It is sad to announce this morning that Williams test driver Susie Wolff has announced that she will retire from motorsport at the end of the season.
Wolff was appointed Williams development driver in 2012, but she had to wait until the 2014 season before she got a taste of the official Formula 1 action.
She became the first female to take part in a grand prix weekend for two decades when she was handed FP1 duties at the 2014 British Grand Prix and was promoted to test driver for the 2015 campaign, which resulted in a few more Friday outings .
However, in her interview to the Huffington Post today that her dream to secure a seat on the F1 grid “isn’t going to happen”. Wolff stated the following:-
‘I got so close and I fought hard. But my gut feeling tells me it is time to move on to explore new challenges.’
In an official statement on the Williams website, Wolff said the following about her retirement:-
‘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 1 car.
‘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.’
In her own statement to the media this morning Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams paid tribute to Wolff, who will quit after the Race Of Champions in London at the end of November. Williams said the following:-
‘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. We will of course be supporting both Susie and Felipe [Massa] at the Race of Champions, and hope Susie has a great weekend to mark the last time we see her race.’
It is a sad day for motorsport and also for women in the sport too with the announcement that Wolff is retiring at the end of the year. During her career, she has shown that she is more than capable of getting to F1 and that she is a talented racing driver who has battled through a lot to get to the position that the Williams team have given her.
Alongside this, she has also been heavily involved in promoting other women to compete in motorsport, will always be a role model for women who are still racing in the sport and she has the respect of everyone in the sport for what she has contributed and achieved in her career. It is a real shame that Wolff will not be racing anymore, but we have to respect her decision and I wish her the best of luck for her future. She will be missed.