Formula 1 has announced that Susie Wolff will be the managing director of the new F1 Academy series, ahead of its launch this season.
The former Williams development driver has taken on the role as the new all-female junior series is set to debut in 2023, with seven rounds to come as young racers get on the single-seater ladder, including an appearance on the Formula 1 support schedule at the United States Grand Prix at Austin later in the year.
Wolff brings experience as a driver and team principal to the role, as well as work towards helping women in motorsport after she launched the Dare To Be Different programme back in 2016, which is aimed at increasing female participation throughout the motorsport spectrum.
She also took on the role of team principal at the VENTURI Formula E team in 2017, before being promoted to CEO in 2021. Wolff will report directly to Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali as part of her new role, with a remit of “spearheading the development of female motorsport talent with a focus on creating a successful pathway to higher categories in the F1 pyramid.”
Domenicali said of Wolff’s appointment: “It is fantastic news that Susie Wolff is joining the F1 Academy as Managing Director.
“Susie is an incredible person who understands what it takes to reach the highest levels of motorsport, both as a driver and Team Principal.
“She has a wealth of experience and first hand knowledge that will be of huge benefit to all of us and the drivers who are on their journey to progress through the racing pyramid.
“We are committed to maximising the opportunities in our sport for anyone to reach their true potential and achieve their dreams and we believe F1 Academy is a very important part of our plans to be a more diverse and inclusive sport.”
Wolff added: “The F1 Academy presents an opportunity to promote genuine change in our industry by creating the best possible structure to find and nurture female talent on their journey to the elite levels of motorsport, both on and off the racetrack.
“There is a lot of work to be done but there is also a clear determination to get this right. In doing so, I believe the F1 Academy can represent something beyond racing.
“It can inspire women around the world to follow their dreams and realise that with talent, passion and determination, there is no limit to what they can achieve.
“This is also the start of an important new chapter in my career, combining the experience I have developed so far with my passion for diversity and empowerment, so I would like to thank Stefano for entrusting me with a role that means as much to me personally as it does professionally.”
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Bruno Michel, F1 Academy general manager said: “It is great news for the F1 Academy to have Susie joining us ahead of the start of our first season.
“She will be invaluable to me and my team as well as all of the drivers. We can’t wait to get started on the track with this exciting new chapter that will provide another route into the pyramid system for talented female drivers.
“I am of the strong view that if we give these drivers the same amount of time and experience as any other driver, they can make their way to higher levels in our sport.
“Our aim is to prepare the drivers that come into the Academy to be ready to progress to the next category within the next three years and we hope their skill and drive will inspire others to follow this path.“
The first round of the F1 Academy will take place on 28-29 April at the Red Bull Ring, Austria.