SILVERSTONE, ENGLAND (AP) - Showing no signs of exhaustion despite completing the equivalent of almost two grand prix races, Susie Wolff had one final job in the Silverstone heat on Friday.
Fresh from her full Formula One test debut, the British driver wanted to dispel any suggestions that she hadn’t earned her position at Williams.
As a development driver, it is Wolff’s job to convince the team she can cut it on the track. And it has nothing to do with her gender.
Completing 89 laps of the British Grand Prix circuit was her first big chance to do so on the road to becoming the first female driver on the F1 grid in almost 40 years.
What Wolff won’t do is use that landmark to her advantage.
“I’ve been asked that I seem very reluctant to play the `female card,’” the 30-year-old Scot said. “But ultimately a race team is only going to put the best driver they can in their race car.”
“If that has kind of more meaning because I am female, then of course I’ll use that to my advantage,” she added. “But I am not going to play that card as a way of `Give me the right now because I am a girl.’”
No, Wolff wants to be judged on her driving ability and speed.
To make the F1 grid, she would need to gain a “super license” which was reported last year to cost 10,000 euros plus 1,000 euros for each subsequent world championship point.
“It’s so bloody expensive,” Wolff said.
Surely her husband would pay for it, inquired one journalist.
That raised the issue of Toto Wolff, the former executive director of Williams, who recently left to join rival Mercedes as motorsport director.
“I pay for my own racing stuff,” she stressed, before tackling the issue head on: “There are so many questions and people saying I’m only where I am because of him.
“Make no qualms: he supports me a lot. I’m incredibly lucky to have him as a husband, because there’s not many guys who would support their wives going into Formula One … but ultimately, the team had the decision about who was driving today. He had nothing to do with that and he just wanted to come as a husband not the position he is in.”
In fact, Toto Wolff was prevented from carrying out his professional duties at Silverstone on Friday because Mercedes was banned from the session after being reprimanded for holding unsanctioned testing in May.