SCOTS racing driver Susie Wolff has revealed track legend Sir Stirling Moss called her to apologise after he claimed women do not have the mental strength to compete in Formula One.
The pair became involved in a war of words last month after 83-year-old Sir Stirling claimed women would struggle mentally with the demands of F1 racing.
He also claimed that trying to win a race under life-threatening conditions would prove too stressful for them.
Wolff, a test driver for the Williams team who hopes to compete alongside the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, hit back at the time, saying the racing legend’s remarks made her cringe.
Now the 30-year-old from Oban, Argyll, has revealed Sir Stirling telephoned to apologise and wish her well in her quest to be an F1 driver.
She said she received the call out of the blue in between stints driving an F1 simulator, and told her followers on Twitter: “Good couple of days in the simulator. Only small surprise was a call from Stirling Moss, have to respect him for that.”
She later added: “Sir Stirling apologised for his comments and wished me well. I said no hard feelings, he is entitled to his own opinion.”
During an interview on BBC Radio Five Live last month, Sir Stirling was dismissive of a woman’s chance of being able to race competitively in F1.
“I think they have the strength, but I don’t know if they’ve got the mental aptitude to race hard, wheel to wheel,” he said. “The trouble is, when you’re racing, it’s pretty tiring. We had three-hour races in those days. You needed tremendous concentration. Now races are only one hour and ten minutes.”
He added: “We’ve got some very strong and robust ladies but, when your life is at risk, I think the strain of that in a competitive situation will tell when you’re trying to win.
“The mental stress I think would be pretty difficult for a lady to deal with in a practical fashion. I just don’t think they have the aptitude to win a Formula 1 race.”
F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone has also said he could not see a woman racing for a top team in the near future.
Wolff said Sir Stirling was living in a different era and accused him of stereotyping female drivers because of their gender.
She said: “I completely disagree with him. It makes me cringe hearing that. I’ve got a lot of respect for Sir Stirling and what he achieved, but I think we’re in a different generation.
“For Moss, it’s unbelievable that a female would drive a Formula One car, which is fair enough. In the days they were racing, every time they stepped into a car, they were putting their life on the line.
“But F1 is much more technologically advanced, it’s much safer than it was.”