Female F1 racer a certainty, says Toto Wolff

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff is married to Williams test driver Susie Wolff
But I won’t sign up my wife Susie, he tells Christian Sylt and Katy Fairman

FORMULA One will eventually get a female driver according to Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, whose wife Susie is the only woman racing in the sport as development driver for Williams.

“Somebody will do it,” he said. “Can you imagine the media exposure somebody would get from it? Every single camera would be pointing at the girl in the car.”

Susie Wolff became the first woman in 22 years to take part in an F1 weekend when she drove in a practice session at last year’s British Grand Prix. It was cut short due to an engine failure but her second outing in Germany two weeks later was more impressive. Her fastest lap was just 0.2 seconds slower than that of Williams driver, Felipe Massa, while seven others finished behind her.

“You must not forget that not many female drivers are capable of driving a F1 car and today giving somebody time in the race car is a risk because of the testing limits,” he added. “Williams has taken the risk giving Susie some time in the car but not enough risk to put her in a race, which is unfortunate.”

Toto says it would be “impossible to have my wife driving for me because it would be a conflict of interests. We have our two drivers. Neither she nor I would want it.”

It is little wonder that he does not want to upset the status quo as Britain’s Lewis Hamilton steered Mercedes to the 2014 F1 title and is on track to win another this year.

Wolff admits that “in terms of the spectacle, a team winning over a long period is definitely detrimental. We have seen that with the six years at Ferrari in the early 2000s. We have seen that with Red Bull four years in a row. So it is the second year for us. It doesn’t help the show, that’s clear.”

But he added: “I have only one hat on and that is trying to develop the team, making a sustainable frontrunner and a race winning team. That’s the target because you won’t win the championship every year. You need to build a sustainable organisation which is dynamic, reinvents itself and is a competitive part of the championship.”