    by all means let Susie race in gp2 and then maybe you would see her ability. apart from that, would she even have the physical strength to do a race distance? are you sure that you name is not toto?

    1. @ gilgen No its not toto, nor am I a dodo. Her time would’ve been within the qualy standards for the British GP meaning she is at least fast enough. Note that she wasn’t running qualy laps but could still be close to qualy time. Factor in weight reduction for fuel and qualy tyres and she would improve even more. Just look at the figures with unbiased eyes and she did much better than average. My F1 heroes are all men but I know quite a few women whom I’ve wondered whether they shouldn’t have been in F1 in their day.

    2. @gilgen , I compared her times to others who were on track at the same time under the same weather conditions. We want fairness don’t we ? As I’ve posed to others, how would you rate Hans Stuck Jr as a driver and as an F1 driver. Why hasn’t more people heard of Pat Moss and were you aware that at one time she was being compared very favorably with her brother Stirling?.

  12. @ Joe Papp, your treasured comment supports the view that F1 is a male glee club . A woman finishing midpack is characterized as useless or rubbish. The male finishing at the bottom of her group is ACTUALLY a current F1 driver.Defend this in any way except beating your chest and saying I am a man and I make and interpret the rules as I see fit. Please don’t be bashful . I’m awaiting your reply. Yes it will be a man you’ll be replying to.

  13. Joe, there are four as in 4 current F1 drivers behind her. How is this possible. Is it because they weren’t women. Help me understand the standard.

    1. Read my comment above. The four current F1 drivers who finished behind Susie were doing tyre testing only.

      1. That’s your latest excuse ? Try this instead. Her time 1.35.093 done just in testing trim and not qualifying, WOULD HAVE QUALIFIED her for the last British GP. Would you like to have that repeated. Explain away that fact if you can. She’s obviously fast enough in a car.

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