Dubai, UAE, July 22, 2018: In an interview with CNN's Supercharged, the newly-appointed team principal of the Venturi Formula E team, Susie Wolff, explains why she has transferred to the all-electric racings series.
The former Formula 1 test driver tells host Nicki Shields that she believes that Formula E is now less reliant on former F1 drivers ahead of its 5th season, set to begin on 15 December 2018 in Saudi Arabia.
Alongside the introduction of the Gen2 Formula E care, Wolff will also work with former teammate Felipe Massa at Venturi, and she outlines some of the challenges lying ahead to CNN – including female participation in motorsport.
Having opted to retire as a driver in 2015, Wolff speaks to Shields about the lack of female role models and visibility of women across motorsport, alongside whether she believes she'll face any challenges as a female team principal.
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Wolff on whether she views herself as a role model for women in motorsport:
“I never set out on a quest to show what women were capable of, I was on a quest to be the best that I could be… I thought the whole gender issue was over when I stopped racing but I can also see that it's causing quite a lot of interest with me becoming a team principal and for me if that's inspiring to other women, if that's showing what's possible then I think that's a great by-product of what I'm doing, but it's most certainly not my absolute aim.”
Wolff on how women can be encouraged to participate in motorsport:
“I think it's a two-step problem. The first is that there's not enough role models that are visible to inspire the next generation, and that leads to the second problem that we simply don't have enough women entering the sport. To be successful in this sport you need to be talented - your gender is actually irrelevant.”
Wolff on whether she believes her gender will lead to any challenges at Venturi:
“I don't think my gender has anything to do with it. We're a team not performing as well as we should, we all have the wish to improve our performance, we have some great people and together we will improve our on-track performance but I don't think my gender will make my job any more difficult… and I never really allow myself to go into any position thinking what would this be like for a man, I'm here because I want to be here, I'm here because I have a great opportunity with a great team and I intend to make the best of it.”
Wolff on reuniting with Felipe Massa in Formula E:
“I was teammates with him at Williams before so I know him well and he can bring a lot to the team… I'm a great believer of creating a culture and energy in a team that allows everyone to flourish and he's someone that I definitely believe can bring that to Venturi.”
Wolff on whether Massa will be followed by more Formula 1 drivers in Formula E:
“Possibly, but I don't think you need F1 drivers in Formula E. I have a lot of respect for a lot of great drivers in the paddock already and I think they have rightly found their way in Formula E, it's turning into a championship with so much potential.”