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Susie Wolff and the level playing field

DebeliDebeli Posts: 637
edited November 2015 in The cake stop
I do not follow F1 these days (and I'm not sure I really ever have much) but its ubiquity in the media means that we all glimpse a little snippet from time to time.

So, in the BBC Sport pages was (another) piece about Susie Wolff. About how she can't seem to get a race seat at Williams.

This is such a bizarre topic for the BBC to cover. There is certainly plenty of room for more opportunity, more coverage and more promotion for women in sports which have traditionally been seen as 'male'.

But to do a piece about Wolff seems unusual.

F1 is widely seen as the pinnacle (it may not be, but it is widely seen as such). There are about twenty race seats, many of which go to 'pay drivers'. With a few exceptions, all F1 drivers are at or near the pinnacle. They also tend (these days) to get into F1 quite young.

Mrs Wolff is 32. She has been racing since childhood but has not achieved many wins and has no championships. She has not raced open-wheel single-seaters for years. She is married to a part owner of Williams F1 (her employer).

She seems, if anything, to be an example of just how unlevel the playing field is in her favour, rather than the other way around. There must be faster drivers than her, both men and women, who would love to be where she is.

The story comes across as marketing fluff and a bit of placement by her management.

Carry on.....

Posts

  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,369
    Your observations are correct. She'd be nowhere without being married to who she is. Hasn't raced in a competitive single seat series for 9 years!
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  • VTechVTech Posts: 4,736
    She is fast, very fast.
    As above, most seats are paid for, it is getting crazy these days censored only maybe 6 are in seats through current merit.

    The reason younger people are involved is to do with genetics of human reactions, you are simply faster in your teens than you are in your 30's.
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  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,369
    VTech wrote:
    She is fast, very fast.
    As above, most seats are paid for, it is getting crazy these days censored only maybe 6 are in seats through current merit.

    The reason younger people are involved is to do with genetics of human reactions, you are simply faster in your teens than you are in your 30's.

    And so are plenty of more deserving cases who have proven it time and again in competitive racing series over the last decade.
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  • VTechVTech Posts: 4,736
    VTech wrote:
    She is fast, very fast.
    As above, most seats are paid for, it is getting crazy these days censored only maybe 6 are in seats through current merit.

    The reason younger people are involved is to do with genetics of human reactions, you are simply faster in your teens than you are in your 30's.

    And so are plenty of more deserving cases who have proven it time and again in competitive racing series over the last decade.


    F1 is as much luck as it is skills.
    There are plenty of superb drivers out their who through either lack of funding or simply that they have not been noticed by the scouting network will never make it into a team network.
    Time is paramount, if you haven't made the jump by the time your 19-21 it is very unlikely you will ever make it.
    Living MY dream.
  • VTech wrote:
    She is fast, very fast.
    As above, most seats are paid for, it is getting crazy these days censored only maybe 6 are in seats through current merit.

    The reason younger people are involved is to do with genetics of human reactions, you are simply faster in your teens than you are in your 30's.

    She is a helluva lot faster than me or anyone I know. But there are 10 F1 teams (so 20 starting spots), along with around another 20 reserve and test drivers.

    Does her record suggest she is one of the quickest 40 drivers on the planet - In my opinion, no she isn't and therefore there is a little bit of nepotism involved in her role at Mercedes
  • VTechVTech Posts: 4,736
    VTech wrote:
    She is fast, very fast.
    As above, most seats are paid for, it is getting crazy these days censored only maybe 6 are in seats through current merit.

    The reason younger people are involved is to do with genetics of human reactions, you are simply faster in your teens than you are in your 30's.

    She is a helluva lot faster than me or anyone I know. But there are 10 F1 teams (so 20 starting spots), along with around another 20 reserve and test drivers.

    Does her record suggest she is one of the quickest 40 drivers on the planet - In my opinion, no she isn't and therefore there is a little bit of nepotism involved in her role at Mercedes


    Maybe the better question is "is she the slowest of the 72 team driver places on offer in F1 today"

    btw, the answer to that is no.
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  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,369
    VTech wrote:

    Maybe the better question is "is she the slowest of the 72 team driver places on offer in F1 today"

    btw, the answer to that is no.

    That doesn't mean that:

    a. The correct (fastest) 72 are in those positions in the first place
    b. She could cut it in a race.
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  • VTechVTech Posts: 4,736
    Thats my point, I feel only 6 people are driving in teams that are there purely on ability, the rest through money and reserve drivers we can't comment due to the fact that you won't find out until they race.
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  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,369
    VTech wrote:
    Thats my point, I feel only 6 people are driving in teams that are there purely on ability, the rest through money and reserve drivers we can't comment due to the fact that you won't find out until they race.

    Whilst we won't disagree on the first point it's pretty obvious she won't be anything like top 72 in race craft when she hasn't raced a single seater for 9 years. DTM is NOT a proving ground for wannabe F1 drivers - with or without big sponsorship money behind them.
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  • VTechVTech Posts: 4,736
    VTech wrote:
    Thats my point, I feel only 6 people are driving in teams that are there purely on ability, the rest through money and reserve drivers we can't comment due to the fact that you won't find out until they race.

    Whilst we won't disagree on the first point it's pretty obvious she won't be anything like top 72 in race craft when she hasn't raced a single seater for 9 years. DTM is NOT a proving ground for wannabe F1 drivers - with or without big sponsorship money behind them.


    Im not saying she should get a seat, what she does prove is that women do have a place in the sport, the problem is men are more marketable in this industry and money is paramount. Just like you won't ever get men marketing women perfume or underwear.

    If you looked at the 22 drivers right now who are immediately eligible to drive, she is not the slowest in pre season testing of them men, she is just under half way. She has plenty of hours in the cars, more so than many of the actual drivers due to testing restrictions on drivers and teams.
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  • Jez monJez mon Posts: 3,809
    VTech wrote:
    Thats my point, I feel only 6 people are driving in teams that are there purely on ability, the rest through money and reserve drivers we can't comment due to the fact that you won't find out until they race.

    Six seems slightly low...

    For me, Red Bull, Mercedes, Mclaren and Ferrari all have drivers who are there on merit. Massa, Bottas and Grosjean are all good drivers, and so far, Verstappen and Sainz are clearly very talented...thats over half the grid.

    I think Susie Wolff knows she wont get to race, but nevertheless the media will continue to ask the question, so she will have to continue to answer it...
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  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,369
    VTech wrote:
    VTech wrote:
    Thats my point, I feel only 6 people are driving in teams that are there purely on ability, the rest through money and reserve drivers we can't comment due to the fact that you won't find out until they race.

    Whilst we won't disagree on the first point it's pretty obvious she won't be anything like top 72 in race craft when she hasn't raced a single seater for 9 years. DTM is NOT a proving ground for wannabe F1 drivers - with or without big sponsorship money behind them.


    Im not saying she should get a seat, what she does prove is that women do have a place in the sport, the problem is men are more marketable in this industry and money is paramount. Just like you won't ever get men marketing women perfume or underwear.

    If you looked at the 22 drivers right now who are immediately eligible to drive, she is not the slowest in pre season testing of them men, she is just under half way. She has plenty of hours in the cars, more so than many of the actual drivers due to testing restrictions on drivers and teams.

    Come on, you should know better than anyone that there's an enormous difference between time trialing and racing!

    And yes, I've got no issues with women in motorsport. It's much more refreshing to see the Moto3 and Moto2 grids with a female or two on them - mostly having earned their rides coming through Spanish series racing. I DO, however, have an issue with the constant whining from this particular individual about her situation when the reality is somewhat different and that she wouldn't be close to the seat that she is currently in without her marital arrangements!
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  • VTechVTech Posts: 4,736
    VTech wrote:
    VTech wrote:
    Thats my point, I feel only 6 people are driving in teams that are there purely on ability, the rest through money and reserve drivers we can't comment due to the fact that you won't find out until they race.

    Whilst we won't disagree on the first point it's pretty obvious she won't be anything like top 72 in race craft when she hasn't raced a single seater for 9 years. DTM is NOT a proving ground for wannabe F1 drivers - with or without big sponsorship money behind them.


    Im not saying she should get a seat, what she does prove is that women do have a place in the sport, the problem is men are more marketable in this industry and money is paramount. Just like you won't ever get men marketing women perfume or underwear.

    If you looked at the 22 drivers right now who are immediately eligible to drive, she is not the slowest in pre season testing of them men, she is just under half way. She has plenty of hours in the cars, more so than many of the actual drivers due to testing restrictions on drivers and teams.

    Come on, you should know better than anyone that there's an enormous difference between time trialing and racing!

    And yes, I've got no issues with women in motorsport. It's much more refreshing to see the Moto3 and Moto2 grids with a female or two on them - mostly having earned their rides coming through Spanish series racing. I DO, however, have an issue with the constant whining from this particular individual about her situation when the reality is somewhat different and that she wouldn't be close to the seat that she is currently in without her marital arrangements!

    She is doing it more on principle than for the actual seat. She is too old now really to start in F1 races itself.
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  • VTechVTech Posts: 4,736
    Jez mon wrote:
    VTech wrote:
    Thats my point, I feel only 6 people are driving in teams that are there purely on ability, the rest through money and reserve drivers we can't comment due to the fact that you won't find out until they race.

    Six seems slightly low...

    For me, Red Bull, Mercedes, Mclaren and Ferrari all have drivers who are there on merit. Massa, Bottas and Grosjean are all good drivers, and so far, Verstappen and Sainz are clearly very talented...thats over half the grid.

    I think Susie Wolff knows she wont get to race, but nevertheless the media will continue to ask the question, so she will have to continue to answer it...


    Thats the problem, they are all good drivers but they do not make up the best drivers on talent right now.
    I love Jenson, but he isn't as good as he once was, I would give him a seat due to his popularity and what he can give back in feedback to a team that is struggling but he isn't the quickest driver for the car.
    Kvyat brings with him HUGE Russian money, he is an awesome driver but is he top 2 for a team ?
    Nico is a great driver but he has not really proved himself without the correct chassis, he has fire which is a super thing to have as a racer but he will always follow Hamilton as he simply isn't at the same level.

    The rest as you say are hugely talented, I don't think there is a single driver within the fraternity who isn't a great driver but there is a difference, It is hard to explain but it is more than speed, it is a self belief of greatness, Vettle had it even though he was not the best driver, he made the best of the great chassis he had and would stop at nothing to achieve his dreams. You can't be nice in sport, if you are, you have already lost and this plays an important role.
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  • DebeliDebeli Posts: 637
    VTech wrote:

    She is doing it more on principle than for the actual seat. She is too old now really to start in F1 races itself.

    Gosh, this thread touched a nerve with one very supportive member. I think most responses got the angle I was coming from, which was (up to a point) that there is clearly a case to be made for women in F1 and any other open-wheel formula, but that she is not that case and never was.

    If she (or her management, or her motorsport-investor spouse) are doing it for the principle, what is the principle?

    Continue to pump money and PR into an average set of results well into the subject's thirties to promote equal representation for women at the pinnacle of sport? Hardly....

    Show that women can and do make it on their own rather than give the appearance of relying on spousal capital and business muscle? Hardly...

    The 'case for the defence' has been that she is jolly quick.... hardly surprising in an aspiring F1 driver. Later it was said that she was about halfway up (or down) the practice times.... which in a Benz-powered Williams is not in itself much of a thing at that level. Among many points in mitigation are that she is too old.... which was a part of the quizzical nod implied in the OP.

    The BBC are publishing trivia and marketing waffle as insightful journalism.... and may be helping themselves to a perceived 'inside track' when it comes to getting the latest dope from Mercedes or Williams....

    It may work for them, but it is not a story and Susie Wolff is not doing what she does 'for the principle'.
  • mamba80mamba80 Posts: 5,086
    Shouldn't we be applauding a woman in a male dominated sport, regardless of who she is married too? how do any of us know why she is in the position she is in? look at the number of drivers who have famous F1 fathers???

    Women have it tough enough in all female sports let alone something like F1, lets face it, as vtech says, getting a drive in F1 is as much about luck and your access to finance as it is about driver skill.

    To me she should be compared to other female drivers as well, i dont see any one having ago at Vos because she cannot out sprint Cav.
  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,369
    mamba80 wrote:
    Shouldn't we be applauding a woman in a male dominated sport, regardless of who she is married too? how do any of us know why she is in the position she is in? look at the number of drivers who have famous F1 fathers???

    Women have it tough enough in all female sports let alone something like F1, lets face it, as vtech says, getting a drive in F1 is as much about luck and your access to finance as it is about driver skill.

    To me she should be compared to other female drivers as well, i dont see any one having ago at Vos because she cannot out sprint Cav.

    You comparing Wolff and Vos is like comparing an average PL footballer with Lionel Messi. In all of her racing career she has no wins and no pole positions - despite VTech's assertion that she's really fast (the slowest of the three replacement test drivers in today's Spanish GP testing despite having the fastest car) and her results are no better than average. She wouldn't even be entertained by an F1 team if she was male.


    Season Series Team Races Wins Poles F/Laps Podiums Points Position
    2002 Formula Renault UK Team DFR 11 0 0 0 0 45 18th
    2003 Formula Renault UK Motaworld Racing 17 0 0 0 1 215 9th
    2004 Formula Renault UK Comtec Racing with Duckhams 20 0 0 0 3 284 5th
    2005 British Formula Three Alan Docking Racing 2 0 0 0 0 2 18th
    2006 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters Mücke Motorsport 10 0 0 0 0 0 17th
    2007 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters Mücke Motorsport 10 0 0 0 0 0 20th
    2008 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters Persson Motorsport 11 0 0 0 0 0 18th
    2009 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters Persson Motorsport 10 0 0 0 0 0 16th
    2010 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters Persson Motorsport 11 0 0 0 0 4 13th
    2011 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters Persson Motorsport 10 0 0 0 0 0 NC
    2012 Formula One Williams F1 Team Test driver
    Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters Persson Motorsport 10 0 0 0 0 0 NC
    2013 Formula One Williams F1 Team Test driver
    2014 Formula One Williams Martini Racing Test driver
    2015 Formula One Williams Martini Racing Test driver
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  • VTechVTech Posts: 4,736
    mamba80 wrote:
    Shouldn't we be applauding a woman in a male dominated sport, regardless of who she is married too? how do any of us know why she is in the position she is in? look at the number of drivers who have famous F1 fathers???

    Women have it tough enough in all female sports let alone something like F1, lets face it, as vtech says, getting a drive in F1 is as much about luck and your access to finance as it is about driver skill.

    To me she should be compared to other female drivers as well, i dont see any one having ago at Vos because she cannot out sprint Cav.

    You comparing Wolff and Vos is like comparing an average PL footballer with Lionel Messi. In all of her racing career she has no wins and no pole positions - despite VTech's assertion that she's really fast (the slowest of the three replacement test drivers in today's Spanish GP testing despite having the fastest car) and her results are no better than average. She wouldn't even be entertained by an F1 team if she was male.


    Season Series Team Races Wins Poles F/Laps Podiums Points Position
    2002 Formula Renault UK Team DFR 11 0 0 0 0 45 18th
    2003 Formula Renault UK Motaworld Racing 17 0 0 0 1 215 9th
    2004 Formula Renault UK Comtec Racing with Duckhams 20 0 0 0 3 284 5th
    2005 British Formula Three Alan Docking Racing 2 0 0 0 0 2 18th
    2006 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters Mücke Motorsport 10 0 0 0 0 0 17th
    2007 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters Mücke Motorsport 10 0 0 0 0 0 20th
    2008 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters Persson Motorsport 11 0 0 0 0 0 18th
    2009 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters Persson Motorsport 10 0 0 0 0 0 16th
    2010 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters Persson Motorsport 11 0 0 0 0 4 13th
    2011 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters Persson Motorsport 10 0 0 0 0 0 NC
    2012 Formula One Williams F1 Team Test driver
    Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters Persson Motorsport 10 0 0 0 0 0 NC
    2013 Formula One Williams F1 Team Test driver
    2014 Formula One Williams Martini Racing Test driver
    2015 Formula One Williams Martini Racing Test driver


    Your post is quite unfair because she has taken many plaudits for her driving and was signed to the F1 team as a development driver of which she has stood toe to toe with her peers.
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  • chris_basschris_bass Posts: 4,913
    mamba80 wrote:
    Women have it tough enough in all female sports

    How so?
    mamba80 wrote:
    To me she should be compared to other female drivers as well, i dont see any one having ago at Vos because she cannot out sprint Cav.

    But (and I fear a bit of a backlash from this already) men are generally faster and stronger than women, so in a sport where the strength and speed of the participant is paramount it makes sense to separate men and women. But here the limiting factor is the car so I see no reason women shouldn't be as fast as men.
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  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,369
    VTech wrote:

    Your post is quite unfair because she has taken many plaudits for her driving and was signed to the F1 team as a development driver of which she has stood toe to toe with her peers.


    No it isn't, it's very directly relevant to the OP and it's you and a few others that have played the "yeah but she's a good woman" card. The article was about how she thought her opportunity to RACE was still miles away. And she's right, it is, because she's not good enough and never has been. It doesn't matter how much you dress up her sex, her practice pace, the fact that she was nominated for Young Driver/Most Promising Talent over a decade ago etc. she simply isn't good enough, end of!

    As I said in an earlier post, there's three test drivers out there today - she's in the best car and yet is the slowest of all three - that says something.
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  • awaveyawavey Posts: 2,368
    VTech wrote:
    Your post is quite unfair because she has taken many plaudits for her driving and was signed to the F1 team as a development driver of which she has stood toe to toe with her peers.

    but notably wasnt made reserve driver and Williams signed Adrian Sutil instead for that role instead, now as part of the article says thats partly because she doesnt have an F1 superlicense, because they do cost ridiculous amounts to have just on the off chance you might get a slim chance...but if you were pushing that hard to get a race seat thats something youd surely have just in case the race drivers do get injured, because it does happen, and the next year when the points system comes in it becomes even harder to get a super license because she hasnt raced or won anything in qualifying series.

    so I dont know what her plan to get an F1 seat is,I dont think standing in the garage most weekends and doing the odd practice session is going to lead to it, and fwiw I dont think shes ever been fast enough to claim she was unfairly overlooked in that regard anyway, certainly skilled enough to race cars,but motor racing is overflowing with skilled enough to race car drivers, some of them are women, some of them come with large pay cheques & sponsors, some of them have that extra bit special that singles them out as the next big thing, and some of them have the most amazing luck and know the right people and get in to the right places at the right time.

    given how new F1 drivers seem to be just be falling off some weird production line of Red Bull teenagers, Id far rather see her setup a mentoring scheme to help talented young girls progress through motor sport, give them that support scheme, like how McLaren developed Lewis Hamilton, as there is a really odd thing in that through all the cadet karting and junior formula series right up till they are 16, the gender split of the kids racing is nearly 50/50 and they compete equally, but then for some reason no-one has yet understood,and it could largely be money related, it just totally falls away and the girls ratio drops massively, and only the boys it seems carry on through their later teens/twenties and the really lucky ones end up driving F1 cars.
  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,369
    awavey wrote:
    so I dont know what her plan to get an F1 seat is,

    You don't? What, marrying the boss and whining to the press isn't obvious enough? ;)

    I like the rest of your post. Some good ideas there.
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  • ProssPross Posts: 22,172
    watching the Renault World Series from Monaco at the moment. That Oliver Rowland is some driver, great overtaking on a circuit famous for being difficult to overtake on.
  • DebeliDebeli Posts: 637
    And... the unlevel playing field continues to be unlevel. The retirement of an F1 driver who never started a qualifying session makes the news.

    I do understand why an effort needs to be made to promote the place of women in sport and encourage girls to take part in the first place...

    There are many fine examples across UK sport... Look at any junior rowing event (regatta, head or championship) and compare it to 30 years ago... Unbelievable. Excellent. The change in attitude is complete and positive and splendid.

    Similarly (almost) cycling. Particularly the 'fun' events. Look also at triathlon.

    But for the BBC to make a celebrity of a not-very-successful driver getting a development drive with the team their spouse is a significant shareholder in and then does nearly two laps in FP at a GP weekend seems oddly indulgent. The story of her retirement from a sport she never raced in seems eccentric at best.

    I am old enough to remember Michele Mouton, who really got in and outpunched a lot of men. I seem to recall she came close to the championship with Audi back in the days of the Quattro. Then there was Taru Rinne in the smaller classes of motorcycle back in the 80s.... These are the women who might be seen as the cutting edge of the sabre in getting women into motorsport....

    I do not demand the right here (as I do elsewhere) to be considered absolutely right. Earlier in this (now aged) thread there were some passionate defences of Ms Wolf (mostly from a single party). They (he) may well be right. But I've read more about her than I have about several F! pilots who actually got to the end of a race with a point or two.

    Now.... where did I leave my pipe and slippers?
  • mamba80mamba80 Posts: 5,086
    And... the unlevel playing field continues to be unlevel. The retirement of an F1 driver who never started a qualifying session makes the news.

    I do understand why an effort needs to be made to promote the place of women in sport and encourage girls to take part in the first place...

    Similarly (almost) cycling. Particularly the 'fun' events.
    Look also at triathlon.

    But for the BBC to make a celebrity of a not-very-successful driver getting a development drive with the team their spouse is a significant shareholder in and then does nearly two laps in FP at a GP weekend seems oddly indulgent. The story of her retirement from a sport she never raced in seems eccentric at best.

    You obviously do not know what you are talking about with that statement, fun events wtf? women and girls have nothing like parity with male cyclists, be it in competition or as a pro, in wages.

    Women who get anywhere near the top in any male dominated sport have my utmost admiration.
  • pinnopinno Posts: 38,248
    Shouldn't we be applauding a woman in a male dominated sport, regardless of who she is married too? how do any of us know why she is in the position she is in? look at the number of drivers who have famous F1 fathers???

    No one isn't. I don't think this has anything to do with the OP's point.

    Why is the superlicense so expensive? F1 does not seem like a meritocracy.

    Is Rossi going to make up the gap in the Moto GP tomorrow?

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