Wolff: I’m not a marketing scheme for Williams

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Susie Wolff has hit back at critics claiming that she is a “marketing scheme” for Williams because she is a woman.

The Scot became the first woman in 22 years to take part in an official grand prix weekend session earlier this year, taking part in practice for the British and German Grands Prix. At Hockenheim, she put in a very impressive display, finishing just two-tenths of a second shy of full-time driver Felipe Massa’s lap time.

Although Wolff’s future in F1 is not yet clear, she believes that Williams is the right place for her to be.

“So many people said that this is just a marketing scheme, but Sir Frank Williams [the team owner] would never put someone in his car if he didn’t believe that they are good enough,” Wolff told the official F1 website. “Frank came up to me after the sessions and said that he was really happy with my performance.

“I know when I’m not good enough I’m out, because my performance counts more than my gender does. They gave me the chance and we can be proud that we have achieved something special together.”

Wolff was also happy to give some advice to any younger women looking to make a career in motorsport.

“Go for it!” was her immediate answer. “Don’t let anything stop you from going for it. The good things in life are always hard to get, but if you really want it you will succeed no matter how many tough days there are along the road.

“Ride the wave in a world that is changing for the advantage of women.”

Wolff is not set to take part in any more practice sessions this season, but should be in the frame for more running with Williams in 2015 following a successful programme this year.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”