Susie Wolff de­cides to hang up her hel­met

‘I dared to be dif­fer­ent, I want to in­spire oth­ers to do the same’

The Oban Times - - Sport -

OBAN’S Susie Wolff has said it is time to ex­plore new chal­lenges fol­low­ing her shock de­ci­sion last week to quit For­mula 1.

Susie, 32, was ap­pointed devel­op­ment driver for Wil­liams F1 in 2012, af­ter rac­ing for seven years in the Ger­man Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onships. She was pro­moted to of­fi­cial test driver in 2015.

First woman This cul­mi­nated in her driv­ing at the Bri­tish and Ger­man Grand Prix along­side team mate Felipe Massa, be­com­ing the first woman driver to do so since 1992.

Wil­liams deputy team prin­ci­pal Claire Wil­liams said: ‘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 of our re­cent devel­op­ment and we will be sorry to see her go.

Susie will take part in what will be her last race on Novem­ber 20 and 21 for the Race of Cham­pi­ons in Lon­don’s Olympic sta­dium, where she will race for Scot­land with former F1 driver and BBC F1 com­men­ta­tor David Coulthard.

Writ­ing for the Huff­in­g­ton Post, the Oban­ite, who now lives in Switzer­land with her hus­band Toto Wolff, who is head of world cham­pion Mercedes F1 team, said: ‘My gut feel­ing tells me it is time to move on. It’s time to ex­plore new chal­lenges and push my­self in new en­vi­ron­ments.

‘As a sports per­son it is al­ways dif­fi­cult to know when to stop, but for me, this jour­ney has come to an end.’

Susie started rac­ing karts at the age of eight with the en­cour­age­ment of her fam­ily, who own mo­tor­cy­cle busi­ness Stod­darts of Oban.

She con­tin­ued: ‘I was brought up by bril­liant par­ents who never once made me think mo­tor sport was rather for boys, that I was choos­ing a path un­usual for a girl.

‘They in­stilled in me the be­lief that I could achieve any­thing if I was de­ter­mined and worked hard enough.’

Susie says she wants to try to help the next gen­er­a­tion of women make it in mo­tor­sport.

‘I want to give some­thing back,’ she said, as she pre­pares to link up with the Mo­tor Sports As­so­ci­a­tion, the UK mo­tor­sport au­thor­ity.

‘ We will launch a new ini­tia­tive aimed at cel­e­brat­ing the woman suc­ceed­ing in mo­tor­sport on and off the track now, plus high­light­ing to the next gen­er­a­tion that mo­tor­sport is an op­tion for them.

‘I dared to be dif­fer­ent, I want to in­spire oth­ers to do the same.’

OFF TO THE RACES: Susie stand­ing next to her Wil­liams F1 rac­ing car.

FAM­ILY: Susie (sec­ond from the right), with her mum Sally, brother

David and dad John.

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