<
>

Female F1 driver unlikely to happen soon - Susie Wolff

Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Susie Wolff does not think Formula One will have a female race driver any time soon.

Wolff announced her retirement this week after acknowledging her chances of a senior drive were slim to none. She became the first woman to drive in Formula One in 20 years at the 2014 British Grand Prix, where she took place in practice, but saw her opportunities beyond that severely limited.

Despite the example she has set for young girls rising through the ranks Wolff thinks it will be a long time before the sport has a female driver in a race seat.

"My progression into Formula One came to represent so much more than a racing driver simply trying to reach the pinnacle of the sport," wrote Wolff in her Huffington Post blog. "It was also the hope that finally there may again be a female on the starting grid. I rode the wave, was energized 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."

Wolff has admitted reality sunk in earlier this year when Williams signed Adrian Sutil as injury reserve for Valtteri Bottas in Melbourne, despite the fact she was there with the team as official test driver.

"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."

Giovanna Amati was the last female driver to have competed in Formula One, though the Italian did not qualify for the three races she entered with Brabham in 1992. Lella Lombardi remains the only woman to have scored a point in Formula One, which she did after finishing sixth at the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix.