Formula 1: Susie Wolff keen to step closer to drive

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DEVELOPMENT driver Susie Wolff is pushing Williams to give her a proper test in July and keep alive her distant dream of one day racing alongside the men in Formula 1.

“For me, the next logical step is to do the young drivers test, and do it well, and then see what the next step is after that,” the 30-year-old Scot said at a sponsors’ event yesterday.

“I think there’s quite a big movement just now – people want to see a woman in Formula 1. The momentum is definitely there,” added the wife of Williams shareholder and Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff.

An official young driver test session has yet to be confirmed, but is expected to be scheduled for Silverstone in July, before the Hungarian Grand Prix and the European summer break.

Wolff, who also competed under her maiden name of Stoddart in junior series and the German Touring Car championship (DTM), lacks a super-licence to race in Formula 1 but a full test would help. It might also win over some of those who want to see a woman compete but are adamant that any selection must be purely on talent rather than any token presence – and doubt whether she has the speed.

“There are many people who think it’s going to be embarrassing for me to drive on a young driver day because I’m going to be so far off the pace,” she said. “For me, it’s incredible to hear such comments.

“I wouldn’t be doing aero tests if I hadn’t shown some kind of capability. People forget we’ve been racing at a high level for a long time. It’s not like you are just plucked from obscurity and told ‘drive the F1 car’.”

To get the mandatory licence, which costs a basic €10,000, a driver has to have done 300km of running in a Formula 1 car as well as meeting certain performance criteria.

“In theory, I’ve got enough kilometres in the car to apply for the super-licence, but there’s absolutely no point in doing that until I’m in a position where I can do something with it,” said Wolff. “They [Williams] haven’t said anything but, for me, it has to happen,” she added of the test. “If it doesn’t happen, then I’m wasting my time. It’s all for nothing. It has got to happen.

“I am the development driver, so it cannot be that a young driver test comes and you don’t put your development driver in. But you never know, so let’s see.”

Williams do not currently have a designated reserve driver to step in should Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado or Finland’s Valtteri Bottas be unavailable.

Formula 1 has not had a female driver for decades, with Italian Giovanna Amati the last to try and get on the grid when she failed to qualify in 1992. The only woman to appear on the scoresheet was Italian Leila Lombardi who finished sixth in the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix.