The Aston Martin Formula One team have confirmed that their driver ambassador Jessica Hawkins completed a test for them last week, becoming the first woman to drive a modern F1 car in almost five years.
The 28-year-old drove 26 laps of the Hungaroring in Budapest last Thursday in the AMR21, the team’s race car from 2021. Hawkins is a former British karting champion, a podium scorer in the W Series and has worked as a stunt driver on a James Bond film.
She is currently preparing to support the team’s entry into F1’s all female series the F1 Academy next season when all 10 teams will have a representative driver and run a car in their livery. Hawkins prepared for the test on the Aston Martin simulator and the team’s evolution programme director, Robert Sattler, said she excelled in her run at the Hungaroring.
“Getting to drive the AMR21 has been a dream come true for me and one I’ve been ready to fulfil for a long time,” Hawkins said. “I’ll keep pushing for more and, in the process, I want to inspire other women and let them know they should follow their dream no matter what it is.”
F1 has not had a woman start a grand prix since Lella Lombardi raced in Austria in 1976. She and Maria Teresa de Filippis are the only two women to have raced in F1 since the championship began in 1950. The last woman to test an F1 car was Colombian driver Tatiana Calderón who was a test driver at Sauber and drove their car at Mexico in October 2018.
The all-female W Series folded after three seasons in 2022 due to a lack of financial backing but the F1 Academy, formed and backed by the sport’s owners has declared its target of building a long term route through the feeder series to bring a woman into F1. It is hosting its debut season this year.
However, the Academy’s managing director Susie Wolff has warned it could take as long as a decade to bring a female driver into F1. Next year the series will join the F1 calendar as a support race. — Guardian