Motor racing-Bond stunt driver Hawkins has a new mission at Aston Martin


FILE PHOTO: Jessica Hawkins poses during a media day ahead of the inaugural season of the women-only racing series 'W Series' at the Lausitzring in Schipkau, Germany, April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - James Bond movie stunt driver and W Series racer Jessica Hawkins joined the Aston Martin Formula One team on Wednesday as a "driver ambassador".

The team of four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll said in a statement that she will work with partners and "across a variety of disciplines".

If somewhat vague on the detail, the new job could involve the 26-year-old Briton showing off some of the skills featured in the yet-to-be-released Bond movie "No Time to Die".

"I enjoy sending cars sideways nearly as much as I do racing," Hawkins told Reuters. "So as soon as that opportunity arises, my name will be on it."

Vettel told reporters at the Monaco Grand Prix that he welcomed the move.

"I think it's a great addition and I think she can add something that we haven't thought of," said the German. "Hopefully, she gets some experience in our simulator as well.

"It's always great to have somebody else's opinion on everything that you do."

Aston Martin, the fictional British secret agent's car of choice, have played up the Bond connection since returning to Formula One this season in a rebranding of Silverstone-based Racing Point.

Their F1 car launch in March was presented online by "Quantum of Solace" actress Gemma Arterton, with Bond actor Daniel Craig delivering a message of support.

Hawkins, a former British karting champion, also has racing credentials although far from the level required to obtain a Formula One super-licence.

The all-female W Series is supporting Formula One and Hawkins follows defending champion Jamie Chadwick, who has a development role with Williams, in forging a connection to an F1 team.

Daughter of an air-conditioning fitter, her racing career stalled for lack of cash until the Formula Three-level W Series came along in 2019 with all costs paid.

"When I was 10 or 11 I was named the female most likely to make it to Formula One and it never materialised," said Hawkins, who recalled once beating future Red Bull F1 driver Alexander Albon.

"I may not have made it... but I'm certainly proud of where I am and the journey I've been on to get to where I am."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)

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