It's been a long time since a woman has competed in Formula One – over two decades, in fact – but that could stand to change in the near future if Susie Wolff continues making headway into grand prix racing. And in her latest advancement, she's been named by Williams Martini Racing as the team's official test driver for next season.

The 31-year-old Scottish driver drove a Mercedes in DTM for seven straight seasons, achieving two seventh-place finishes in 2010 as her best result. In 2012, however, she signed on as a development driver with Williams, becoming the first female to drive on a grand prix weekend when she participated in the free practice sessions at Silverstone and Hockenheim.

For next season, though, Susie steps up to become the team's third driver – a place occupied this season by Brazilian driver Felipe Nasr – which will give her more testing opportunities and put her in line for a race seat should Felipe Massa or Valtteri Bottas be unable to compete. The team also announced Unilever as a new sponsor, having poached it and its Rexona deodorant brand, from Lotus.

Susie, most intriguingly, is married to Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff. She signed on as test driver at Williams when her husband was part owner and a key executive at that team, but when Toto was hired by Mercedes, Susie stayed at Williams – which continues under Mercedes power for next season. The team just completed its best season in over a decade, finishing third in the constructors standings on the back of nine podiums.
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Susie Wolff Appointed Official Test Driver for the 2015 Season

28 NOV 2014

Williams is pleased to announce that Susie Wolff will be stepping up to the position of Official Test Driver for WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING for the 2015 Formula One season.

In this role Susie will be driving the Williams Mercedes FW37 in two FP1 sessions and two test days during the 2015 Formula One season. She will also be conducting extensive simulator testing to help in the ongoing development of the FW37 and FW38. This new role builds on Susie's three seasons as Development Driver for Williams which culminated in driving the FW36 during FP1 at the 2014 British and German Grands Prix. This saw her become the first female driver to drive in a Grand Prix weekend for two decades. The team is currently evaluating a number of drivers to replace Susie as Development Driver.

Speaking about her new role Susie Wolff said; "This is another step in the right direction for me. I am delighted Williams are recognising my progression, hard work and that it is performance that counts. Williams is at a very exciting stage in its history and we are moving into 2015 with fantastic momentum, I'm proud to be part of the team. I'll be using my position to work closely with Felipe and Valtteri to make sure that the FW37 builds on the strong performance shown by the FW36."

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal of WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING added; "We are delighted to have Susie continuing with the team next season in this new role. She continues to impress us with her strong technical knowledge, the feedback she delivers and the performance when she drives the car both on the track and in the simulator. She has steadily increased her time behind the wheel since she joined us in April 2012 and her appointment as Official Test Driver was a natural progression. We have a very strong and stable driver line-up for 2015 and this will be a key asset as we look to build on a positive 2014 season."

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