Formula 1 announced Susie Wolff as the Managing Director of the new F1 Academy category, an all-female driver series featuring five teams, 15 drivers and 21 races at a host of F1 tracks, with an especially exciting calendar for its inaugural season, which will begin in April, 2023.
Wolff’s wealth of experience as a driver and a team leader makes her the perfect appointment for the role. Born in the Scottish resort town of Oban in 1982, Wolff started karting aged eight and climbed up the ranks to Formula Renault and Formula 3, but not before being named the best female kart driver in the world. A seven season spell racing in the DTM series followed, before Wolff became the development driver for the Williams Formula 1 team in 2014, with whom she made history by becoming the first woman in 22 years to drive in an F1 race weekend.
A test driver role at Williams followed in 2015, but in the November of that year Wolff announced on the BBC that she was retiring from F1, stating that she felt that she had gone as far as she could go, but expressed intentions to help other women in motorsport.
A year later, she followed through on those ambitions and co-founded the non-profit Dare to be Different organisation, a call to action aimed at driving female talent by inspiring the next generation and increasing female participation in all levels and aspects of the sport. Wolff was honoured with an MBE for services to women in sport in 2017, before taking on the role of Team Principal at Monaco based Formula E team Venturi Racing in 2018.
It was with Wolff in charge that the Monegasque outfit enjoyed their most successful season yet in 2021, after which she was promoted to the CEO position. Wolff announced her departure from Venturi in 2022, closing one chapter, but opening the door to a new challenge with a meaningful mission.
As F1 Academy Managing Director, Wolff will be spearheading the development of female motorsport talent. Welcoming the announcement, F1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali said: “It is fantastic news that Susie Wolff is joining the F1 Academy as Managing Director. Susie is an incredible person who understands what it takes to reach the highest levels of motorsport, both as a driver and team principal.”
Wolf said “The F1 Academy presents an opportunity to promote genuine change in our industry by creating the best possible structure to find and nurture female talent on their journey to the elite levels of motorsport, both on and off the racetrack. There is a lot of work to be done but there is also a clear determination to get this right. In doing so, I believe the F1 Academy can represent something beyond racing.” adding that the academy “can inspire women around the world to follow their dreams and realise that with talent, passion and determination, there is no limit to what they can achieve.”
At each step of her trailblazing career, Wolff will have seen the challenge facing aspiring female racers and thus her advice will be invaluable to inspiring female talent, while her managerial experience with her own organisation and at the top of a Formula E team will only bolster her expertise.
While not leading the pack in their respective fields, Wolff enjoys living in Monaco with her husband, Mercedes-AMG team principal Toto Wolff and their son, Jack.
Featured image courtesy of Venturi Racing: Susie Wolff