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Susie Wolff: Daring to be different

Chasing the next victory, encouraging women to get into racing, and pushing the boundaries of technology – learn more about Susie Wolff, Team Principal of ROKiT Venturi Racing, in our personal interview.

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Susie Wolff made a bold step in her career when she became the first female Formula E team principal after joining Venturi Racing in season five, “It wasn’t a challenge to be the first female team principal, it was a challenge for me as an individual to become a team principal,” she explains during pre-season testing in Valencia prior to the start of her second season.

The former racing driver admits that the role was new territory for her. “It was my first job outside of my racing career where I moved into a management position,” she says. “There were moments when I thought, what have I done? There were many sleepless nights and lots of learning to be done, but thankfully I watched my husband (Mercedes Formula One CEO and Team Principal Toto Wolff) in a very successful role. I could learn a lot from him and felt ready to take on the challenge.”

The brutality of sport is that there is only ever one winner. We all want to be that winner, but the truth is we won’t always be.

Susie Wolff

Being at ease with uncertainty
Staying on top of the competition in Formula E is hard work. If there is one thing Wolff has learned from her first season, it’s the unpredictability of the races: “I think the format and the platform of Formula E is so different to any motorsport that I’ve done before, it became very apparent that it is a specialist series. You need to really maximise your opportunity. In a one day event, you can’t control everything, so you have to try and control the controllable and manage the uncontrollable in the best way.”

A macho sport?
Outside of her role in Formula E, Wolff is determined to get more women interested in racing. After rising through the male-dominated ranks of the industry herself, her plans include supporting women to join motorsports through her ‘Dare To Be Different’ initiative.

 

The project recently teamed up with FIA’s ‘Girls on Track’ initiative to reach as many girls as possible. “Motorsport is very macho. You only need to look up and down the paddock to notice there are very few women,” she says. “But I do think the tide is changing. There are a lot of great women within my team that were employed because they are the best people for the job, not because they are women. I think it is getting better but fundamentally, it is still a man’s world.”

Cutting-edge technology
Wolff’s tenure in Formula E has opened her eyes to the innovative ideas that might one day shape our future. “Without a doubt, I think Formula E is a very exciting platform to be a part of because it’s the cutting-edge of  new technology,” she says. “Motorsport is constantly developing and everything that happens here filters down to road cars. To be part of this platform where everything is being advanced and developed is very exciting.”