As news reaches race fans that Susie Wolff will be the first female racer to participate in an F1 event in 22 years, I am once again subjected to the undeserved beatification of Mrs.Wolff. It's nauseating to see this kind of worship from ill informed fans, sycophant journalists, and starry eyed bloggers, all of whom rush in to praise an accomplishment she doesn't deserve in the slightest.
I don't care that she's taking part in an F1 practice.
I wouldn't even give a flying fornication if she participated in a race.
Someone of her background is filling a seat of a more talented racer. Possibly even a woman who actually deserves it, and not one who's there through her husband's influence. A woman like Alice Powell, for instance. Alice Powell, the one Ms.Wolff talks about in this recent Vogue fluff piece. http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2014/02/2.... Look at Susie's stats prior to F1. I know stats aren't everything, but with the access of equipment and teams that Ms.Wolff has had, it is. The highest Ms. Wolff has ever finished in a DTM race is 7th. That only happened twice. Most years she competed, from 2006-2012, she finished 10th or worse. The only season she scored points in was 2010, when she managed to score 4 points with her high of two 7th place finishes. On one site that I respect, they trotted out the fact that "Ms.Wolff has competed in 7 season of DTM," as a highlight of her accomplishments. Erhm, ok. Lots of people have competed in DTM for years on end. Some with better records than her, some worse. What's exactly the point of putting that down in an article? So those of us who actually know and care about the sport of F1 can look at her stats and mock at how far the sport has fallen? Cause that's what I did. Her DTM record is nothing to brag about, and certainly doesn't put her in the realm of some of the best drivers in the world. I could go on regarding Ms.Wolff's record, but most informed fans know Susie's racing stats and they're not hard to find.
As a race fan, I understand the game. There have always been drivers on the grid who weren't the fastest, but who could provide good PR for the team. They might have fabulous tits, an actors face, or an interesting back story. Perhaps they even hold a title, like your Lordship, or whatever they bestow upon land and title inheriting whelps across the pond. They might bring in millions of dollars from their respective governments, or Dad's company money. You know damn well who I mean there, race junkies. So why is my ire reserved for Ms.Wolff? Because as a female race fan, I'm incredibly disappointed that Susie seems to be held up the standard in which to aspire as a current female racer.
To put it succinctly, she's not. She doesn't even come close. There are women of different ages and skill level, participating in numerous series that deserve the attention that Susie is getting. Just sticking to F1, look at the aforementioned Alice Powell. In 2010, she became the first female to win a Formula Renault Championship. In 2013, she became the only female ever to score points in the GP3 series. Surely if one would like to trot out a female racer, a 20 year old of such talents deserves a shot to come up to F1. At the age of 31, Susie, is actually on the older side to be trying to develop as an F1 driver.
I do not always look to races on 4 wheels for a growth in opportunities for female participants. What women are doing in the world of motorcycles is more accomplished than what's going on in the world of tin top racing and open wheels. Some of my current heroines are the English racer and Guinness World Record holder, Jenny Tinmouth. Her list of bragging rights that she keeps fairly quiet about, make Susie Wolff's "look at ME," stories seem like the mewling of a kitten. Jenny is a British Superbike racer who can wrench a bike as well as she can race it. She's also one of the sweetest racers out there, and always seems to be striving forward with a positive attitude. I also have massive respect for Laia Sanz, who finished the grueling Dakar rally raid in January. Laia came in 16th out of the 78 riders who finished and almost 200 who started. Ms.Sanz has earned all of our respect the hard way.
It's also unfortunate that Susie, and her ardent supporters, keep pleading the sexism argument as her case for not advancing further in racing in a faster period of time. While sexism most definitely exists in motor sports, in every area, all Ms.Wolff's "accomplishments," just further the impression that it's ok to be a back marker driver, because you're a good looking woman who married money and connections. Thank you so much for the help on that one, Ms.Wolff.
Ms.Wolff does seem incredibly nice and well meaning. She comes from a humble background, and does have an interesting life story. She is also not the worst driver to have ever been on the F1 grid. I really do wish her the best in her ventures this season. However, I also hope she faces the rest of her racing career with at least a modicum of humility for her unbelievable good fortune.
Image via Facebook.