Susie Wolff, Williams, Red Bull Ring, 2015

Susie Wolff confirms retirement from motor racing

2015 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Susie Wolff will retire from motor racing at the end of the 2015 season, Williams has announced.

Wolff became the first woman to participate in an F1 race weekend in 22 years when she drove for the team during practice for last year’s British Grand Prix.

The former DTM racer spent three years working with the team on their F1 car development programme. She became the team’s test driver at the beginning of this season.

“I’d like to thank Williams for the opportunity they have given me over the last few years which has allowed me to achieve my dream of driving a Formula One car,” said Wolff. “I am now closing this chapter but looking forward to new challenges in the future.”

Wolff will compete in the Race of Champions at the end of the year before hanging up her helmet.

2015 F1 season

Browse all 2015 F1 season articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

Posted on Categories 2015 F1 season, WilliamsTags , ,

Promoted content from around the web | Become a RaceFans Supporter to hide this ad and others

  • 71 comments on “Susie Wolff confirms retirement from motor racing”

    1. Good for her. It’s about time she became realistic. Even if she had the talent she’d be too old anyway, and probably can’t fight off the younger less talented money swamped kids anyway. I wish her all the best.

      1. What less talented money swamped kids are you talking about?

        1. Maldonado, Ericsson, Stevens and perhaps Nasr.

          1. First of all Maldonado is not a kid, he’s 30, just 2 years younger than Susie Wolff.
            And most importantly, he’s certainly not less talented. He has his faults, but he definitely doesn’t lack speed or talent, especially in comparison to her. He is a GP2 champion and he has won a Grand Prix… that certainly wasn’t just handed to him just because of Venezuelan oil money.

            1. The same goes for the other 3 guys. Last time i saw Susie race she was a backmarker in DTM.

    2. She was never going to secure a F1 race seat, but the work she has done in trying to inspire a new generation of young girls to get into racing has been very good. Hopefully in 15 years time, we will see that her work was not in vain.

      1. Well said!

      2. Hear hear !!

      3. to be fair, i don’t think a lot of girls are going to be inspired by her. Everybody knows this was a gentlemen’s agreement, and artificial way to promote woman drivers. Young girls are not stupid. Though at least she wasn’t the puppet Jorda is. To get young girls into racing there has to be a lot of consistent effort over a lot of years and i don’t see that happening unless the FIA gets involved.

      4. +1 Well spoken.

      5. I think she’s makes a very good ambassador for the sport, and I hope F1 sees fit to make it a formal position. At the grass roots level there isn’t enough girls involved in carting/racing which then feeds up to where we are today in F1, without a single woman on the grid. I would like to see more effort being put into getting girls racing, and also children from low income backgrounds.

        In some ways though, I’m glad that she was never became a full F1 driver. I think if she had got a seat in F1 solely because she was a female that would have sent completely the wrong message. Susie doesn’t have nearly the racing pedigree of a lot of far more talented individuals that will never make it to F1, in her time as a racing driver she hasn’t even won a single race in a recognised series. I would love if F1 was solely based on talent, rather than today where smaller teams depend on pay drivers (be it sponsorship or blooding in a new recurit for a larger team)

      6. As an aside, it may be worth mentioning that a female jockey won Australias premier horse race yesterday. ref Melbourne Cup.

      7. I am sick of hearing all this inspiration crap. Young girls do not need some woman in Williams outfit to be inspired. All they need is to like the sport. This crazy idea that you can’t be inspired or like something unless you see your own sex is completely ridiculous.

    3. I wonder which toothpaste she uses?

      1. Same as Toto.

        1. How would you know !?

      2. It’s called 10 grand pro plus.

    4. All the best Susie. Hope you have a good RoC.

    5. I have always been a fan of Susie. She hasn’t adopted the line of saying “I’m a woman, so now it’s my turn in an F1 car”, but has instead always maintained that the attraction of Formula 1 is the opportunity to compete against the very best racing drivers in the world. I think she perhaps acknowledges the fact that she never has had the ability to justify a long-term F1 career over the endless roster of young, talented and exclusively male single seater contenders, but she nonetheless sought to open the doors for other and to start a Grand Prix, and went about it by applying herself to the development and test role Williams gave her.

      Was ruling her out from the prospect of substituting for Bottas in Malaysia harsh? Perhaps, but remember, Williams were targeting P2 in the championship and had the likely more competitive prospects of Lynn and Sutil on their books; F1 is no charity. You could equally argue now that Williams are a safe P3 in the championship that a guest drive at the final round in Abu Dhabi would do no harm, and would raise the profile of both the team and women in motorsport exponentially.

      I think the selflessness of her campaign is one of the most admirable things about Susie, whereas by contrast you cannot envisage Miss Jorda imagining anyone other than herself holding the steering wheel. The comparison with Susie does tend not to be flattering for Carmen Jorda. Not only does she support Bernie’s ridiculous and unsporting idea of a women’s championship, but she seems to have negotiated the same arrangement with FOM cameramen that Sutil’s girlfriend enjoyed. It is a shame that the genuinely credible female racer Simona de Silvestro couldn’t attract the same attention…

      1. I agree with everything you say, with one exception – that a womans only championship is riddiculous. We know we have very few women drivers and the reason is that the way little boys and girls are brought up is very different. Little girls are not generally given cars and tanks to play with and little boys are not given dolls or play houses – and parents who do buck the norm are abused at the school gate and emotional pressure is put on them by family and friends, even if it’s unintentional.

        So society has developed a gender-role problem, and if that gender role problem did not exist, I would agree with you wholeheartedly. However, in a world in which very few girls are brought up being given access to motor racing, the pool of talent for girls is, quite naturally stifled. A womens only championship gives them a way to compete, despite the disadvantage they suffer, and compete in an arena which showcases only their talent, not their talent as compared to men. Short to medium term, this will absolutely benefit the erosion of gender-roles in society, and long term, it will no longer be necessary.

        Essentially, if you argue that in male dominated sports, a woman only championship is riddiculous, your argument can be applied equally to the idea that the para-olympics are also riddiculous. As long as the top series in the sport remains open to either gender, why not allow them to have a series, to showcase them to the world and to inspire a new generation of little girls to ask their parents for a car

        1. @williamjones I must completely disagree. Other than societal obstacles, are women seeking to compete in F1 truly disadvantaged? In a sporting sense, with the current reduced levels of downforce, women simply aren’t physically disadvantaged. It certainly doesn’t bare resemblance to need for Paralympic sport. There is no sporting reason preventing a women from being the finest racing driver in the world.

          You are of course right to assign the observable gender deficit to a prejudicial gender-role culture. But is responding to this by waving women straight to the pinnacle of motorsport not somewhat defeatist? A hundred years ago in the UK women couldn’t vote, and we’ve since had a female PM. The UK has developed a knack, certainly superior to the USA, of overcoming female role prejudices. So why, when we are likely to have a women as articulate as Susie campaigning on the matter, can we not overcome this one?

      2. @william-brierty

        I think she perhaps acknowledges the fact that she never has had the ability to justify a long-term F1 career over the endless roster of young, talented and exclusively male single seater contenders

        Well… I don’t really think she does. In the blog post she has written about it, she blames it on “the current environment in F1” that a race drive for her hasn’t happened yet and won’t happen. I’m a bit disappointed by that, because that is not true. I think F1, sponsors, Bernie, FIA, you name it – they all would be ecstatic with a woman driving in F1. But the prerequisite is, of course, that she would have to be good enough and have the credentials to merit a seat.

        As for gender roles: I’m not fully buying into the idea that girls are forced to play with dolls therefore are not interested in cars and racing. My oldest daughter is now 5 years old. She plays with what she wants without us forcing anything upon her – but she likes dolls. And Frozen. And princesses. What if the average young girls just likes those things better than cars? There is not necessarily a gender role problem. I mean, I’ve shown F1 to her. She always sees me watching, she sometimes asks me questions about it, she understands what happens. But it doesn’t really interest her. She’s not asking to drive a kart, she’s not aspiring to be a racing driver.

        1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          5th November 2015, 8:30

          You make an excellent point: a genuinely credible female F1 driver would be greeted with open arms, and therein, clearly Susie wasn’t her. But I don’t think that infringes on Susie’s right to be proud of what she has achieved at Williams, and to have subsequently dared to dream that efforts would be rewarded with at least a guest start. She cannot claim to be the racing driver with the best CV in the world, but instead she has worked hard from within Williams to improve her abilities. This is a sport, not a charity, so it was perhaps a touch naive to even dare to dream of a race drive, but you always hope that hard work is rewarded.

          In terms of gender roles, once again, you make an excellent point. If you scatter toys across a pen filled with juvenile chimpanzees, the males with pick up the trucks, and the females will cradle the dolls. Men are instinctively attracted to motion, speed and adrenaline: running from a sabre-tooth tiger and strapping yourself to several hundred BHP – it’s all the same. However humans are odd creatures: they develop interests and intrigues on a completely unpredictable basis, often influenced by their peers, social group and lifestyle. Yes, girls shouldn’t be forced into karting, but they certainly shouldn’t be denied the opportunity.

        2. She’d better off admitting that she wasn’t good enough. Look at a 19 year old Vettel in his very first FP session and he sets the fastest time. Recent, Max Verstappen did the same in Mexico. Obviously they may be outliers in terms of talent/talent potential, and teams run different programs – but Wolff never showed in the FP sessions stellar speed.

          Perhaps choosing to retire from motor sports entirely is a bt of insight (it may not be though). True racers want to race. There are many other series she could try out. Retiring indicates she’s not motivated by the racing itself, which may be way she also was a back marker in DTM. Racers are driven to win and to go fast, not to participate.

          It’d be interesting to see where she lands. I suspect she may still be in a public-facing F1 role, either with a team or a broadcaster.

    6. Sounds like a good time to retire. She has done all she can F1 wise and no doubt there are baby plans coming very soon. Hopefully she has inspired some more girls to try racing.

      1. No doubt? Are you privy to information regarding plans between Toto and Susie in regards to baby planning or is this an assumption on your part that all women in life is to raise babies?

        1. *That all women want in life

          1. ‘all women want in life is to raise babies’… Exactly where was this suggested? In case you hadn’t noticed, having children is a fairly common thing for humans, especially those around the age of 30, to get up to. While not all women want to have babies, you’ll find that the majority do. This was clearly just a light-hearted piece of speculation, so please don’t jump down people’s throats because you can. It doesn’t help your cause.

        2. Do you have any privy information since you seem so certain Toto has to be involved in the babyplanning. Are you just assuming that all women only wants to have babies with their husband and noone else?

    7. I’ve got a lot of time for Susie Wolff – she’s always been a very level and sensible voice in F1, and I think motorsport needs people like her. I’m not going to argue that she was a brilliant racing driver, but when she had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of F1 machinery, she always gave a very good account of herself, and I’m sure given the chance she would have made a very solid F1 driver.

      One of the most important things I’ve learnt in life, especially over the past few years, is that the decisions you make should really only ever be motivated by a desire to make yourself happy. Clearly, her participation in F1 is something which is no longer aiding her in achieving that, and if that’s the case then it’s the right time to step away and work on other things. I really hope she remains a prominent public voice, and the we get to hear more from her in future.

      1. I’m glad some people are posting actual quality commentary rather than just snark on this story.

      2. I’m sure given the chance she would have made a very solid F1 driver

        Why would you be sure about that? She wasn’t very solid in Formula Renault when given the chance, she wasn’t very solid in DTM when given the chance, so why would she be very solid in F1 when faced with competition of a much higher grade than in FR or DTM?

        Don’t get me wrong – I actually think she did a good job as test and development driver at Williams and she is to be commended for that. But as an actual F1 racing driver, I never saw it happening.

      3. She would not have made a solid F1 driver and that is the problem. She was not good enough by any stretch of the imagination, her driving around would have been Yuji Ide levels of dangerous. I truly believe if she was good enough she would have made F1. She wasn’t. She didn’t.

    8. Well… Good job Susie, by far above and average female racing driver. Closest chance we had in long time of a female entering an F1 race as a racer.

      That being said not even close to actually happening. For some reason we have more female presidents than female f1 drivers… just does not happen.

    9. Can I expecting Toto Junior right now..?

      1. Yeah I got the feeling that was the new challenges she is looking forward too.

        Twins would be cool. Toto is used to having close 1-2 finishes.

    10. A sensible decision, I think. Her F1 career was not going to progress beyond FP1 sessions, and perhaps Susie and Toto decided they want to try for family expansion. That is one area of inequality between men and women in F1 (and many other sports for that matter): you cannot compete at the highest level and bear children at the same time.

    11. I would rather see Toto Wolff retire, I am sick of his pseudo-sporting rhetoric which then is brutally counteracted by his pandering to the Mercedes brand. a few years ago he came across as a real sportsman, but that might just have been his likeable personality and appearing as a “youngish” go getter in the hierarchy of the sport. I think he is far more fake that other team principal so often bashed in the forums in the last 2 years – Christian Horner.

    12. If you want to get a sense of where F1 will be in ten years you need to look at Karts today. Sad to say, a scan through the KF-Junior Championship rankings doesn’t reveal a host of girls. I think we’re as far from having a female F1 driver as ever.

      1. I do not care and am not sad. What i want to see is great drivers in great racing battles, whether they have boobs or not is not my concern. Therefore i care not if none of them has boobs in ten years or if all them do.

      2. I do not care and am not sad. What i want to see is great drivers in great racing battles, whether they have b-o-o-bs or not is not my concern. Therefore i care not if none of them has b-o-o-bs in ten years or if all them do.

    13. she was never good enough even in F3 or DTM

      shes only there as a token

      its POSSIBLE for a woman to be competitive

      but not susie wollf

    14. Is it just me or does she really look tired and weary in that picture? Seems appropriate for her retirement announcement…

    15. Susie Wolf was in Motorsport?

    16. That’s a shame. It makes sense because she was never going to get an F1 race seat (even without the new superlicense rules) but she is still a half-decent driver and could still forge a career in other series. If I were in charge of an LMP2 team or a GT team, I’d hire her.

    17. There are actually people who are disappointed by this most positive development?

      Shoot me, I do not want to suffer this world anymore.

      1. You mean you’re disappointed people want a bit more equality in F1?

        1. People want to keep some quality in F1.

          1. Thank you @kelsier, said it better than I could.

          2. There are better ways of saying what Klon said, ways that avoid looking like a jerk.

        2. I see no proof of an equality problem.

    18. Congrats to the Wolff´s

    19. Correct me if im wrong, but don’t you have to become champion in any category to actually be able to participate in Race of Champions? Which championship has she ever won?

      On topic: I think she’s a very likeable person, speaks sense and doesn’t always need to be in the spotlight. As a driver though I think she never had what it took in the first place. All the best to her, I’m sure we’ll see her in the paddock next year anyway.

      1. Championship ‘conquering Toto’s heart’

      2. I think they’ve switched to the same definition of ‘Champion’ that the UEFA Champions’ League now uses, given how few of the teams in that competition are actually champions.

    20. Bing
      Desmarcar Tudo
      Bye Suz, you were a sight for sore eyes.

      But honestly, did someone ever believed she was going to make it?
      When Bottas got hurt before the first race i thought she was going to race.

      She didn’t. And then they announced Sutil as 3rd driver because she wasn’t the 3rd driver, but a test driver.
      If something happens with the titular drivers, she’s not going to race.

      That’s probably when she realized she wasn’t going anywhere with them.
      If they don’t trust her after 3 seasons to let her race, they probably never will.

      1. I think she was also revealed she wasn’t going to race. She would have made Luca Badoer’s F1 come back with Ferrari look like major success if she raced and she knew it too.

    21. Retirement article, it would be good to know how old she is.

    22. I’m surprised she’s quitting motorsport completely. I suppose as she wasn’t able to accomplish anything in DTM she’d have struggled for drives anywhere even after the F1 association.


      P.R. stunt from the get go. Was the former directors wife no less. Give me a break.

    24. That headline put a sly grin on my face :)

    25. Wow, what a shame. She really set the racing world on fire….yaaaawn

    26. It’s disappointing that she’s retiring as a racer, but I’m glad she’ll be sticking around the paddock as a proper ambassador.

      1. Seriously?….what a joke. Massa and Bottas in the cars and you want to see someone with no talent replace them? Get over it people, this is a man’s sport. I think my opinion is supported by the fact that all men are driving the cars.

        1. Get over it people, this is a man’s sport.

          Did we suddenly go back in time to 1965? Seriously though, it’s 2015; this sort of garbage should have disappeared with the Betamax.

          1. Yeah, that probably wasn’t fair to say since all the other women on the grid are doing so well.

    27. She did it all with a huge smile on her face. Good on her! was always going to be tuff for her to get a full time race seat, but the promoting of woman in sport would of been priceless. Good luck Suz

    28. I truly believe that what she did for women in F1 was good, but I will never ever ever have it said that she was in any way good enough for F1 or that either her gender or conceptions about her gender stopped her from getting into F1. If you’re good enough, you’re old enough counts just the same for gender, if you’re good enough you can make it into F1. I don’t for a second doubt that there are women out there who are good enough for F1. I don’t for one second doubt that when they will be shown to be good enough they will race F1. What I mind is that Wolff was never good enough, always banging on about what stopped her getting in, and greatly profiting from nepotism in F1 (just as much as any paydriver benefits from his sponsors or Carmen Jorda from being blond and attractive, indeed probably more so) in her quest to get there. I am happy she’s retiring, so we don’t have to have her hanging over our head the whole time.

    29. F1 is not for women. That’s it. They can have decent races in endurance or GT.
      Can we imagine a only female championship like any other sport? Would it be successful? Never, because no-one would watch it, because F1 is for men. No women will be able to challenge the big boys in F1. Get over it. Good she tried and good she realised before it was too late to do something else.

    Comments are closed.