Following the departure of Felipe Nasr to Sauber F1 for the 2015 season, Susie Wolff has been promoted into the full test driver role as she closes in on the opportunity to be the first female driver in the modern era.
Wolff joined the team as one of their Development Drivers in April 2012 with a brief that mainly focused on simulator work to develop the car and engine package. During the 2014 season she drove in free practice for the British and German Grands Prix. At Silverstone her time on track was limited due to mechanical issues, but in Germany she set a time close to Felipe Massa – just 0.227s behind the 11 time winner.
For next season she will drive in 2 of the team’s test days as well as in 2 free practice sessions, giving her more experience and exposure as a potential driver.
Wolff has had a degree of success in the lower formulae, gaining 4 podiums in her 3 years in Formula Renault UK with a best championship position of 5th. Between 2006 and 2012 she competed in the DTM series, scoring 4 podiums during her best year (2010), and finishing in a best championship position of 13th despite competing in the effective “b” class of the championship with a customer rather than a works car each year.
In an interview with the BBC to confirm her promotion to a full test driver role, Wolff was optimistic about the opportunity:
I’m really happy to be able to carry on and get more time in the car
while Claire Williams, the Williams Team Principal paid tribute to the value that Woolf has brought to the team during her time in the development role:
Susie 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.
While it’s unlikely that Wolff would compete in a race during the 2015 season, she has a big opportunity to be the first female driver in the sport since 1992 when Giovanna Amati attempted to qualify for 3 races.