Formula One’s only female driver Susie Wolff has said her first day in the 2014 Williams FW36 on the final day of testing in Barcelona on Wednesday was ‘a steep learning curve’ as she prepares to take part in her first official F1 sessions in free practice at Silverstone and Hockenheim this summer.
Wolff will become the first female to drive in a timed session since Giovanna Amati failed to qualify for the 1992 Brazilian Grand Prix, and yesterday’s test was part of that build-up.
“I had a programme to run through,” said Wolff.
“It was a difficult start to the day. It is a different car to drive than last year. It was a steep learning curve. The afternoon ran much better. The team did a really good job preparing me and we got the most from the day,” the Williams development driver said. That was the most important thing because we need to be ready.”
Wolff ended the day a creditable 5th place on the timesheets on the second day of testing, with Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado setting the pace and completing 102 laps across the session; the same amount as Mercedes man Nico Rosberg who trialled a new ‘trumpet’ exhaust designed to amplify the engine note of the new V6 turbos. The German claimed in the evening the device had failed to work as expected.
Gearbox issues blunted Sebastian Vettel’s test program, while similar issues brought Marussia and Jules Bianchi down to earth after topping the times on Tuesday. Stoffel Vandoorne got his first taste of F1 machinery when he took over McLaren driving duties from Jenson Button, but was almost four seconds off the pace of Maldonado after completing 136 laps.
CLASSIFICATION – Barcelona Testing – 14th May 2014