A Woman in a Man's world - Dare to be Different
Being a motorsport fan as a woman, can spark some questionable remarks as to your reasons for following the sport, questioning your legitimacy of being a fan.
As a woman how can you understand motorsport to enjoy it? You only follow it as you think the drivers are good looking! How can you possibly understand the technical side of things such as how the car runs? You only follow it to fit in with the men in your life.
These remarks couldn’t be further from the truth, having grown up around motorsport, watching F1 and Top Gear with my dad week in and out as a child. Spending endless weekends tweaking with engines and understanding how things work, helping my dad bleed brakes on his countless cars – forever hearing “up!, down!”. October only meaning one other thing then rugby, the Jersey Rally, which is now spent supporting my fiancé and hoping he makes it to the end safely – bated breath all weekend!
Given all of this – motorsport is still seen as “Man’s World” which women don’t understand. So as we’ve been celebrating international women’s day this week – there was one stand out woman who inspires me – Susie Wolff.
For those who don’t know Susie Wolff, she is a British former professional racing driver and current managing director of F1 Academy, also known as Toto Wolff’s wife – the team principle of F1 Team Mercedes AMG Petronas. Susie made history by becoming the first woman to take part in a Formula One race weekend in 22 years, as well as working her way through the ranks of Formula Renault and Formula Three. Susie became a development driver for Williams Formula One team and then progressed to be a test driver.
Most recently Susie has been appointed the managing director of F1 Academy, a newly launched all female racing series, leading the way for woman to have an equal opportunity into Formula One. All this whilst being married to a team principal and CEO of one of the most well-known Formula One teams. She has not sat in his shadow given his large presence within the sport – she has broken the mold and is paving the world for women in the motorsport world.
Susie is leading by example that women do belong in that world. There are many unsung heroes in the motorsport industry who are women –strategists, engineers, mechanics, marshals – right down to those like me who bleed the brakes and provide the lunches in the pits for the events their partners attend.
In the words of the initiative founded by Susie, Dare To Be Different – Break the mold
It's not a gender thing. You can pick anyone off the street, and it depends on his or her own character how they can drive a car. Susie Wolff