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Monday, 31 March 2014

Women make their mark at F1

SEPANG: The two top women from the Williams Martini Racing team hope to inspire more females to join the male-dominated sport.

Deputy team principal Claire Williams said it was fantastic to know her role in the team had helped inspire younger women.

“There is some pressure but I am a firm believer that more women come in, not just for the sake of it, but those who are capable to do the job.

“You can see more women in the pit garage and on the pit walls. At the end of the day, it’s more about their ability than gender that got them there,” she said at the Sepang International Circuit yesterday.

Williams said it had been a very busy but interesting year since she was appointed the deputy team principal.

“We did have one of the worst seasons that the team had to endure last year and a lot of work has had to be done to make sure we are in a better place.

“It’s a challenge but I have enjoyed every minute of it,” said the 38-year-old, who has been with the team for 12 seasons now.

On being the daughter of Sir Frank Williams, who is the founder and team principal, Williams said she was well aware of the legacy and she felt the responsibility of protecting it.

“The legacy is what pushes me to do better. What my father achieved was phenomenal and I feel like I owe it to the team to do a good job,” she added.

The team’s development driver, Susie Wolff, 32, said despite Formula One being a male-dominated sport, gender was irrelevant when someone was out on the track with a helmet on.

“I don’t feel badly treated as a woman in the sport and I don’t see myself as a female racing driver but more as part of the team.

“Formula One is the pinnacle for me and I want to get as far as I can as this opportunity is wonderful,” she said.

She said while most people said that motorsport was a man’s world, there were women in the sport.

“My boss is a woman, we have women physiotherapists, engineers and marketing personnel.

“I must also say that these women in Formula One got there through hard work and deserve their positions,” she said, adding that it was inspirational for other women to be able to switch on the TV and see Williams in the pit garage leading the team.

Wolff said the experience of driving a Formula One car was awesome.

Both Williams and Wolff said they could not see themselves working anywhere else as Formula One was their life.

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