As we near the end of 2015, we take a look back at some of the best – and worst – F1 moments making the headlines over the last twelve months…
Women in F1
Rightly or wrongly, F1 has never been the kindest arena for the fairer sex, with greater emphasis on what they can bring to the sport off the track rather than on it.
That has not stopped female drivers from trying to crack the top flight, inspired by the likes of Lella Lombardi and not put off by the 'tried and failed' stories of aspirants in between. Unfortunately, there are those that appear to have been given a role on the driving side because of what else they can bring to the team, while others with proven pedigree get overlooked when it comes to making a bigger contribution.
Just such a contradiction occurred this season as GP3 Series backmarker Carmen Jordan somehow became a Lotus development driver, while tried and trusted Susie Wolff was passed over for a full-time reserve role at Williams in favour of 2014 GP3 champion Alex Lynn and, subsequently, former Force India and Sauber incumbent Adrian Sutil.
Ironically, while Wolff did at least get out in a car on F1 weekends, running Friday practice sessions at several races to become the first female driver to take part in a grand prix meeting for 20 years, Jorda gained more TV time as pit-lane cameras sought her out to brighten up the quieter moments between action on track…
First published: 3rd March 2015
Williams outlines Wolff driver programme
Susie Wolff will be handed a second full day of testing in the Williams FW37 after the Austrian Grand Prix as well as two Free Practice 1 sessions at the Spanish and British Grand Prix for the upcoming Formula 1 season.
The Scottish driver spent a full day in the car during the pre-season tests at the Circuit de Catalunya and Williams has outlined her full 2015 schedule as its test driver. Wolff had an eventful test day in Barcelona when she was hit by Felipe Nasr's Sauber, hampering her running time.
She will also complete an expansive programme working in the team's simulator back at its factory to help develop the FW37.
This season's programme follows Wolff's 2014 experience when she drove the FW36 for two FP1s as well as standing in as test driver.
“Our focus this year is to build on the success of 2014 - I've been training hard all winter and I am physically in the best shape I've ever been, so I am ready for the season ahead,” Wolff said. “As official test driver I will have additional time in the FW37 and by correlating this with my work in the simulator, the team can ensure we are getting the best from the car and check how updates are performing.
“All of us drivers on the Williams roster have been working closely together on this and we are ready to give everything we can to the 2015 season.”
Alex Lynn will continue in his role as Williams' reserve driver as he is eligible for a FIA super licence. The GP3 champion has also entered the GP2 series with DAMS.
Deputy team principal Claire Williams says she is satisfied with Wolff's work from 2014 and see the continuity of working with the Scottish driver as key in maintaining the development of the car.
“Last season Susie impressed with her performances during FP1 at Silverstone and Hockenheim and we were keen to give her another chance to test in 2015,” Williams said. “She knew the FW36 well and with the FW37 being a gradual evolution, we were keen to utilise this knowledge and get her in the car to help assess and validate the approaches we have taken.”
UPDATE: Despite making a positive contribution to Williams' F1 weekends, appearing at a second Race of Champions alongside fellow Scot David Coulthard and getting to spar verbally with husband – and Mercedes team boss – Toto over the Silver Arrows' tactics, Mrs Wolff ultimately decided to call time on her F1 aspirations, and her motorsport career in general, at the tender age of 32. Ms Jorda's plans for 2016 remain unclear...
Carmen Jorda announced as Lotus F1 development driver
Wolff: I know what I am capable of
Susie Wolff retires from motorsport