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Susie Wolff ready to make F1 history

Thu, 03 Jul 2014

SUSIE WOLFF is ready to make Formula One history on Friday, although is eager to play down its apparent significance.

It has been 22 years since a woman took part in a grand prix weekend, with Italian Giovanna Amati failing to qualify in the opening three races of the 1992 campaign in a woeful Brabham before being replaced by a promising young Briton at the time - Damon Hill.

On Friday, in her role as Williams development driver, 31-year-old Wolff will compete in Friday's first practice session for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, taking over the wheel from Valtteri Bottas.

The occasion naturally represents a proud moment for the Scot, who has already acquitted herself well in a number of test sessions for the team.

Wolff, though, merely sees Friday as an extension of her experience in her ongoing bid to acquire a full-time race seat.

Speaking to Press Association Sport, Wolff said: "Although it's been a long time since a female has been part of a race weekend, I don't see it as significant from that perspective.

"For me it will simply be a case of doing a good job for the team and showing what I can do out there.

"My big dream, of course, is to start an F1 race, but this I see as the next natural step on my F1 journey.

"I'm focused on doing a good job, being prepared, not taking any risks, and bringing the car back in one piece for Valtteri.

"I did a good young driver test last year that led to more this year, the Barcelona test day (in May) went well, and now I have to do a solid job.

"For me as a racing driver, aside from my gender, it is a big day, a great chance.

"Based on the team's last result in Austria (with Bottas third and Felipe Massa fourth) the car is quick, so I think I've a pretty good car to drive at Silverstone.

"This is a big chance, a really good opportunity, without a doubt."

As you would expect, the excitement is at least building for Wolff, wife of Mercedes motorsport boss Toto.

"There are so many things happening that day," added Wolff

"It's the 60th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport (who are power unit suppliers to Williams), it's the 50th grand prix at Silverstone, and I'm driving for Williams at my home race, so it doesn't get much better than that to be honest."

With a likely 70,000 crowd anticipated on Friday Wolff can expect a considerable amount of support from the grandstands, not that she feels she will have the chance to take it in.

"I honestly don't think I'm going to have the capacity to look at the people in the stands when I'm driving out there," said Wolff, who will also drive in FP1 at the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim in a fortnight's time.

"I'm lucky I'll have a lot of time over the rest of the weekend to enjoy the atmosphere and let it sink in.

"I'll be concentrating on my run plan, which will be the same as Valtteri if he were in the car.

"It won't be anything special or anything done for me just to make me look good.

"It will be the run plan in place anyway, and it is important I do that, and in a good way to ensure I'm not detrimental to Valtteri's race weekend."

By Ian Parkes, Press Association