Susie Wolff, 32, is an inspiration to women out there, for getting as far as she is today in the harsh, cut-throat environment of Formula 1. The development driver for the Williams Martini Racing team drove in the free practice sessions of two Grand Prix races this year, making her the fist woman in 22 years to drive on a Formula 1 race weekend.
Has anyone ever told you that women don’t belong in the driver’s seat?
Yes, many times, but I am a very determined person and if I had listened to what everyone said about me or to me over the years, I would never have come this far. I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I am a great believer that you will never have everyone for you, as there will always be those against you. Thus it’s up to me to go out there and prove them wrong because actions speak louder than words. Performing on the track is more important to me than trying to discuss with them or prove them right verbally.
How do you think your success as a driver has been paving the way for other aspiring women?
For women who fid me an inspiration, I always say, well, wait. I still have so much more I want to achieve and I haven’t achieved everything that I said I would – I still have a long way to go. At this point of my career, I still have to work so
hard to stay in F1 and to be frank, I don’t really have the capacity for other things. However, without a doubt when my racing career is over, I will see what possibilities there are. I support a young girl in karting now and I also look out for other young women coming through the ranks. I try to be as supportive as I can but it’s already a big job trying to stay here. I work together with Michèle Mouton on the FIA’s Women & Motor Sport Commission and we are aware of the
situation and trying to do something positive, but it’s just about fiding the capacity and the right time to do it.
Have you thought about starting your own family?
Yes, but maybe in the future. I am a great believer of living in the moment and I have my dream job now so I am very, very happy and grateful for the position I am in now. Maybe in a few years it will be time to think about a family but right now, no.
Do you have to be very careful with your diet when preparing for a race?
We always have to watch what we eat because we can never put diesel in a petrol car and expect it to run. Likewise, if you are expected to train hard and perform at the top level, you can’t feed yourself rubbish because you won’t perform at the right level. I think woman these days are under so much pressure on what they eat, how much to train and how they look. Ultimately, it’s about fiding what’s right for you. Life is to be enjoyed; food is there to be enjoyed so just do
everything in moderation. My husband won’t be very happy if I’m there picking at my food all time or only eating salads. It’s about being sensible and I eat for fuel – that means eating good food so you will have proper energy.
What are some of your favourite foods?
Chocolates, particularly those red Lindt balls. Honestly my favourite food is Asian food – the spicier the better! However, I nearly choked last night on a really spicy bowl of noodles.
What is the idea of a perfect day for you?
Waking up late with my husband and having breakfast made for us (I hate cooking, ssshh!), then doing things outdoors like sports, eating nice food, doing a bit of shopping or watching a movie like any normal couple away from the track. We go pretty well unnoticed away from the race track so we don’t have any privacy issues.
What are some of your pet peeves?
I really, really get annoyed by people who are impolite. I don’t care if you are the cleaner of the toilet or you own the block of toilets, everyone deserves to be treated in a respectful way. I really, really hate when I see someone being rude to someone else or not giving them the right respect. I sometimes get myself into situations because I step in and make a point and say “Hey this is not how you treat someone”. I admit I can get impatient and I need to get things done immediately; I don’t like traffic or long queues, but apart from these, I’m generally a happy person!