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

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In 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] – 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:

“For health and safety reasons, these tyres are pre-delaminated.”

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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. I sincerely hope she stands by her word: in my opinion it will only do women in Motorsport a disservice if she achieves her goal (or any other female for that matter) not based on talent but marketability. I personally apply the same standards to aspiring women as men: they have to be capable of one day winning a world title if the right circumstances befall them.

    I don’t want to see any driver entering the sport that isn’t there to one day become world champion, irrespective of gender. That’s of course not to say they have to be a Michael Shumacher or Ayrton Senna however!

    1. Yep great comment and that’s exactly how I feel on the matter. We already have enough pay drivers as it is, I’d hate to see the first woman in a long time to enter the sport purely because she would be attractive to sponsors. If she’s talented then there’s no question that she would deserve her place.

    2. I agree. But I thought Susie did reasonably well and I’m no fan of her or Williams. The problem for her and so many other aspiring drivers with talent is simple: supply far higher than demand. An ideal world would have more formula 1 teams like in the 80’s or 70’s. But all capable of fighting at least for the mid-field positions. We don’t want more HRT’s now do we?

    3. @vettel1, I think applying the same standards to men and women implies that Susie should be allowed to chase her dream, even if the general opinion is that she is not world championship-winning material.

      There are plenty of poor but budgeted racing drivers hanging around the lower formulae (Rodolfo Gonzalez, Jake Rosenzweig, and plenty of others), and you don’t see them hanging up their helmets just because people think they are not race winners. They continue racing and occasionally they get a sniff at F1.

      I don’t think it’s up to Susie to work for women in F1, or anything like that, but instead she should be allowed to maximise her potential, as @heliotraverse points out below.

      1. Well said @Adrianmorse, she should be welcome to show she is every bit as average or superbly talented as other connected drivers that get the chance to try for F1.

        It is not as if she won’t have enough doubters already, her DTM indeed wasn’t great, but who knows, maybe single seaters suit her more. Anyway, Maldonado is fast, but he has trouble finishing races. Maybe she’d be more like Bruno Senna, or better?

        1. Fernando Cruz
          21st July 2013, 16:50

          “Maybe she’d be more like Bruno Senna, or better?”

          You must be joking! How could Susie Wolff be as good or better than a driver that is beating Kobayashi and managed to beat Maldonado in race pace last year?

          I have nothing against Wolff (although I doubt she would be there if it wasn’t for her husband) but I don’t see how she can be in F1 on merit in the future with so many bright stars in GP2 (Felipe Nasr, Robin Frinjs, James Calado, Stefano Coletti…) and WSR (Kevin Magnussen, Stoffel Vandoorne, Antonio Felix da Costa…)…

      2. @adrianmorse I’m not disagreeing with that at all, all I am saying is that it would be hugely disappointing if she managed to get an F1 seat at the expense of someone like Da Costa or Magnussen – particularly considering her age and frankly dismal DTM performances.

        1. Did she pass her test. Was she driving a DTM car. Given her performance now wouldn’t you say her DTM record might be more reflective of the tool than the Craftsperson .

          1. no because she was consistently a second off the pace of maldonado and half a second off the pace of williams other young driver test driver that isn’t ‘on the pace’ that’s just ‘not embarrassingly awful. Not a formula 1 calibre driver i’m afraid, nothing to do with whether she is male or female just flat out not good enough.

    4. I would not hold it against her if she got a drive in F1 in part due to her gender any more than I hold it against drivers who got there due to big money behind them. Paying your way to F1 has been a legitimate way for as long as we remember (after all, Lauda started as a pay driver) and money is not the only currency.
      What bugs me more is the fact that she is obviously being treated differently, and yet we keep hearing how great it is for women. No, it is a step back into business as usual. Getting to places based on sex has been around for ages, nothing new about it, nothing to cheer about.
      Anyway, I have a feeling that the media are making much more buzz about this than Mrs. Wolff does, so I do not really hold it against her. I also had a big dream since I was a kid (flying an airplane), and when I had a chance to do it, I went for it, although it was a bit illegal. Good luck to her.

    5. In a F1 world of pay drivers, it will be welcoming to see Susie get a race seat. You just have to look at the back of the grid and find the class there. It will be great for marketing F1 to a bigger audience.

  2. As much as I’d like to take her at her word, when the carrot is dangled, I’m sure she’d be up for it. But most managers wouldn’t out and out ask her to drive and stipulate its because she’s a woman, so chances are, she’d never have to lie. But truth be told, F1 has always had paying drivers, Pedro Diniz, Taki Inoue and some other unremarkable drivers.

    However unremarkable they might be, they obviously had enough talent to get there, I’m not suggesting that they are world champions, but they are still good behind the wheel of an automobile and not everyone can be a WDC. So bottom line, if she was chosen to drive in F1 and it was down to the fact she was a woman, then that isn’t something to be ashamed of.

    I believe that any involvement by women, whether drivers like Wolff or by team management Monisha Kaltenborn, it is all great in breaking down the stigma attached that motor racing is a mens game.

  3. Who does Wolff think she is kidding? Her DTM results aren’t representative of her talent?? She wasn’t good enough for DTM, but now she is good enough for F1?? Di Resta who was a DTM champ isn’t exactly setting the world on fire with his performances at Force India. I find it highly unlikely that she is testing on merit.

    1. Finally! Thank you!

      For me, there’s no such thing as a ‘female racing driver’. There’s no such thing as a ‘male racing driver’ either, there’s just racing drivers. Full stop.

      Who cares what her test times showed this week, it’s a TEST. She just isn’t talented enough to race in F1. If she was male, looking at her track record, nobody would care but because she’s a woman she’s getting loads of publicity.

      I’m all for women in F1 and I’d love to see a lot more of them in the sport but they need to be a high enough standard and sorry but Susie isn’t.

      A lot of people wont like this comment at all and will dissagree but I stand by my view. Women and men should be EQUAL in F1 – So, assuming she was male, she wouldn’t stand a chance but because she’s a female she’s getting lots of attention.

      Look at IndyCar. Simona De Silvestro isn’t domiating races by any means but she’s proved she can race in the field strongly. Does she get a lot of over-hyped media attention? No, she gets treated the same as almost every other driver in the field, asmost as if her gender was irrelevent. That is how it should be!

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        21st July 2013, 3:05


      2. Traverse (@)
        21st July 2013, 3:40


        For me, there’s no such thing as a ‘female racing driver’. There’s no such thing as a ‘male racing driver’ either, there’s just racing drivers. Full stop.

        How much did they cost and where did you buy them from?

      3. +1, and as a woman I will feel offended if Susie gets a drive….

        1. are you really a woman? I am male, and I wont be offended. I think her husband will help her get in, and good for her, she can break the ice for others to enter if she succeeds or not.

    2. Yep she was pretty rubbish in DTM. I don’t know what she is talking about not being at the back.

    3. @rybo, do you know Hans Stuck jr and how you rate him 1, as a driver and 2 as a Formula1 driver ?

    4. @rybo. Do you know Hans Stuck jr? How would you rate him as 1, a formula one driver, and 2, as a driver ? I just love expert opinions.

  4. There were MUCH better captions than that…. ones that made me laugh.

    1. Me too, the one about 2014 was far and away the best for me.

    2. Yes. There were no bang on captions but still , no disrespect , This caption was not too humorous .

  5. Who is Susie kidding, you cannot get an F1 seat based on a test result.

    1. @funkyf1 – Yes, you can. Jenson Button earned his seat with Williams in a test-off Bruno Junqueira.

      Of course, that was a formal arrangement within the team. Here, there’s been no indication that Wolff and Juncadella are competing for a seat – or even that a seat is available.

      1. I think you are forgetting Jenson’s numerous successes before his F1 test.

        1. and presumably the fact that at said test he showed he was as fast if not faster than their current driver, not considerably slower as is the case here.

  6. Traverse (@)
    21st July 2013, 3:37

    Why shouldn’t Susie exploit her unique position within F1? It’s a fair assumption that based solely upon her racing résumé she almost certainly wouldn’t make the cut if she were a man, but that’s not the point. People get on and prosper in life by utilising factors and attributes that those around them haven’t the fortune of possessing; would Eminem have been as successful if he were black? Irrespective of his talent, the fact that Eminem is white helped him stand out from the crowd and further his musical ambitions, likewise Margaret Thatcher.

    My comparing the music industry with sport isn’t a direct (or indeed fair if I’m honest…which I’m not) comparison, my point is we all owe it to ourselves to maximise our lives in this infinitesimal, yet seemingly pointless universe. If you can jump ahead of the queue by exploiting others sensitivities or desires (Bernie desires a female driver on the grid), you’d be a fool not to.

    1. Traverse (@)
      21st July 2013, 3:47

      *yet seemingly

    2. While I agree with the principle of your point – that each individual should maximise their opportunities regardless of how they come about, I think that those who are arguing against Wolff being given a race seat are taking a different perspective.
      The way I see it, your argument is based in subjectivity, taking the perspective of Wolff or a hypothetical racing driver with some other marketable quality like Guttierez’s nationality or Chilton with his connections and backing. None of these drivers can be blamed for taking the help and opportunities presented to them for whatever reason, to get into F1.

      However others (such as myself) take a non-subjective, more detached viewpoint that does not regard these factors into account in making the argument of whether a driver should be in F1, or whether it’s good for the sport as a whole to have these drivers there. Wolff shouldn’t be in F1 as her DTM results and everything else in her career suggest that she’s not ‘deserving’ of a seat in the pinnacle of motor-racing. I also believe that many see her as another driver (regardless of gender) who’s gotten where she is due to who she is, and/or her gender. Obviously not an ideal scenario who wish to see the best drivers on the grid, or even drivers who are very talented. Wolff is entitled to chase her dreams, as is the right of any human. However it’s alarming for certain fans of the sport to see an individual so bereft of ability to come so far, a problem that is not unique to her and shared by many other pay-drivers.
      The argument against Wolff isn’t one that’s compatible with your argument for her – they come from two different perspectives that cannot easily be weighed against each other. Mine is an argument against pay drivers and nepotism winning out over talent, skill and ability. Yours is about self determination.
      There will always be pay drivers in some form (even Alonso has Santander backing), but Wolff, Chilton , Guttierez and (possibly) Sirotkin are so far below the standard that should be shown by an F1 driver it can only hurt the sport to have them in it. Wolff is just another symptom of a greater malaise.

      1. @colossal-squid I understand your point but I think it’s a little unfair right now to prejudge what she may or may not be capable of in F1 based on her career so far. And I think this is true of virtually everyone who has ever raced. There are almost countless examples of people who have failed to sine in one category, but excelled in others. Sebastian Bourdais was electric in ChampCar, absolutely unbeatable, and yet in F1 he was woeful. His SportsCar career since leaving F1 has been very respectable in one of the hardest forms of motorsport going. Likewise, very talented F1 drivers have really struggled in other categories, especially tin top racing – see Mansell in touring cars, or more recently Raikkonen’s abysmal attempt at becoming a rally driver. I’d also disagree that there’s anything about her career so far that would indicate that she’s a bad driver. Her results in DTM have been unspectacular, granted, but very solid on the whole. She’s hardly bimbling around at the back of the field; she’s producing respectable enough results. What I would say is that you simply have no idea how well someone is going to do in F1 until you give them a chance. For most, there simply is no opportunity to show what they might be able to do. An unspectacular career in a lower formulae is almost guaranteed to rule you out of having an opportunity. For some, however, there are other reasons why they might get a chance – a big chequebook, and attractive nationality, a famous name, or in Wolff’s case, her gender (and her association with Toto). It’s a foot in the door that most people simply never get, and whether or not that is fair is open to debate, but the point I’m making is that you simply can’t tell how good she’ll be in F1 until you see her drive an F1 car. So far she’s demonstrated at least that she can deal with the pace of the car, which is a massive step up from the DTM racers she’s used to, and that in itself is a very promising sign. She’s used the foot in the door to good effect, but now it’s up to her to demonstrate that she’s good enough. But to simply assume that she’ll never make the grade because of her performance in a totally different discipline is very short sighted.

        1. @mazdachris

          I (and everyone else) can only speculate on her ability to perform in F1 with the information at hand. There is always a possibility that Wolff may be spectacular in an F1 car, but there is nothing to suggest from her career – a best result of 7th in 6 years of DTM isn’t really even average, let alone solid – that she would excel or is a talent for the future.
          I’m sorry but your argument doesn’t really hold up – I can’t dismiss her lacklustre career so far because of the small chance she might suddenly come good in F1? Using that logic you should bring an umbrella to the desert – nobody thinks it’s going to rain, but it’s possible. I don’t think I’m being short sighted at all, I’m being logical.

          All anyone can say is on the balance of probability Wolff would not be competitive in F1, while a younger talent like Felipe Nasr or Sam Bird could be. In a perfect world then we’d have younger talent taking part in these tests (and F1) instead of the likes of Wolff, Chilton et al. who are there more on superfluous factors than they are on skill or merit.

          1. This is exactly it. Why should someone with a below average DTM record, at 30 years old, even be considered for F1 (I doubt she’ll ever even get an FP1 session) while there are younger, more talented drivers coming through, like Nasr, Magnussen, Vandoorne, da Costa? Where’s the logic? She might bring more publicity, but may not bring that much money with it, and would increase the chances of an unsuccessful season.

  7. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    21st July 2013, 3:55

    There should be a caption competition every week. There’s high quality photos that could be used popping up all the time.

    Why not? I for one, really enjoy them :)

    1. Traverse (@)
      21st July 2013, 4:13

      A weekly caption comp would eventually lose its wonderment and would exhaust (pun intended) itself. Oversaturation breeds disinterest.

      1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        21st July 2013, 4:54

        I suppose you’re right. I just enjoy them haha.

      2. @hellotraverse weekly once wouldn’t hurt especially in long breaks

      3. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        21st July 2013, 20:50

        and would exhaust (pun intended) itself. Oversaturation breeds disinterest.

        @hellotraverse Oh! I see why you have a less-joking and more serious attitude. No offense, but 99% of your comments were pun-intended a couple of months ago

        1. Traverse (@)
          21st July 2013, 21:20

          Oh! I see why you have a less-joking and more serious attitude.

          I don’t fully comprehend your point @omarr-pepper. Why do you believe that I have a less jovial attitude?

  8. I can see she is getting a lot of flak, but I dunno.

    I kinda think, hell, if she can get the seat, damn well go for it. For her, it would be an incredible achievement.
    I think some people will say “but she only got it because she was a woman”, and they may be right, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Pastor chances of a seat was helped by the money behind him. I’m sure Nico Rosberg’s path was effected by his name, whether he likes it or not. I’m sure drivers who come from Europe found it easier to get into “the right” lower formulas.

    And then there is the suggestion that being a female makes it easier. If that was actually the case, wouldn’t more than half the drivers be female?

    I think, for the sport, this is a barrier that we need to break, and the sooner the better as far as I’m concerned.

    1. While I’m all for breaking barriers in the name of a better future (I’ve gotten a lot of flak for agreeing with quotas for women in society), we do have to look at qualified people. Much like you can’t push for a female politician who isn’t able to hold her own in politics, you shouldn’t settle for a driver who can’t hold her own in racing. I haven’t seen anyone say it’s easier because she’s female. Not to mention, I think it would be harder for her to get sponsorship with F1’s overly male demographic and Middle-Eastern races. There could be a cultural clash.

      Anyone who can get an F1 seat should go for it, it’s why we’ve had Deletraz, Inoue, but also Verstappen, Zanardi and Alesi. But I’d much rather wait for a driver like Beitske Visser, who is in Red Bull’s talent program (and also infinitely unlucky in Formel ADAC) and has defeated a lot of boys in karting. Susie Wolff might influence other girls to race, but would we rather have young girls inspired to be like a female F1 driver, or to do better than her, while others find themselves thinking ‘she has shown that it isn’t possible’?

      As for Rosberg’s name being of aid, I think you need to have a chat with Nicholas Prost and Mattias Lauda. I think they will tell you their name helps, but can also destroy your career. Their careers probably were helped by their names and sponsorship appeal, but neither ever looked on the path to F1 as a race driver.

      1. @npf1 Visser’s finally wona race, hasn’t she, if I’m not wrong? I think she’s edged ahead of fellow Red Bull junior Callan O’Keeffe in the standings too.

        1. She won the most recent race this year, but had a impressive number of wins last season, but had a harsh crash at Zandvoort, injuring her back. That didn’t stop her from winning the race the next day, but she did miss the next event and her fitness was a little down for the rest of the season.

          This year, she has been a favorite for a couple of drivers to run in to, as I think most of her bad postions and DNFs are due to incidents with other drivers.

          (And my word, the Formel ADAC website is terrible..)

          1. As far as I know, the minimum expectation for a Red Bull young driver is at least one win per season, so she’s cemented her place in the Red Bull stable. Plus she’s still a teenager so will only get better. Give it a couple of years, and Miss Visser will be talk of the town during the next STR shakeup.

            I certainly hope she does well. I reckon she could be the first woman to score a full point in F1. Screengrab this now…

    2. This would be a different argument if she was good enough to be driving a formula 1 car, she isn’t, not even as a pay/sponsor driver.

      1. her permormance at the test would suggest otherwise – you like others have prejudged her for being a woman.

        1. No. She was one full second off the pace of maldonado AND the other young driver she was testing against in the same car under the same conditions. Of all the other drivers of the weekend only chilton was similarly slower than his teammates and HE isn’t fast enough to be in F1 either.

          1. Traverse (@)
            23rd July 2013, 12:00

            So if Chilton isn’t good/fast enough for F1, but has bagged a drive in F1, why can’t an equally similarly skilled driver also get a drive in F1? I wonder, would Max Chilton be in F1 right now if he were a women?

          2. Traverse (@)
            23rd July 2013, 12:02

            *why can’t a similarly skilled

          3. I didn’t say either couldn’t I just said I don’ think they’re good enough to be there. Obviously the precedent is that with enough influence/ money clearly you can get a drive in f1 even if you’re not good enough so it may well happen for Wolff too.

            Um yes? I’m pretty sure it’s a benefit to be female to get into f1 right now, sponsors are practically salivating for it to happen, so much so that we’re here seriously contemplating if someone with a record as uninspiring as susie wolff’s deserves an f1 drive. Chilton came 4th in gp2 right? If a female driver was to finish 4th in gp2 this season I’m pretty sure you would see them in f1 next season assuming a similar level of backing/ sponsorship to chilton.

        2. Traverse (@)
          23rd July 2013, 12:01


  9. I don’t get it….how else does a 31-year-old with average talent expect to make an F1 debut? I can name several drivers not in F1 but in other motorsports at the moment who are younger and fa more talented, and more deserving of a drive than Wolff.
    Who does she think she’s kidding?

    1. Indeed. Forget her gender for a moment and look at her age and her past results.
      She’s two years younger than Kimi who is the oldest driver in the field, who by the many see will retire soon.
      So how many seasons could she last? Three?
      She was also in DTM for some seven seasons and remained pointless?
      Maybe a better idea for Williams would be to put her in GP2 to see how she fairs against the somewhat mediocre talent this year and if she cants get any podiums or wins then we’ll have saved time and money.

      1. Abdurahman (@)
        21st July 2013, 13:28

        Wait, is that right??? DTM for seven years and not a single point???

        1. Remember Michael Andretti, based on his F1 results would you call him a rubbish driver ?

        2. @yoshif8tures @abdurahman
          Susie Wolff wasn’t pointless in 7 seasons of DTM… she was pointless in 6 of her 7 seasons in DTM.

          At least Michael Andretti was successful in something. And he scored an F1 podium.

  10. As soon as wolff starts thinking she´s gonna lose the chance, she will play the “I´m a female” card… this is so predictable.

  11. Stop looking at Susie Wolff as a defacto championship contender and look at her as someone who can drive a car fast AND break down barriers.

    If she can make it and perform well, it will legitimately open the door for other women in the lower formulas.

    1. @optimaximal – The problem is that there is no evidence that Wolff can succeed in Formula 1, and if she doesn’t succeed, most people will believe she was only promoted because of her husband’s influence in the team and Mercedes.

      1. Well she only had made it this far because of her hsband influence. And tere is no prove that she can go fast in a car. Worst if she made it to F1, she continue to be as bad as she has been on other categories, people will blame it on her being a woman, when there are other female frivers that had more talend, speed and curriculum to get an F1 chance on merit, not name or being pretty.

        And if F1 start giving drive on being pretty I want Henry Cavill driving

        1. Traverse (@)
          21st July 2013, 18:44

          Aah, Henry Cavill…he’s so dreamy isn’t he. :P

          In all seriousness I understand your point and subscribe to it to a degree, but one could argue that Bruno Senna only made it to F1 because of his prestigious lineage, just like many “pay drivers” have a financial advantage along with drivers that are seen to have a desires fanbase/geographical demographic (Ma Qinghua).

          1. Dreamy is a way to put it… but have you seem those abs? I mean that movie was awful, but he was worthy the Price ticket

    2. If she can make it and perform well, it will legitimately open the door for other women in the lower formulas

      Two problems with this statement. First, it is not possible to open doors that are already open. The main reason why there are few women in motosport is that girls as a group do not care enough. And good for them, they are not obliged to try every crazy thing (some) males like to do. But when a girl is into motosport, she knows that she can get there – there have already been women competing at a good level in the highest levels of the sport, including some that finished in top 6 in races. So that’s the second problem with the argument, even if Mrs. Wolff would score some points, she definitely would not be the first. Thus I do not see how she would open those doors.

    3. @optimaximal
      The problem is that what results has Susie ever achieved that makes it in any way believeable that she could even be a decent midfielder, or just a not so bad pay driver?
      Di Restra was arguably the best driver in DTM, yet he is just a midfield talented F1 driver.
      Susie is 30 (31 by the time of next season), has spend 7 years in DTM and with how many points? 0. Her best EVER finish is a 13th place.
      Look at Max Chilton. How good is he doing in F1 right now? And he finished fourth in GP2 last year. And that is in more F1 related cars and he at least has age on his side.
      If she was just half decent and not nearing F1 retirement age, I wouldn’t mind.
      But she just so isn’t.

      1. Correction.
        4 points. With a best finishing in the championship of 13th. My facts got messed up there. Still. Hardly worth considering for a role even as a development driver. Much less an actual race seat.

    4. As far as I’m aware, she has never won a single race post-karting. That is far too poor form to qualify for a drive in F1. I’m amazed she would even be granted a super licence.

      1. @ matt90 Did she pass her test ? If she did what more do you think she should have to do.

        1. Prove to be competitive at some level below F1. She has not done that if she has never won a race. There probably hasn’t been an F1 driver since the days of pre-qualifying with such a weak history.

    5. She isn’t good enough. If you only want her in the sport to ‘break down barriers’ then all you’re going to do is antagonise people and make the ‘barrier’ harder to actually break down when someone worthy comes along.

      This is like if you made the first female CEO of a company someone of average talent from middle management just because she’s one of the only females in the company at the moment just so you could say you had a female CEO. The very act of doing that removes all value and credibility from having done it.

  12. No Susie, you are not playing the ‘woman card’, or even the ‘wife of the shareholder card’. You are in F1 due to your astonishing speed and your impressive DTM results and all of that at such a young age, a prodigy really! I don’t know what Williams is waiting for they should have you on the racing car for the remainder of the season, why wait?

  13. Daniel Ricciardo has become the bookmakers’ favourite to replace Mark Webber. Betfair is offering a payout of 1.47 on Ricciardo, compared to 2.99 for Kimi Raikkonen.

  14. If a 30-year-old man had only scored points on 2 occasions in SEVEN years worth of professional racing, they wouldn’t even be remotely considered for a development driver seat, never mind a race seat. Susie already owes her place in F1 to the ‘woman’ card.

  15. Steph (@stephanief1990)
    21st July 2013, 10:48

    Let Wolff “play the woman” card. I don’t care. We already have positive discrimination but it’s in the favour of men. In the whole history of motorsport men have dominated every grid there is despite the billions of diverse people who exist and have existed on this planet and why is that? Because the sport generally favours rich, straight, men who fit into the stereotypical idea of how a ‘real man’ or sporting gladiator should be. You can’t have such inequality and really say “but that’s just how it is”. The inequality is so obvious that there is more to it than men just getting lucky.

    People say we need a great woman but why? We get mediocre men on the grid every single year who have money behind them. We’ll have true gender equality on the grid when we can get pay drivers who are women on the grid and no one makes a comment that it’s because they’re a woman, the comments will just be “oh God, not another pay driver”. Why must women have to be so much better to get a chance that an average racing man could? Why can only a female Schumacher have a shot when we get male drivers like Guttierez every single season?

    It really has nothing to do with biology either. Science has found that women can be just strong and just capable as men. F1 isn’t even about strength any more. Furthermore, there aren’t fixed differences between men and women. Some women have deep voices while some men squeak, some women have a lot of hair while some men lie and say they wax their chest, in the case of transgender men some will have vaginas and some transgender women will have penises. The reason we don’t have more women drivers is purely because of the toxic culture of F1 (and motor sports in general). If you’re not middle class and/or an obviously hetero guy then you just don’t fit in this world as a driver and that is bad for the sport because we’re not seeing the best drivers in the world but just the best drivers in the world that everyone can approve of.

    1. People remember Stirling but how many remember Pat ? those Force girls are handling really high HP cars ,and beating the men, who here would say that Michelle Mouton is rubbish, oh by the way did Susie pass her test and how did she rank in her group or overall ?

    2. People say we need a great woman but why? We get mediocre men on the grid every single year who have money behind them. We’ll have true gender equality on the grid when we can get pay drivers who are women on the grid and no one makes a comment that it’s because they’re a woman, the comments will just be “oh God, not another pay driver”. Why must women have to be so much better to get a chance that an average racing man could? Why can only a female Schumacher have a shot when we get male drivers like Guttierez every single season?

      We don’t have to, but it’d be the best thing for women in motorsport to be taken seriously. The current view of drivers who are heavily funded is less positive than before, because of Gutierez and Maldonado. The last thing we need for young women and their parents to be interested in competing in motorsports in the future is a female driver who isn’t taken seriously for her talent.

      And sorry, but the field is composed of manlets. Every driver I’ve met or seen comes up to my chin and has arms he couldn’t use to knock out a lightweigt boxer. I’m not sure if the general view of F1 drivers is more romantized, or your view of the general view is overly cynical.

      As for the physical part, I agree there shouldn’t be a difference. If anything, their weight should be an advantage as it gives more room for ballast. I was even a little dissapointed when the most successful female (Dutch) cyclist said she wanted women to compete in the Tour de France, but a version for females. I honestly think Marianne Vos could do well in the Tour.

      1. Thats because professional athletes understand the nature of their sport clearly unlike the general population if the general population think that a female should have to compete in the same field as males in a purely physical sport. It is just not physically possibly for any to be good enough on a professional level.

        Motorsport is a different issue because to be honest, it isn’t physical in the same way that it tests the limits of strength and endurance and it’s yet to be seen whether women can compete on the same level, i hope they can, but susie wolff is not the one to lead the way

    3. @stephanief1990 I respectfully disagree with almost everything in your comment. I do agree with the sporting stereotype but strides are being made to improve diversity amongst drivers (we are having more Asian drivers moving up the categories due to the new-found exposure by the Indian and Chinese Grand Prix etc.) and with driver development programmes you no longer necessarily have to have deep pockets. We all ready have South American drivers and there are a few North American drivers coming through and of course there is a black formula 1 driver, so it appears at least the racial stereotypes have crumbled but I fear we will only remove the boundaries of sexual preferences once needless “traditions” such as grid girls are removed. It is not suave or clever to employ the idealist figure of a woman to “stand still and look pretty, and remember to smile for the camera”.

      About mediocre men, you assert that since mediocre male (“pay”) drivers regularly find their way into the sport that it is somehow more acceptable than if the same were to be true of a woman. I could not disagree more with that: irrespective of gender, I think no one should be allowed the privilege of a formula one drive ideally that isn’t one of the best 22 drivers in the world, more realistically top 40. I agree with the concept that “if a man can do it, why not a woman” but I think that’s the wrong attitude to have – preferably we would have no sub-par drivers entering the sport and I certainly wouldn’t welcome the entry of Wolff to F1 based in the child-like logic of “he did it too”!

      As for “biology”, it certainly isn’t as relevant in F1 as in athletics but undeniably men can potentially have more physical endurance and sheer power than women (hence why the men’s world 100m record is 9.58s and the women’s 10.49 – over 9 tenths of a second faster). Mentally also women are less spatially aware inherently, which is a very important trait for formula 1:

      Men typically have stronger spatial abilities, or being able to mentally represent a shape and its dynamics, whereas women typically struggle in this area. Medical experts have discovered that women have a thicker parietal region of the brain, which hinders the ability to mentally rotate objects–an aspect of spatial ability. Research has shown this ability in babies as young as 5 months old, negating any ideas that these abilities were strengthened by environmental influences.

      To conclude, absolutely I support sexual diversity in formula one but in the same regard that I hold men only if they have the potential to win a world championship. For precisely that reason I did not support Gutierrez’s entry into the sport and I supported Kovalinen’s exit.

    4. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      21st July 2013, 21:00

      If you’re not middle class

      @stephanief1990 Senna, one of the wonders in F1, was definitely high class
      Rosberg was practically born millionaire too.
      The “middle class” are every year fewer and fewer. You have a shot in F1 if you hae some money backing you since childhood. Kimi ‘s father was a mechanic who made him his first kart, but that’s becoming the exception of the rule.

    5. 1) The mediocre men are still considerably faster than susie wolff as demonstrated by the weekends test vs maldonado and the other young development driver.

      2) No women cannot be just as strong or fit as men, on average: 50% less upper body strength, 25% less lower body strength (assuming equal mass, ofc mass is also usually 20% lower). 10% smaller lung capacity and blood volume, 10% slower reaction times. There is a reason that the womens record 100m time is a time that most mens amateur athletics club winners can run and this difference is reflected throughout all sport.

      3) It may well be that an old boys club is the reason there are no women in f1, it may well also be that its just because none are good enough and none will be. You will never see a woman compete on a level in any other physical sport, and you could never claim that that was just down to sexism rather than fundamental physical difference in potential ability between the sexes.

      4) There ARE fixed differences, i just dont know how to argue with your post it’s just so horrendously incorrect.

      1. Pregnant up to 10 mths plus, baby up to 15 lbs or 30plus Kilos, labour about 12hrs, no body strength or endurance needed. Still don’t think any man would volunteer to,even if he could do all that, those differences do not play any part in motor racing. Michelle Mouton drove in the era of the Killer B’s.

        1. pretty sure the reaction time plays a factor, and the spatial awareness advantage / larger standard deviation of mental talents present in males.

          I’m not arguing against women being in f1 anyway i hope there are competitive female f1 drivers (though not susie wolff) or that women lack any strength or endurance. Im just arguing against the OPs wrong headed statement that there are no systematic physical differences between the sexes which is patently false and nonsensical.

  16. Traverse (@)
    21st July 2013, 11:18

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

    1. Traverse (@)
      21st July 2013, 14:25

      Btw, this post was meant in jest. :)

  17. 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.

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

    2. 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).

  18. I Love the Pope
    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?

    1. 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.

      1. I love the Pope
        21st July 2013, 17:25

        But why?

        Why is this false equality so important? Men and women are different, if you haven’t noticed.

        1. I’ve explained my point of view and am not going to endlessly reiterate it for the benefit of those who are only trying to misrepresent it.

    2. Traverse (@)
      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?

      1. 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.

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

  20. Rui (@ruicaridade)
    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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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?

    1. 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.

  23. 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”.

    1. @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

  24. 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.

  25. 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)?

    1. @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 ?

      1. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

    1. She’s a Williams development driver which pretty much gives a (yet another) head start.

  28. 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.

    1. 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.

  29. 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!

    1. @ 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

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


          2. 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.

  30. @ 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.

    1. Susie’s time 1.35.093 would have put her on the starting grid.

  31. eddie. wrong. she finished 23 out of 33. the ones behind her were vdg, pic, bianchi, Chilton who were all doing full tank tyre testing. the remainder were ..kvyat (who?), sato (who), rossi (caterham), stevens (who), gonzalez (who), and ellinas. apart from sato and kvyat, all the others were in caterhams or marussias. apart from the tyre testers, the only one who had sat in an f1 car before was rossi.

    by all means let Susie race in gp2 and then maybe you would see her ability. apart from that, would she even have the physical strength to do a race distance? are you sure that you name is not toto?

    1. @ gilgen No its not toto, nor am I a dodo. Her time would’ve been within the qualy standards for the British GP meaning she is at least fast enough. Note that she wasn’t running qualy laps but could still be close to qualy time. Factor in weight reduction for fuel and qualy tyres and she would improve even more. Just look at the figures with unbiased eyes and she did much better than average. My F1 heroes are all men but I know quite a few women whom I’ve wondered whether they shouldn’t have been in F1 in their day.

    2. @gilgen , I compared her times to others who were on track at the same time under the same weather conditions. We want fairness don’t we ? As I’ve posed to others, how would you rate Hans Stuck Jr as a driver and as an F1 driver. Why hasn’t more people heard of Pat Moss and were you aware that at one time she was being compared very favorably with her brother Stirling?.

  32. @ Joe Papp, your treasured comment supports the view that F1 is a male glee club . A woman finishing midpack is characterized as useless or rubbish. The male finishing at the bottom of her group is ACTUALLY a current F1 driver.Defend this in any way except beating your chest and saying I am a man and I make and interpret the rules as I see fit. Please don’t be bashful . I’m awaiting your reply. Yes it will be a man you’ll be replying to.

  33. Joe, there are four as in 4 current F1 drivers behind her. How is this possible. Is it because they weren’t women. Help me understand the standard.

    1. Read my comment above. The four current F1 drivers who finished behind Susie were doing tyre testing only.

      1. That’s your latest excuse ? Try this instead. Her time 1.35.093 done just in testing trim and not qualifying, WOULD HAVE QUALIFIED her for the last British GP. Would you like to have that repeated. Explain away that fact if you can. She’s obviously fast enough in a car.

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