The best hope for a female driver in Formula One has just exited stage left. Her name is Susie Wolff, and she's been a test driver for the Williams team for the past several seasons. But now she's retiring from professional racing.

Wolff made headlines last year when she drove in the free practice sessions in both Britain and Germany. In the process, she became the first female driver to participate in a grand prix weekend in over two decades. That may have been the high point of her career, but it didn't happen in isolation, or overnight.

Née Stoddart, the Scottish-born driver worked her way up the formula racing ladder before switching to DTM. She drove for Mercedes in that German touring car series with limited success for seven years. Susie then signed as a development driver with Williams shortly after wedding Toto Wolff, who was then a director at the same F1 operation before switching over to run the Mercedes team. Susie stayed on with Williams, however, and was promoted to the team's chief test driver this year.

That might have put her in prime position to secure a race seat, but instead she's calling it quits at age 32. Other female racing drivers who stand a chance at making it into F1 include Lotus test driver Carmen Jorda and Formula E pilot Simona de Silvestro. We'll be watching to see if either ever gets the shot that Wolff never had at a race seat.


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