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Susie Wolff joins F1 men at Silverstone test

Williams Formula One drivers Pastor Maldonado (L) of Venezuela and Valtteri Bottas (R) of Finland and test-driver Susie Wolff of Britain wal
Williams Formula One drivers Pastor Maldonado (L) of Venezuela and Valtteri Bottas (R) of Finland and test-driver Susie Wolff of Britain wal

By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Susie Wolff will get to test her mettle alongside some of Formula One's regular male racers after former champions Williams included the Scot in their test line-up for Silverstone this week.

The wife of Mercedes motorsport head and Williams shareholder Toto will be driving the FW35 car on Friday in a young driver test that has been thrown open to race regulars as well to allow Pirelli to test tyres after controversial recent blowouts.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for me, so now it is up to me to prepare myself the best that I can for the day," the 30-year-old development driver, the only woman currently carrying out such a role, said in a team statement.

"It's going to be a big challenge but the most important thing is to do a solid and consistent job and to give good feedback to the team to be able to prove I am at the level to compete on a day such as this."

Wolff has already driven a 2011 Williams for a demonstration run at Silverstone and was the first to drive this year's car when she carried out an aerodynamic test at the Idiada facility in Spain in February.

"Most of my work is based in the simulator which is why this day is so important for me," she said. "It will give me a better understanding of what the car is like on track and how that correlates to the simulator which will also help further develop the work I can do there."

Formula One has not had a woman driver competing in races for decades, with Italian Giovanna Amati the last to try and get on the grid when she failed to qualify in 1992.

By taking part in a regular test using current cars and sharing track time with other drivers, including regular racers such as 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen, Wolff has advanced further along the F1 ladder than any other female in recent times.

"It is great that we are able to give Susie the opportunity to have a full day behind the wheel of the FW35 following all the hard work and dedication she has put in both supporting us at the track and in the simulator," said technical director Mike Coughlan.

Williams, the second most successful team in terms of constructors' titles, have yet to score a point in nine races this season - their worst start ever to a campaign.

Spanish youngster Daniel Juncadella will be in the car on Wednesday while regular race driver Pastor Maldonado will carry out tire testing for Pirelli on Thursday.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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