- Hawkins completed 26 laps in the 2021 Aston Martin team car in Budapest
- Tatiana Calderon was the last female driver to test an F1 car in 2018
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Britain’s Jessica Hawkins became the first woman in almost five years to drive a modern Formula 1 car during a recent test in Budapest.
The Aston Martin ambassador completed 26 laps in the Silverstone team’s 2021 machines at the Hungaroring last Thursday.
Hawkins, who finished a best second in 19 appearances in the W Series – the now defunct all-female category – said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone at the AMF1 Team for the confidence they have placed in me. in me, and for giving me this opportunity.
‘It cost me a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get here. When I first heard that this was possible, I could hardly believe it.
‘I’ve had to keep it a secret for months, which has been quite difficult. It has definitely been worth it and it has given me very valuable insight.’
Britain’s Jessica Hawkins became the first woman in almost five years to drive a modern F1 car
The 28-year-old made her debut test appearance at the Hungaroring last Thursday
The Aston Martin ambassador completed 26 laps in the Silverstone team’s 2021 machines
Hawkins’ F1 appearance is the first meaningful appearance by a female driver since Colombian Tatiana Calderon took part in a number of tests for Alfa Romeo in 2018.
Hawkins, 28, added: ‘Nothing compares to the acceleration and braking of a Formula 1 car and when I look at the data I’m really proud of my performance.
‘Driving the AMR21 is a dream that has come true for me and one that I have wanted to realize for a long time. I continue to push for more and in doing so, I want to inspire other women and let them know that they should follow their dream, whatever it is.”
It has been 47 years since a woman – Italian Lella Lombardi – took part in an F1 race, and eight years since Susie Wolff, married to Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, took part in Grand Prix training.
Wolff, who became director of Formula 1’s brand new female series, the F1 Academy, which was launched this year by grid bosses, claimed it would take more than a decade for a female racer to join the grid.
“I think it will take eight to 10 years for this to happen.” Wolff told the Guardian in April. “That’s not just because we miss the female talent pool and those who are progressing in the sport, but also because of the realization that it is incredibly difficult to get into F1. It’s tough for all the male drivers.
‘There are only twenty places on the grid and that is why it will take time. I believe that in eight to 10 years, when we have continued growth in the talent pool and more women are entering the sport, it will be much more realistic.”
Wolff added: ‘Having a woman in F1 won’t happen overnight, I have to manage expectations.
But I think this foundation and everything we can achieve with the F1 Academy in the medium to long term can be the real driver of change in the sport and that’s what forced me to say: ‘Count me in.’
Hawkins sits in the cockpit of Aston Martin at the Hungaroring before testing the 2021 car
Tatiana Hawkins’ F1 appearance is the first meaningful appearance by a female driver since Colombian Tatiana Calderon (pictured) took part in a number of tests for Alfa Romeo in 2018