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

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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.”

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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.

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

  1. Traverse (@) said on 21st July 2013, 11:18

    Maybe this Newsround item can shed more light on this “contentious” subject. ;)

  2. maxthecat said on 21st July 2013, 11:39

    I understand Susie’s view, but I would use whatever I had to in order to get an F1 seat. What’s the difference between her using her gender and a male driver using money to get a drive? Who cares as long as you get the seat.

    • PMccarthy_is_a_legend (@pmccarthy_is_a_legend) said on 21st July 2013, 11:55

      That’s fair enough, just don’t pretend gender has not got anything to go with it. Be upfront about it

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 21st July 2013, 11:55

      I see the point but I feel personally that it should only be used to separate you from an almost equivalent driver. For instance, say she was as good as Sam Bird and they were in direct competition for a Williams drive (completely fabricated situation that is unlikely to unfold); if they both set very similar times during a test session, then I would support Susie using her extra marketability to gain leverage.

      However, if she turned out to be considerably worse yet still managed to get the seat (or we throw a driver like Kevin Magnussen into the mix (whom on talent I rate considerably higher than both of them) and she still prevailed I most definitely would not support the decision (see my comment above).

  3. I Love the Pope said on 21st July 2013, 12:47

    Can anyone (Keith included if you post this) tell me why its bad to have only male racing drivers and that such a thing “must” be stopped sooner or later?

    I thought F1 was supposed to be about the best of the best. It seems that money and political correctness are what actually matter.

    Am I wrong?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st July 2013, 15:41

      I’m not wasting my time on an obviously absurd and self-serving ‘straw man’ (or woman) argument.

      As far as I’m concerned the lack of gender diversity in motor racing is one of several compelling signs that it does not currently have, nor has ever had, exclusively the ‘best of the best’ competitors.

    • Traverse (@) said on 21st July 2013, 16:36

      @ I Love the Pope

      Am I wrong?


      I thought F1 was supposed to be about the best of the best. It seems that money and political correctness are what actually matter.

      I don’t see how a man is superior to a women with regards to driving a car at a vast speeds around a track. Motorsports is one of the few sports genres where men and women can actually compete on an equal footing; describing it as “political correctness” has no standing in any kind of reality!

      There’s no such thing as a “man’s occupation” or likewise women’s, there’s just the prescribed norms that society has created and subsequently set in stone (and by society I mean wealthy/powerful men). If motorsport is strictly a man’s game for manly men (men that eat Yorkie bars, McCoys and down special brew from a dirty pint glass), does that mean that a women’s place is in the kitchen? Or looking after the kids? If so, any man that’s a chef or chooses to stay at home to nurture and love his children must be an inferior beast in your eyes.

      Or in your words – Am I wrong?

      • avl0 said on 23rd July 2013, 10:33

        I think his point was, where is the proof the women can be equally as competitive in f1 as men? And before said proof is shown (i.e. a female driver doing a test like this and not being significantly slower than other testees in the same car like wolff was). You can argue that motorsport is unlike other sports so women can perform equally because it removes the physical aspect and i would tend to at least partially agree but until you get a female driver equalling or outperforming a male driver in the same equipment any particular motorsport really has no obligation to actively seek more female drivers providing it is not prohibiting them from trying.

        F1 is supposed to be a meritocracy not a place where your sponsorship (pay driving is another bug bear of mine) or your sex get you a race seat for political or monetary reasons.

  4. JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 21st July 2013, 14:23

    CNN doesn’t appear to know the difference between sexuality and sex(gender).

  5. Rui (@ruicaridade) said on 21st July 2013, 15:20

    “Wolff drives women forwards with full Formula One test (CNN)” – Answer to Susie Wolff own words.I think she did well on her test however performance wise Danica Patrick would be a much safer bet imho concerning a woman driver. Well Marko said this about Danica – http://www.worldcarfans.com/113022054064/danica-patrick-not-good-enough-for-f1—marko – and Danica’s resume seems a bit more complete than Susies’.
    All this said i believe commercially it would be the most sensible option for Williams.

  6. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 21st July 2013, 15:42

    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.

  7. andae23 (@andae23) said on 21st July 2013, 18:15

    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?

    • Nick (@npf1) said on 21st July 2013, 20:06

      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.

  8. gilgen (@gilgen) said on 21st July 2013, 18:46

    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”.

    • andae23 (@andae23) said on 21st July 2013, 19:10

      @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

  9. Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 21st July 2013, 19:47

    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.

  10. pSynrg (@psynrg) said on 21st July 2013, 20:37

    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)?

    • eddie3 (@eddie3) said on 22nd July 2013, 1:11

      @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 ?

      • pSynrg (@psynrg) said on 22nd July 2013, 8:38

        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.

  11. Joe Papp (@joepa) said on 21st July 2013, 23:03

    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.

  12. eddie3 (@eddie3) said on 22nd July 2013, 1:35

    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.

  13. wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 22nd July 2013, 3:58

    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.

    • Joe Papp (@joepa) said on 23rd July 2013, 7:04

      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.

  14. gilgen (@gilgen) said on 22nd July 2013, 10:41

    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!

    • eddie3 (@eddie3) said on 22nd July 2013, 17:36

      @ 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.

      • gilgen (@gilgen) said on 22nd July 2013, 18:18

        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.

        • eddie3 (@eddie3) said on 22nd July 2013, 19:13

          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.

          • Joe Papp (@joepa) said on 23rd July 2013, 7:06

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


          • avl0 said on 23rd July 2013, 21:11

            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.

  15. eddie3 (@eddie3) said on 22nd July 2013, 18:56

    @ 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.

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