British driver Susie Wolff will end the two-decade wait for a female driver to get behind the wheel at a Formula One race weekend when she takes to the track at this year’s British Grand Prix.
By Phil DuncanThe 31-year-old's new expanded role with Williams will see her participate in practice sessions at Silverstone and the German Grand Prix - both in July - as well as an in-season test for the British team.It means Wolff, who joined the Grove-based outfit in 2012, will become the first female racer to take part in a grand prix weekend since Italian driver Giovanna Amati during qualifying for the 1992 Brazilian Grand Prix.'I'm grateful for the support and belief Williams continue to show in me and 2014 promises to be a very important milestone in my career,' said Wolff, who hails from Scotland and is married to Mercedes chief Toto Wolff.'My responsibilities within the team have steadily increased as I have proved myself, culminating in the opportunity to test the car at Silverstone and conduct straight line aero tests last season.'Competing in two FP1 sessions, alongside an additional full test day this season will be a big step and I am looking forward to the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the FW36 on a Grand Prix weekend.'It's a challenge that I will relish and it will be a great chance for me to continue assisting the team.'Pat Symonds, the team's chief technical officer, added: 'Susie has become a valued member of our driver line up and 2014 will see her take on more responsibilities as we seek to make a strong step forward in performance.'Susie has demonstrated a natural talent for developing a car and providing strong feedback and these sort of characteristics will be key this season as teams seek to quickly understand and refine the radically overhauled 2014 cars.'Earlier this year, Sauber announced the acquisition of female driver Simona De Silvestro - winner of the Indy 500 'Rookie of the Year' award in her first campaign - to their team with the intention of getting her behind the wheel of their Grand Prix car in 2015.Lella Lombardi was the last female driver to start a Formula One grand prix in 1976, and she remains the only female to record a top-six finish in the sport.Maria de Villota was a test driver for Marussia prior to a serious accident in 2012. The long-term effects of the crash are believed to have contributed to the Spaniard's death in October last year.Wolff during testing for Williams at Silverstone, the home of the British Grand Prix- PHOTO BY: PA Archive/Press Association Images