Susie Wolff, Formula 1’s Only Female Driver, Announces Retirement

Sport’s best hope for a woman Grand Prix starter hangs up the helmet citing lack of opportunity.

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Susie Wolff can drive. The 32-year-old Scot has spent two decades climbing the motorsports ladder, from karting to German touring cars, then into Formula 1. For the past three seasons, she’s been a test driver for Williams, the premier female driver in racing’s premier series; she drove in practice before last year’s British Grand Prix, the first woman to do so in more than two decades. But, citing lack of opportunity, Wolff has announced that she will retire at the end of this year.

“My goal was to get on to the starting grid and that didn't look achievable,” she tells the BBC. “There was very little opportunity to carry on… I always said that as soon as I couldn't get any further I would stop and that time has come."

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Wolff added that her decision was influenced by Williams’ benching her at last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix after the team’s starting driver, Valtteri Bottas, was injured. Her final appearance as a racing driver will be at the Race of Champions in England later this month.

No female has started a F1 Grand Prix since 1992, when Giovanna Amati drove three races for Brabham. The Sauber team made news by singing Simona de Silvestro last year, but she is listed as an “affiliated driver.” F1’s best hope for a female on the starting grid now lands squarely on Carmen Jordá, the 27-year-old Spaniard who inked a deal as a development driver with Lotus in February.