Susie Wolff's 89 laps of Silverstone on Friday couldn't have come a momen too soon. The Williams development driver managed some competent times as part of the three-day Young Driver Test and finished ninth of the sixteen runners.
Putting it into perspective, she was just behind the McLaren of Gary Paffett and in front of a Toro Rosso and a Sauber. Given Williams' place on the grid right now, that's just about where you'd expect the car to be. Unlike the hotshots around her she hasn't had regular single-seater experience this year - though she's probably spent a lot more time on the Williams simulator than the others had on their respective simulators.
Susie was clearly both elated and relieved not to have set the cause of women in F1 back by duffing it into the gravel (as some did): "I had a fantastic chance from the team, they took the chance to put me in the car today. Many people said they were crazy - 'why were they wasting a day on me?' and they took that chance.
Although people often think of F1 as a male interest sport, this is a wholly false assumption. There is a legion of female fans, journalists, press officers, plus female engineers, and two team bosses. Antonia Scott started working for BMW-Sauber as a composites fitter/assembler in 2006 and has worked for Toyota, Lotus, Toro-Rosso and Ferrari in her time. She represents the increased number of women coming though to F1 from the engineering side. What we really need now is a woman driver.
It may not look it at times but F1 stands up very well in comparison to some of the other bastions of male sport, such as football, cricket and golf.
This week we saw a prime example of this at The Open golf, in Muirfield, a club which does not allow women members and bans women from the clubhouse. They were told that they should be like Augusta, home of The Masters, in Georgia - which banned women for a long time and have now admitted two members and one of those is Condoleezza Rice. A scintilla of progress.
Cricket, like football and rugby union are male sports where ex-players make up the committees and governing bodies and very little is likely to change. At the start of the Tour de France we heard a plea from British Olympic cyclist Emma Pooley about setting up a women's Tour de France. There's no thought of competing with the men, what she wanted was a women's tour alongside the men's tour.
With Formula 1, there is no separation necessary. Women have always competed with men, ever since Maria Teresa de Filippis entered the Monaco Grand prix in 1958. There is no physical reason why a woman couldn't compete with the likes of Sergio Perez or Felipe Massa or any other of the slightly built F1 drivers - who in turn have no trouble toughing it out with the six-footers like Mark Webber.
Susie Wolff is unlikely to make it into a race seat, but at least she has banished some of the trepidation felt after Maria de Villotta lost an eye while testing for Marussia in 2012.
Given the bone-headed nature of some of the festering arguments in F1, more practical, pragmatic women in the sport can only be a blessing. With the possibility of Bernie Ecclestone being sidelined in the not-too-distant future, F1 could do with a strong woman, well-versed in international relations and tough negotiations to step into the role. What are the chances that Condoleezza likes motorsport...