Wolff named Williams test driver for 2015

2015 F1 season

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Susie Wolff, Williams, Hockenheimring, 2014Williams have promoted Susie Wolff to the role of official test driver for the 2015 season.

Wolff will participate in two practice sessions and two test sessions next year and conduct simulator testing of the two cars which will success the FW36.

She drove for the team during practice sessions at Silverstone and Hockenheim this year, becoming the first woman to do so in 22 years. The former DTM racer joined Williams in 2012.

“This is another step in the right direction for me,” said Wolff. “I am delighted Williams are recognising my progression, hard work and that it is performance that counts.”

Deputy team principal Claire Williams said Wolff “continues to impress us with her strong technical knowledge, the feedback she delivers and the performance when she drives the car both on the track and in the simulator”.

“She has steadily increased her time behind the wheel since she joined us in April 2012 and her appointment as official test driver was a natural progression.”

Wolff was the team’s development driver during 2014. Felipe Nasr, who was the team’s official test and reserve driver during 2014, will join Sauber for 2015.

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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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44 comments on “Wolff named Williams test driver for 2015”

  1. What’s a test Driver do these days anymore besides sit in the simulator and participate in media events? Oh right, I’m sure she’ll be an asset to the later sinceshe’s almost at retirement age for an F1 Driver anyway. Two years younger than Jenson, I think I’d take Jenson over her anyway.

  2. Since Wolff has been named test driver, does this still mean JEV is in the frame for reserve driver with Nasr having left for Sauber?

    1. @countrygent It does look like they’ve left the role of ‘Reserve Driver’ vacant for now.

      1. @countrygent @keithcollantine I do hope JEV will be named as reserve driver.. having hired both Hulk and Vergne, and sticking with Bottas, in times like these, will be a big plus for Williams in my book.

        1. @fastiesty

          ‘Having hired […] Hulk’


          1. 2010 I guess… I think @fastiesty is talking about Williams going for drivers based on talent and not money

          2. @wpinrui Yes, at least in some form or another. Massa brings some of both right now, which fits them both well.

            @optimaximal Ah, yes, well, a guy can dream…. Hulk & Bottas would’ve been a stellar line up! Also leaving a space for Vergne at Force India!

  3. What a joke. She sucks and she is there because of her marriage to Toto. There are better drivers on the grid who deserve a drive in F1 let alone test drive.

    1. Elaborate, please. Why does she “suck”? She had one free practice where she ended up two tenth behind Massa.

      1. @dh1996 please tell me more about how FP times are a true measurement of driver speed.

        What we do know is Wolff posted a 1:20.769 and Massa was capable that weekend of a 1:17.078 (his Q3 time).
        What we don’t know is how close to that 1:17.078 Wolff could have gotten.

        Now I wouldn’t say she “sucks”, but consider this: in her car racing career (which spans Formula Renault and Formula Three on British level, and DTM) she has obtained 0 wins and 4 podiums. Out of 11 seasons of racing.

        1. You’re not comparing like for like. Massa’s Q3 run would have been done on brand new softest-compound tyres with three laps of fuel at most.

          1. @jules-winfield which is why I explicitly stated: “What we don’t know is how close to that 1:17.078 Wolff could have gotten.”

            I just gave facts. I’m deliberately not interpreting them.

            @dh1996 , however, was using the FP1 times as if they really mean something. And that I could not agree with.

        2. Well, that’s what I’m saying. You can’t say “she sucks” because what has she done wrong?

          1. This argument is settled very easily. Go to wikipedia and look at her racing record.

          2. You mean like looking at Jan Magnussen’s record an realising that he was the best thing that ever happened to F1? You cannot judge her until you see her in an F1 race.

          3. Looking back at her previous results is tricky because she broke her ankle just after moving to F3 so never really got to build on what she had done in Formula Renault as the injury prevented her getting back into a single seater straght away hence why she ended up in DTM.

            Its also tricky to really get anything from her time in DTM because a DTM car is so utterly different to drive to pretty much everything else that there have been many very good single seater drivers who have done nothing in DTM.
            Take António Félix da Costa, He was a regular race winner & title contender in every category he raced in throughout his open wheel career yet did absolutely nothing noteworthy in DTM this year & scored only 6 points all year.
            Timo Glock is similar, His 2 years in DTM have given him only 5 points finishes.

            Coming back to Williams, They have all the data from her running & from what I’m led to believe they have been genuinely impressed with her speed, consistency & technical ability as far as feedback goes. They put her in the car & will continue to do so because they believe she’s good enough & want to continue to give her the opportunity to prove herself.

          4. @dh1996 I’m sorry but you have it backwards. It should be “prove yourself in feeder series and maybe you’ll get a chance to prove yourself in F1”, not “trundle around in the midfield/back of some national series and non-openwheelers and then get put in F1 because ” you never know “”. That is not particularly fair for those who DO achieve something.

          5. @gt-racer build on what she had done in FR? Like what? Three years in a national formula Renault series (not even European formula Renault) and not a single win? Yes, huge base to build something on.

            And please don’t talk about a broken ankle. Dean Stoneman had cancer, conquered it and after being away for a few years he’s now had a cracker of a season in GP3. Now that’s worth talking about.

      2. I’m pretty sure she’s never won any race outside of karting.

    2. I don’t see how it is a joke. Continuity when you are developing cars would seem to be a useful asset by itself. Furthermore, as you don’t actually win anything in test sessions, outright pace is not necessarily the major factor; having the capacity to provide reliable, meaningful, comparable feedback about the manner in which the car is performing is surely the bigger factor. Given that her feedback will have contributed to the development of the best car Williams has produced in years, carrying on in that role seems like a perfectly sensible decision.

  4. I have a big crush on Susie… don’t let my wife know that :-)

    1. @vinicius-jlantunes I promise not to tell her about that. As long as you don’t tell my wife that I expect to see Claire every time the camera points to Williams garage.

    2. Won’t tell Toto either ..

  5. This simply indicates how unseriousness Williams are. For whatever reason (it surely isn’t to do with her development and feedback prowess), Williams have decided to go with Wolff. When you talk of “taking the fight to Mercedes” next year, you need the BEST components in every single area you can get – machine, drivers, test drivers, development program, etc. A tenth or 2 tenths is can be the difference between the first and 3rd row.
    I predict RBR to overhaul Williams next year simply based on this news. It shows Williams’s mindset;and it is not a mindset of a winner.
    Disclaimer: I personally have nothing against Mrs Wolff

    1. RBR is already ahead of Williams this year, so they won’t be “overhauling” them if they are to be ahead again next year

    2. I think we all know that the 3rd driver position means absolutely nothing in F1. It’s only purpose is to maybe get some money out of any drivers who would be willing to pay to have a “reserve driver for f1 team” title in their resume. Even if it is a bought position it does still sound nice when you whip our your resume :). However when the team actually needs a reserve driver they have always got someone else.

      I doubt williams would put suzie in the car for a full race weekend unless there was literally no time to get someone else. She is a fast driver but nowhere near good enough to be even considered to be in F1. Being a reserve driver is already million times better than she could dream of if that position was based on skill and merits as racing driver.

      She’s slower than danica and probably nowhere near simona.

  6. I have nothing against Susie Wolf but have to believe this is a political correctness appointment. Surely there are better drivers out there who would have been a better choice and investment. Zero wins and four podiums in eleven years of racing fails to impress over a career length period of time for most pro racing drivers.

    F1 continues to slide over the precipice of irrelevance.

  7. If they really wanted a woman de sill estero is a far far better prospect. This sucks of some kind of internal pressure from husband toto!!

  8. Sorry De Silvestro !

  9. 2015 Keith, says 2014 on the main page

  10. Do the main protagonists strike you as being that trivial? Why would it be important to Toto (or Susie for that matter) to have a Friday F1 drive? Is this something that you think Claire and Frank would roll over for?

    1. When Toto Wolff owns 16% of the Williams F1 shares, Claire and Frank may have to agree even if they don’t like it much.

      1. That’s not even approaching a controlling interest. The main ownership of the company is between Frank Williams and Patrick Head, with the remaining 24% of it publicly listed.

        Williams is only beholden to Toto (as it is the rest of its public shareholders) to bring a return on his investment – he no long sits on the board of directors following his move to Mercedes.

  11. She seems to fit into the team well and work hard, if the team says she provides useful feedback then there’s not really anything else you need from a test driver. Remember Ferrari had the most embarrassing F1 driver of the past decade as a test driver for most of the previous decade, that wasn’t because he was married to a shareholder (as far as I know).

    1. Don’t forget the PR role, I am sure Mrs. Wolf is very good for that aspect of the job.

    2. I agree with that.

      I will come to the defense of Luca Badoer though.
      Its a shame that Luca is nowadays only remembered for those 2 disastrous races in 2009 & not for when he was racing regularly through the 90s (Which was when Ferrari 1st signed him) where he had always been a highly competent driver who had pulled out some strong performances in poor cars.

      1. To be fair, Badoer did about as well as you might expect for a man who had not even allowed to sit in an F1 car for nearly nine months – most of the other drivers were actually fairly complimentary of his performance in those circumstances. It wasn’t as if Fisichella was massively more competitive either, and he had been competing for the entire season.

  12. It’s a promotion, but not exactly a big one, is it? Two practice sessions and two test sessions….wasn’t the previous role two practice session and one test session?

    Ignoring the whys and wherefores about whether she “deserves” the role, one has to say in general that being an official test driver (of either gender) is a bit like being an Olympic swimmer in the Sahara desert – opportunities to shine are somewhat thin on the ground.

  13. This is just a token appointment folks don’t get your knickers in a twist over this. JEV is coming onboard as the reserve driver. Susi will sit her lovely behind in a simulator and get the odd practice one slot if she’s lucky.

  14. Maybe Williams are trying to persuade Toto to give them a discount on next year’s power unit.

    1. Toto is still a co-owner of Williams F1 team with 16% shares, along with 30% shares of Mercedes F1 team. So the decisions at Williams would have heavy influence of Toto.

      On a side note, being the co-owner of two F1 teams with one finishing 1st and the other 3rd in constructors is probably the best you can hope for.

      1. Well, good luck voting with 16% against 84% then. Also remember, shareholders do not have day to day decision making abilities unless they are also executive directors which he is not.

  15. What….
    This is as absolute joke. Poor JEV would have done so well in this role and this woman who has never won a race in her whole career comes along and takes it. This is another media stunt, Simona De Silvestro is so much more talented and yet she’s nowhere near F1. Williams need to be reminded that they are frontrunners.

  16. I have just looked at the Drivers for 2015 on this site. Under Williams it has Susie as Test/Reserve/Third Driver.

    Imagine on race weekend, one of the drivers (Massa or Bottas) has a mishap of some sort on Saturday night, which renders him unable to drive on Sunday.

    Will they put Susie in the car for the race on Sunday as she is the only Test/Reserve/Third Driver? Or will they get someone like JEV in?

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