Wolff: No special treatment because I’m a woman

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Susie Wolff has questioned just why she has been such a focus for the media across the course of this weekend given that she is simply doing something very routine and normal in F1.

Wolff deputized for Valtteri Bottas at Williams during FP1, just as Giedo van der Garde, Robin Frijns and Daniel Juncadella did at their respective teams. However, the fact that Wolff today became the first woman in 22 years to take part in an official F1 session has attracted a lot of attention.

That said, many of the other drivers on the grid were not so bothered by it, and Wolff was pleased by this.

“I think it’s a good thing because, you know, I think we all arrived here and everybody was like why is everyone making a fuss about you driving?” she explained to the media on Friday at Silverstone. “Felipe Nasr’s driven and nobody made a fuss, and we all were quite surprised by the big commotion around it, and I think we could see that as a positive.

“For Felipe and Valtteri, it was like ‘we’re just driving, what’s the big deal?’. So I think for the other drivers not to have a big issue with it can also be something positive because they don’t see it as being something that unusual really.”

Wolff also explained how she does not feel that she has been held back despite being a woman in a predominantly male sport, and has earned her place at Williams on merit.

“No, I think initially, even when I joined the Mercedes team for DTM, of course you have to come in and have to earn your respect, but every young driver has to do that,” she said. “I think as long as you keep your head down, work hard and prove your worth, you’re accepted.

“And as soon as you’re accepted, it never comes into question any more, and I have a very good relationship with Felipe and Valtteri, and everyone within the team, and I never feel like I’m treated differently than Felipe and Valtteri are.”

Sadly, Wolff’s session did not go to plan. She completed just four installation laps before an engine failure forced her to park up the FW36 car at the side of the track. Her next chance to drive the FW36 will come during practice for the German Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

Many had questioned Wolff’s suitability for the reserve role given her underwhelming form in DTM. Therefore, she will have to prove herself once again at Hockenheim, although she has already answered many of her critics at the last in-season test in Spain two months ago.

Lauda labels Verstappen USGP penalty ‘the worst I’ve ever seen’

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Mercedes Formula 1 non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has called the FIA stewards’ decision to penalize Max Verstappen for his last-lap pass on Kimi Raikkonen in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix as “the worst I’ve ever seen”.

Verstappen charged from 16th on the grid to take third place from Raikkonen on the last lap after a stunning fight through the field, completing the fightback with a bold pass in the final sector.

However, the stewards stripped Verstappen of P3 after he appeared to put all four wheels off the circuit when riding the kerb to pass Raikkonen, causing outcry in the F1 community.

Speaking to reporters after the race in Austin, Lauda condemned the stewards’ decision, slamming them for interfering in the late fight.

“We had meetings at the start of the year to see how far stewards should go in decisions during a race because it always says ‘under investigation’,” Lauda said, as quoted by Crash.net.

“So we complained about that and we agreed all together that the stewards would not interfere – very simple.

“If the driver goes over another and upside down, only then would they weigh in. That was at the beginning of last year.

“For six months it was OK, but this decision was the worst I’ve ever seen. He did nothing wrong.”

Lauda said F1 team bosses would discuss stewarding at the next Strategy Group meeting, which is due to be held in the next two weeks.

“These are racing drivers. We are not on the normal roads and it is ridiculous to destroy the sport with these kind of decisions,” Lauda said.

“At the next strategy meeting, we will put it back on the agenda and start all over again, because we cannot do that.

“They go too far and interfere and there was nothing to interfere with. It was normal overtaking.”