Susie Wolff did end F1’s 22 year wait for a female driver to take part in a grand prix weekend session today, but her practice lasted just 20 minutes after her car was hit with a problem.
Wolff has worked with Williams as a test driver for over two years, and was given the call-up for a practice run-out this weekend at Silverstone. This morning, she became the first woman since Giovanna Amati in 1992 to take part in an official F1 session, and duly went out for her installation laps at the beginning of the session.
However, before she got the chance to put in a quick flying lap, her Williams car ground to a halt just past pit exit, thus bringing her session to an early end. After 22 years, her bow lasted less than 22 minutes.
Wolff reported a loss of oil pressure over the team radio, and the team quickly set about investigating the issue, which was later determined to have been an engine-related failure.
Despite the problem, she remained in good spirits, and was seen laughing and joking with team owner Sir Frank Williams as the session continued.
On the other side of the garage, the situation was even worse as Felipe Massa crashed his car just five minutes after Wolff’s stoppage. Coming out of Stowe, he ran wide and spun into the barriers in a repeat of his faux pas during practice last year. The team will be working hard to fix the car ahead of FP2 later today.
Wolff will get another chance to test the Williams during practice for the German Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.