January 5, 2023
Aside from sharing the same birthday with her, I have a sentimental point for Susie Wolff. With a wealth of experience, Susie totally deserved a fruitful and thriving career in Formula 1, only to turn her racing career into a managerial one. While serenading Susie Wolff, it’s important to acknowledge the subtleties that have given her an incredible career but no secure place in Formula 1.
Susie is a former British racing driver with an automotive background; Her parents owned a motorcycle shop while her father participated in motorcycle racing during her childhood. Susie started karting at a young age and began to build her motorsport career in the UK, eventually qualifying in leagues such as; Formula Renault with Lewis Hamilton and Formula E before entering the DTM as a Mercedes-AMG driver.
She then signed for the Williams Formula One team as a development driver in 2012, giving up racing to secure a place in Formula One. While Susie no longer raced at the track, she became the first driver in 22 years participate in a Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend in the last 22 years until 2014. Susie undertook numerous testing and development duties and played a large role at Williams.
With what appeared to be a promising career, Susie announced in 2015 that she was retiring from motorsport and began taking on a role as an analyst at Channel 4 the following year. After a few years, Susie was signed as Team Principal of Venturi Racing in Formula E in 2018 and eventually became its CEO in 2021 until her retirement in 2022. Though it wasn’t that long ago that she Withdrawal from Formula E was announced Susie Wolff has since taken time off, but with speculation about her next steps.
Many dream of such a career leap. With a career as strong and distinguished as Susie’s, why isn’t she used more in motorsport? One has to wonder what else she could do to qualify as a racing driver or Formula 1 team boss. In the case of her racing career, Susie had taken the traditional route taken by many current Formula One drivers, with Lewis Hamilton driving alongside Susie in Formula Renault and then inevitably moving up into Formula One.
Having raced in Formula Renault, Formula E and DTM, taking on roles as a development driver should certainly earn a racing driver a spot in Formula 1. There are cases like that of Lando Norris, originally known as Test and reserve driver before entering Formula 1; This is an incredibly common practice in Formula 1 and should normally guarantee you a place in Formula 1.
There are, of course, many questions about why Susie never got the chance to formally compete in Formula 1, with her husband Toto Wolff even claiming that Williams did so never gave her the place to keep Felipe Massa. Despite Formula 1’s calls for diversity and women in motorsport, they seem to have missed the mark with Susie. While she may not have had the results that Norris had in her junior career, there are many who have made it to Formula 1 with far less to their names.
One can only dream of her impressive career as a manager. Effective immediately, with the Williams Formula 1 racing team no longer having a team principal, who better to fill the spot? Susie has an insane resume on and off the track, having previously managed a racing team as a team principal. Not just for diversity reasons, as some would argue is a hoax, Susie deserves this opportunity to showcase her talents in motorsport.
Rumors are circulating that Susie is set to become Williams team boss for the 2023 season, with little time left to make a decision. Under Susie’s management, Venturi enjoyed his most successful racing campaign to date in the Formula E World Championship, securing second place in the Drivers’ Championship. Had she been Team Principal for more than just a few years, Susie could probably have led the team to a championship win.
Susie already has ties to the Williams Formula 1 team, having been a test and development driver for years, and could be a great fit for the team. Of course, it’s possible that she doesn’t want to get back into motorsport, and she’s really done, but she should definitely be seriously considered for the role. With Toto apparently having no plans to slow downit might be difficult for both to work and compete against each other.
While many could argue for others to fill the role of Williams team principal, I truly believe that there is no other than Susie who could perform the task with such dignity. Being a Williams driver, an analyst, a team principal and so much more, what more could you ask for than willingness? Maybe Susie just doesn’t want to indulge again after all these years of only slightly missing the Formula 1 mark. It would be difficult to step in as a team principal after so many years of fighting for a seat in the sport you love.
Looking at Susie Wolff and how close she really came to Formula 1; We can only hope that Formula 1 learns from the missed opportunities. drivers like Jamie Chadwick and Susie deserve seats in Formula 1, they deserve exactly the same opportunities that their male counterparts so often overlook. Susie has had a prominent and dominant career that deserves her own title and not just the label “Toto Wolff’s wife”.