Susie Wolff makes F1 debut at Williams event

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Susie Wolff, Williams FW33, SIlverstone, 2012

Susie Wolff had her first run in a Williams F1 car during an event for the team’s sponsors at Silverstone today.

Wolff, who became a development driver for Williams in April, did to 50km runs in the team’s 2011 car, the FW33.

“It was incredible to experience a Formula One car for the first time,” said Wolff. “I?ve done a lot of simulator work since I joined the team but nothing compares to the exhilaration of driving the real thing.

“The conditions were a little tricky as it was quite damp at the beginning of the run but the track soon dried out. The team also did a fantastic job preparing me for today, giving me all the information I needed so that I was always in control.”

During the event Williams race and test drivers Pastor Maldonado, Bruno Senna and Valtteri Bottas drove two of the team’s earlier F1 cars.

They included a 1982 FW08, of the type used by Keke Rosberg to win the drivers’ championship that year, and an FW18, which Damon Hill won the 1996 drivers’ championship with, and which also claimed the constructors’ championship for the team.

Susie Wolff’s F1 debut and Williams event images

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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54 comments on “Susie Wolff makes F1 debut at Williams event”

  1. I’m suprised Pastor and Bruno were allowed out there, knowing their crash records, especially when it comes for new parts to Bruno, in this case a different car.

    1. Grosjean is the racing driver with a good crash record this year, then Maldonado and Kobayashi. In races Bruno rarely makes mistakes, so that comment is a little bit nonsense.

      1. Well he does in practice, look at that record.

        1. I’ d like to see a statistic of that compared to every other drivers. Anyway not all crashes are driver related. Sometimes it is some mechanical failure, sometimes it is just acquaplanning.

          1. Aquaplaning would be a driver error.

          2. No, most of aquaplanning the driver does anything wrong or different to what he did in previous laps. It happened to Alain Prost in Estoril in 1985, when Ayrton Senna won for the first time, under the rain. It happened to Bruno Senna in Silverstone in FP2 at the entry of Hangar straight, resulting in a crash very similar to the one that killed his uncle in Imola.

        2. And practice is where Vettel makes his mistakes. Practice is all about testing the car and finding the limits of that car and of the circuit. Teams would prefer to have a driver who messes up in practice searching for the limit meaning they waste time repairing a car rather than a driver who makes a stupid judgement on race day and wastes a race or throws away points.

      2. FC – Kobayashi has only caused one crash on track this year as memory serves me. You are conveniently glossing over Schumacher who has caused a bunch and is probably second to Grosjean for causing chaos and even another world champion in Raikkonen caused one in Japan. But a lot of it can come down to luck. Hamilton kept getting into crashes frequently last season, many involving Massa. But this season he hasn’t caused any as far as I can remember, but has been the victim of a few.

        1. No, that crash wasl Alonso fault, not Raikkonen.

      3. In races Bruno rarely makes mistakes, so that comment is a little bit nonsense.

        You’re right – he doesn’t crash during the races.

        What he does do is waste a seat, because he’s not very good. If he wasn’t a Senna (and technically, he isn’t; he’s a Lalli), nobody would give him the time of day.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys What kind of logic is this? By the same token, Ayrton wasn’t a “Senna”, he was a “da Silva”. Bruno has two surnames, and he uses the one he sees fit. I don’t think there is any rule forcing drivers to use their father’s surname instead of their mother’s.

          1. Haha nice one that ought to have taught him. Always talking as if he owns the truth!!

          2. Exactly. And by that logic, Bruno’s mother and sisters aren’t Sennas either, which is just as ridiculous a thing to say. Going by the mother’s name is quite common in Brazil, and is the same thing that Ayrton did.

          3. @guilherme – Portuguese naming traditions see children use the father’s surname and then the mother’s. Bruno’s mother is Ayrton’s sister, which means he would normally adopt his father’s surname, Lalli.

            I can’t help but question whether Bruno would have made it anywhere near Formula 1 if he was known as Bruno Lalli. He has the right to use the Senna name, of course – but if he wasn’t related to Ayrton, I don’t think he would have gotten into Formula 1.

        2. What an extraordinary comment. I must remember to tell my cousins that they aren’t related to my grandmother some time.

          1. I didn’t say he’s not related. Just that he was born with a different name.

          2. He was born with that name – Bruno Senna Lalli. People don’t always name children according to the normal or current rules. Anyway he has two sisters who also have Senna in their names.

          3. The aussie PM is still on his Bruno Senna crusade, I love that you are sticking to your own cause. Though it is asinine.

        3. He is good enough in races and he can still improve his qualifying. In races he can be as quick as anyone, as he proved several times this year – Malaysia, China, Monaco, Valencia, Silverstone, Hockenheim, Hungaroring, Spa, Singapura and Suzuka. He is often quicker than his team mate in races and sometimes he is consistently as quick as the front running cars.

          His main problem is the time he lost the last few years, he deserved to be in F1 in 2009 more than Damon Hill deserved to be in 1993, as he had better results in junior categories. Had he started with Brawn in 2009 he would probably have won races in his rookie year and he would surely be a much better and developed driver by now. Even so he can still become as good as a Button or a Rosberg if he has the opportunity to develop himself in F1. If not he is out but he remains a very good driver. As there are also very good drivers outside F1 just because they didn’t have any chance due to lack of money.

          1. “If” doesn’t get you very far in Formula 1.

            Senna will be judged on the results he has achieved, not what might have been.

          2. Stefan Bellof was one of the quickest that ever raced in a F1 car but he has only a 4th place as his best result. That is an example of many we could find to prove that drivers can’t be judged only on the results they achieved in a category, F1 in this case.

  2. Good on her for getting the chance, and taking it. Women dont get many opportunities in F1 – especially drivers, so it’s good to see representation. I also liked the tribute to Maria di Villota on her helmet.

    But that aside, you have to ask, does it not seem like she was just a token female driver today, perhaps instigated by her husbands role in the team?

    I’m sure that women will one day feature on the grid in F1, but I’d rather it was because of the what they know rather than who they know. I think that of the male drivers too, as well as the cash cows that occupy seats on the grid like: Karthykeyan, Petrov, Kobayashi to name a few (two of which have nothing left to bring to their teams). Does there need to be a female accademy to get women in to the top teir of open cockpit racing? There are many tallented women (and girls in lower formulae) who do not get the chance to prove themselves because they cannot bring enough money to the team

    1. Kobayashi is paid by Sauber – he earned his seat by merit and is now facing losing it, as he doesn’t have big sponsers

      1. Actually, Kobayashi got his seat because Peter Sauber knew that he was a popular driver and was hoping that sponsors would want to be involved in the team because of Koabayshi’s popularity. Since he had only taken part in two races before joining Sauber, there was no merit involved.

        He is not facing the loss of his seat because he does not have sponsors. He is facing the loss of his seat because he has not been performing. Sponsors might save his seat or – if popular rumour is to be believed – help him find a seat somewhere else, but he is not losing the seat because he has no sponsors.

        1. He hasn’t performed less well than Perez in my view. They share the same number of constructor points in the 2 years they’ve worked together.

        2. @prisoner monkeys

          Ahh, thanks for the insight.

    2. Does there need to be a female accademy to get women in to the top teir of open cockpit racing?

      I say no, there are many male drivers who can’t get near F1 because of money, or lack thereof. If there was to be something out there for drivers with little funding for their careers, then it should be for both genders.

      By the way, I don’t agree Kobayashi is a cash cow. Toyota helped fund his career prior to F1, but I’m not aware of him ever bringing money to Sauber.

  3. DAT 1996 Williams. I’m in love…

    1. Yeah, that’s the classic F1 car from my childhood :D

  4. She might be an outsider for Ferrari 2014. She at least fits one part of the job description…

    1. I can just imagine Rob Smedley on the radio “Alright hen we need to keep the tyre temperatures up”

  5. Any more shots of FW08 on the track? Looks lovely.

    1. They posted a few on the Williams’ team Twitter, though they won’t be of this quality.

  6. I really like both Bottas’s and Wolff’s helmets.

    The conditions were a little tricky

    It’s the FW33…what did you expect :P

  7. I must say it’s a refreshing sight to see a lady posed in front of an F1 car in “real” overalls! I hope this becomes a regular occurrence in the near future. Like her helmet as well.

  8. These guys, and in this case girl, are so lucky to drive for Williams! Both the FW08 and the FW18 are amazing cars.

    Btw, in the final picture that looks like Bruno Senna and not Valtteri Bottas in the car.

    1. Yep, it’s definitely Bruno in the last photo.

  9. So it was just cruising without any lap times? Wonder what she did…

    1. So it was just cruising without any lap times?

      That would only make sense if she didn’t complete the lap. Thus being, every time she was about to cross the finish line she braked, drove back in reverse the entire lap until being in front of the finish line without crossing it, then drive to the finish line again but not cross it.

      1. @Kingshark, Oops, ‘where is the lap time?’ was my question, ’cause I’m sort of curious of the difference btwn man and woman. BTW, thanks for elaborated explanation :p

        1. @leotef – Now re-reading my comment I didn’t realize how much I rambled and how little sense I actually made. :P

  10. I suppose it wouldn’t “really make sense” if you look at women like some other species to men, but I’m not going to take that bait, because I’ve been annoyed enough by men on the Internet today already.

  11. Wow, I’m glad I’m not part of your family. It would be awful to have a family spokesman for a start. And then the lack of reason, the narrow-mindedness…

  12. Hope she gets a full time drive in F1 soon, because she clearly has the talent.

    1. …and the connections.

      1. I Love the Pope
        19th October 2012, 0:14

        I think that is all she has.

    2. With a total of four points scored in almost seven seasons of DTM, I’m not so convinced it’s about talent.

      1. Best career move, marrying a rich Williams investor…

  13. Was it a joint decision, or did you decide for them?

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