Former F1 Racer Loses Driver's License Over Speeding

Susie Wolff was nabbed doing 35 mph in a 30 mph zone.

DIMITAR DILKOFF | AFP/Getty Images

Admit it or not, five over the speed limit is the default driving setting for most of us. Cars are safer and more capable than they were when many of these limits were determined, the police tend to ignore it, and often keeping up with the flow of traffic is safer than following the letter of the law. But none of those excuses appear to fly across the pond in England, where former F1 driver and current Mercedes brand ambassador Susie Wolff had her license pulled on Friday for six months after losing a final appeal. The crime? Five over.

Wolff, who raced for Williams F1 from 2012 to 2015, was stopped in East Hanney, Oxfordshire (presumably after some tea and crumpets) for having the gall to go 35 mph in a 30 zone. To be fair, she did have nine points on her license already thanks to two other speeding tickets. But it's hard to imagine how painful it must be to be a professional racer and get penalized so severely for such a low-speed offense.

She was sentenced in November, but the ban was suspended pending appeal. Wolff called it a "hugely embarrassing situation" and said losing her license would affect her ability to work with both Mercedes and her charity, Dare to be Different.

"I'm not a girl racer, I save my speed for the race track," she told the court according to the BBC

The court apparently disagreed, upholding the driving ban on Friday and issuing fines totaling over $1,000 and calling the decision a "salutary lesson" - in other words, take the medicine. 

So life in the UK for auto enthusiasts isn't all hot hatches and stick shifts and Euro-exclusive estates - this draconian enforcement of speed limits, along with insanely high gas prices and taxes, sounds genuinely miserable.