Susie Wolff announces retirement from motor sport

Published: Wednesday 4th November 2015 by The News Editor

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British racing driver Susie Wolff has announced that she will retire from motor sport at the end of the season.

Wolff became the first female to take part in a Formula One race weekend in more than two decades in first practice at last year’s British Grand Prix.

But the Scot, who joined Williams in 2012, announced on Wednesday she is to call time on her motor racing career.

“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,” Wolff said in a statement.

“It has been great to work with everyone at the team, both at Grove and trackside, and I’d like to thank everyone who has been part of my journey at Williams.

“I am now closing this chapter but looking forward to new challenges in the future.”

Wolff also took part in practice for the German Grand Prix last year as well as sessions in Spain this season and again at Silverstone.

But Wolff, who is married to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, does not believe the sport is ready for a female racing driver in the near future.

Writing in a blog on the Huffington Post, Wolff, 32, added: “My progression into Formula One came to represent so much more than a racing driver simply trying to reach the pinnacle of the sport. It was also the hope that finally there may again be a female on the starting grid.

“I rode the wave, was energised by all the support and fought hard. There were those who wanted it to happen. Those who didn’t.

“I can only tell you, I gave it my all. Do I think F1 is ready for a competitive female racing driver that can perform at the highest level? Yes. Do I think it is achievable as a woman? Most definitely. Do I think it will happen soon? Sadly no.

“We have two issues: not enough young girls starting in karting at a young age and no clear role model. Sometimes you just have to see it to believe it.

“My gut feeling tells me it is time to move on.”

Wolff was appointed as Williams development driver in 2012 before being promoted to the role of test driver this season.

But her hopes of becoming the first woman to start a Formula One race since Italian Lella Lombardi in 1976 suffered a setback when Adrian Sutil was signed up by Williams after Valtteri Bottas sustained an injury in qualifying for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Bottas was fit enough to take part in the race, but the move by Williams appeared to scupper any long-term hope Wolff had of competing for the team in a race.

Wolff, who started here career in karting, added: “At 13, the dream and the goal became Formula One.

“I got oh so close. I wanted and fought very hard to make it onto that starting grid but the events at the start of this year and the current environment in F1 the way it is, it isn’t going to happen.

“As a sportsperson it is always difficult to know when to stop but for me, this journey has come to an end.”

Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams added: “It has been a pleasure to work with Susie over the years and see her develop as a driver within the team.

“Her feedback and knowledge of the car has been an important part our recent development and we will be sorry to see her go.

“We want to thank her for all her efforts and wish her the very best for her future endeavours.”

Wolff’s last professional outing will come at the Race of Champions in London at the end of the month.

Published: Wednesday 4th November 2015 by The News Editor

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