F1 racing gets its first female driver in 22 years

Posted by: Cal on 28/05/2014

Category: Racing

Formula One racing has long been a sporting event dominated by men. It has been 22 years since a woman took part in an official F1 event of any kind, but this has all changed thanks to British driver Susie Wolff, who is set to take part in official practice sessions at the Silverstone and the German Grands Prix in July.

If you love cars and motorsports of any kind, whether it's the sound of car tyres taking off or love heading off-road in a 4x4, you should pay attention to this inspiring woman's story. 

Here's a little more about Susie Wolff's history in racing and how she is set to challenge the male-dominated field of F1 motorsports.

About Susie Wolff

​Wolff is 32 years old and hails from Oban, Scotland, though she currently lives in Switzerland with her husband. Her career in racing often takes her on the road - in more ways than one. 

Born into a family that loves its motorsports, she got into cars and racing from an early age and was encouraged and supported by relatives. She was about 2 when she received her first small quad bike, and around the age of 8 when she got her first go-kart. 

Wolff started racing go-karts at club level around the globe, and at the tender age of 18 was ranked 15th in the world. With the goal of F1 always at the back of her mind, she moved into Deutsche Tourenwagen-Meisterschaft (DTM) racing, a hugely popular international touring car racing series. She performed well and achieved great results, and in 2003 and 2004 was recognised for her achievements by becoming the first female driver ever to be nominated for the McLaren Autosport Young Driver Award. 

In 2005, she was offered to test Mercedes Benz' German Touring Car and continued to experience success in all aspects of her career. In 2012, she came one step closer to her goal of F1 driving, being appointed as a development driver for the Martini Williams F1 team. She was based at the factory driving simulators and carrying out aerodynamical tests. In 2013, this role was extended as she appeared at the F1 Young Driver test and finished an impressive 9th just after some world champs. 

This year, as the first female driver in F1 for 22 years, she will continue her role as development driver for Martini Williams and will compete in two practice sessions for F1 events this July, behind the wheel of the FW36.

This marks an incredibly exciting time for women in racing, with Wolff acting as a long-needed role model for women looking to get into the sport. 

On the subject of women in racing, in an interview with Poorna Bell from the Huffington Post posted on March 6, Wolff said "I see it changing slowly for the better. Younger generations of women are coming in and taking it on, and they do so knowing that women can already do a lot and can achieve a lot. For them it's clear women can be powerful - it's mainly the older generation who haven't seen women at senior roles."

If you're a woman interested in cars, why not give racing, or another car-related hobby a go? Even if you don't want to whiz down a race track, there are plenty of options out there that don't have to be so adrenalin-focused, whether it's collecting, repairing and restoring or attending classic motor shows. 

Wolff summed it all up for us ladies with another comment in the Huffington Post interview, saying "because with my helmet on, it doesn't matter what my gender is." Now that's a motto to live by.