Williams has announced the signing of DTM racer Susie Wolff as one of its development drivers for the 2012 F1 season.
Wolff, formally known as Susie Stoddart before her marriage to current Williams shareholder Toto Wolff, started her career in single-seaters and competed in both Formula Renault and Formula Three before switching to the DTM with Mercedes back in 2006.
The Scottish driver, who will remain with the Persson Motorsport team for what will be her seventh season in the DTM this year, is set to carry out work in Williams' simulator with a full track test planned for later in the year.
“Susie is a talented, successful and highly professional racing driver who competes in one of the world's most fiercely-contested racing series,” Williams team boss Frank Williams said. “Susie will join Williams as a Development Driver, in which capacity she will assist us with the development of our simulator and other technical challenges. Susie will also undertake some aerodynamic testing of the FW34 and a full track test in the coming months. Susie will also attend a number of races with us.
“I should add that, as Susie is married to Toto Wolff, a Director of Williams, her appointment was carefully considered and then approved by the Board, with Toto recusing himself from the process.”
Wolff herself was delighted with the announcement of her involvement with the F1 team.
“I would like to thank Sir Frank for giving me this opportunity both on and off the track,” she said. “I must also thank Mercedes Benz AMG and HWA for supporting me to take up this new experience with Williams. Formula One is the ultimate challenge for any racing driver and it offers me the chance both to apply and to improve the skills I have developed racing in DTM.
“In return I shall be offering some of my own technical insight and experience – coming from a different discipline – and helping the team engage with its partners. I hope also to demonstrate that women can play a role at the highest levels of motorsport and I shall be working closely with the team on its social responsibility programme in the areas of education and road safety.”
F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone also welcomed Wolff's appointment as good news for the sport.
“If Susie is as quick in a car as she looks good out of a car then she will be a massive asset to any team and on top of that she is very intelligent,” he said. “I am really looking forward to having her in Formula One.”