SUSIE WOLFF REFLECTS ON 2019
Team Principal, Susie Wolff, opens up on the highlights and challenges of a busy 2019…
2019 may be coming to a close – but a new adventure is already well underway for all of us here at ROKiT Venturi Racing, with Formula E’s sixth season of competition kicking off a matter of weeks ago in Saudi Arabia.
However, with a seven-week break between Diriyah and the Santiago E-Prix [scheduled for mid-January 2020], the forthcoming festive period provides an opportunity for reflection as we look back on the past 12 months.
This year has been one of firsts here in Monaco – recording our maiden Formula E victory in Hong Kong while also completing our most successful campaign to date by visiting the podium on three separate occasions.
For Team Principal, Susie Wolff, this has also been a landmark period, with her first full season at the helm of Venturi, an exciting title partnership signed with ROKiT and a new powertrain relationship agreed with Mercedes-Benz to name just a few milestones achieved in 2019:
“It’s incredible to think just how much has happened in 2019,” said Susie, “on the professional side, the highlight was without a doubt the win in Hong Kong. The first win for any racing team is very special and that was a very proud moment.”
Away from the racetrack, Susie has added a multitude of personal achievements across 2019 – from the merger of Dare to Be Different with the FIA Women in Motorsport Girls on Track initiative, to a string of successful partner focussed events around the world.
While she struggled to narrow down the list to a single choice, one simple theme emerged as the true highlight – happiness:
“On the personal side, there were many highlights in 2019,” she added. “Obviously, seeing my little son grow and Toto’s continued success in Formula 1 another.
“The latter is a huge inspiration to me. How that team [Mercedes] operates is very, very impressive. On the personal side, I just continue to be very happy.”
Of course, there have been some challenges along the way in 2019 – and not all of them immediately apparent to the casual observer:
“There have been some big challenges in 2019,” explained Susie. “I think – for all of the mothers reading this – trying to combine being a good wife and mother whilst doing my job well as Team Principal has certainly been one of those.
“It got to a couple of points in the year where it was definitely really challenging to manage it all – but those were fleeting moments. I love my job and I’m thankful for the support network I have which makes it possible.
Asked if anything had come as a surprise – either in being a greater challenge or perhaps even coming more naturally than expected – Susie’s answer was typically pragmatic:
“We ran into Season 5 knowing that we had some challenges ahead, so to get early podiums, including at our home race in Monaco… I didn’t expect the on-track success to come as quickly.
“I think that came down to the pure energy that we have within the team. We have great people at Venturi and a great driver lineup. Between all those people, they really managed to absolutely take the maximum out of the package that we had and get some great results.”
The path to success is never walked alone – it’s a journey taken with those who inspire and motivate us along the way, as Susie explains:
“I think obviously my husband first and foremost has been one of my most influential people of 2019,” she explains. “He’s the person I spend the most time with.
“Also my parents, because them stepping in to look after my son allows me to go away to races, so without them I definitely couldn’t do my job.
“Gildo Pastor too. he’s a fantastic person to work with and someone that I really enjoy being in business with.
“It’s difficult to name everybody in the team because there’s so many. Jean-François Levere, our Chief Engineer, Delphine, our Team Manager… there’s too many to mention. I really appreciate every individual at Venturi. It’s the people that are the heart of the team.”