Wolff feeling ‘close but far away’ to F1 race seat

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MONTMELO – Susie Wolff has explained how she feels both very close and very far away to a full-time seat in Formula 1 following her most recent run-out for Williams during practice for the Spanish Grand Prix on Friday.

In 2014, Wolff became the first female driver in 22 years to take part in a race weekend as she completed running for Williams in practice sessions at Silverstone and Hockenheim.

Despite being promoted to the role of test driver for 2015, Wolff was not in contention to replace Valtteri Bottas when he sustained a back injury in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix earlier this year.

However, she put this disappointment behind her to focus on her first outing of the season in Spain on Friday, where she finished 14th out of 20 runners with a respectable lap time.

“It’s great, everytime you go out, you learn so much,” she said. “It’s frustrating a little bit that I messed up my quickest lap. I had a moment at turn three, and that ultimately cost me two-tenths, which was a bit frustrating, but ultimately I just had to focus on consistency then because it was a nine lap run and there was quite a bit of data to get for the team.

“So overall, it was positive. Could have done some things better, quickest lap could have been better, but it’s always about trying to find that middle ground because the car has to come back in one piece. You can’t take any unnecessary risks out there.”

Wolff has been the leading female driver working within F1 for some time now, but remains realistic about her chances of becoming the first woman since Lella Lombardi in 1976 to start a grand prix.

“It’s very difficult in this environment,” Wolff said. “Like we know, things can change very quickly, but I’m not somebody that lets my head get down.

“I’m completely realistic. Yes, I’m close, but I’m also very, very far away, I know that.

“But ultimately I was just so looking forward to being in a car this morning, because for me, that’s the best part of my job, out there and just driving. That’s the best part and that speaks more than a thousand words can.”

Wolff confirmed that she would be discussing her future with Williams following her next practice run-out at the British Grand Prix in July, and said that she would not continue if she did not think she was making progress or improving in the test role.

“For me, it’s about concentrating on the chances I have in the car, doing a good job first and foremost because that’s ultimately the main focus for me,” Wolff said.

“Then, let’s sit down and see what happens in the winter time. In the same respect, I’ve always said that if I cannot make progress and I cannot improve, I would be the first one to hang up my helmet.

“I’m not going to keep pushing hard if I don’t see any opportunities.”