Williams F1 team have handed development driver Susie Wolff an expanded role with the squad, while revealing that the wife of shareholder and former executive director Toto Wolff (now the Mercedes motorsport boss) would be first to try out the team’s new FW35, next month.
The Scottish-born 30-year-old, who raced in the German touring car championship (DTM) for seven seasons but scored only four points in total, will have an increased programme in the simulator this year along with more in-car testing, Williams said in a statement.
The team said, “Susie will be the first to get behind the wheel of the FW35 when she drives the car at Idiada next month.”
This would take place before the launch at the second pre-season test in Barcelona on 19 February. The team also confirmed that she will also do most of the team’s aero-testing.
‘’Susie has proved herself to be a valuable addition to our driver roster and her feedback during simulator sessions is second to none. As a result we will be stepping up her role this year and I’m looking forward to the progress we can make with Susie’s input in conjunction with that of Pastor and Valtteri,’’ announced technical director Mike Coughlan.
Wolff, who joined Williams in April 2012, said of her role, ‘‘I really enjoy my time working with Williams and feel very much at home here. Last year was a valuable experience and I certainly feel that I’ve developed a lot as a driver. Increasing my role this year will further this progression and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the FW35 for the first time next month. I’m showing that women can play a role at the top level of motorsport and would like to thank Sir Frank Williams and the whole of the technical team for the trust they continue to show in me.’’
Williams have Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado, a race winner last year, and Finnish rookie Valtteri Bottas as their drivers this season.
The team, winners of nine constructors’ titles between 1980 and 1997, finished eighth overall in 2012. (Reuters & Apex)
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