The Williams reserve driver and deputy team principal are racers at heart – they live and breathe the F1 life
Which destination in the Grand Prix calendar do you most look forward to visiting?
Susie Wolff: “Singapore. Because it is a night race the atmosphere is amazing.”
Claire Williams: “It’s such a difficult question because we are so lucky in Formula 1 that we get to travel to 20 different destinations over the course of the season. One of my favourite things about F1 is that you get to visit places which you might never see otherwise. For me personally, I love going to the traditional places such as Silverstone and Monza where the crowds just embrace F1 so much. But I also love going to the newer tracks that some people don’t necessary like, such as Korea, just because it’s experiencing something completely different.”
Is travelling outside the season something you like to do? If so, what’s your destination of choice?
SW: “Yes, for me Europe is too cold in the winter and the winter is simply too long. I enjoy somewhere hot and relaxing like the Seychelles or the Caribbean.”
CW: “Anywhere hot, with a beach and no mobile phone reception!”
How would you celebrate a win for Williams?
SW: “I think the most important thing after a win is not where or how you celebrate but simply that you celebrate with the team. Everyone works so hard that a win is best celebrated together.”
CW: “I don’t know. When we won in Barcelona last year it was an extraordinary feeling, you get taken away and it’s like riding the crest of a wave. You don’t really plan on how you are going to celebrate, it all just happens naturally. I’m sure the team would all go to the bar and have a few drinks…”
How do you unwind after the long season?
SW: “I spend time with my family and friends, ski and simply try to take life at a slower pace to recharge my batteries.”
CW: “I like to take a holiday. I like to find that quiet beach and completely chill out for a week to 10 days.”
Who has been your biggest influence and inspiration throughout your career?
SW: “My parents and then my husband. Without both I would never have made it into F1.”
CW: “Inevitable answer – my dad. Frank is the sport’s longest-serving team principal, having surpassed Enzo Ferrari’s record a couple of years ago. His tenacity, determination, sheer passion and the joy he gets from F1 are really inspirational. We have 550 people who work at Williams, the majority of whom work so hard because of, and for, Frank. He’s always been my role model and inspiration.”
If you could have any other career what would you choose and why?
SW: “Downhill skiing. I am a speed, adrenaline and competition junkie.”
CW: “I wouldn’t, I couldn’t. People ask me that and I really don’t have an answer. I’m so lucky, I love what I do. The great thing about F1 is that it changes every day. You never know what’s going to come up and what you are going to be doing. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
Other than the world of motor racing what are your personal interests?
SW: “Keeping fit, skiing, good food, shopping…”
CW: “Another difficult question when you are wholly consumed by F1! I just like doing what most people like doing. We spend so much time away from home, so I’d say the small amount of time at home. I appreciate it and value it, and spend as much time as I can with family and friends. I love my house, decorating it and pottering around, just enjoying being at home.”
What has been your most indulgent purchase?
SW: “A vintage watch for my husband. Because he’s worth it.”
CW: “I’m not very good at indulgent purchases! Spending significant sums of money doesn’t sit very well with me. That’s the way we’ve been brought up. I think the most indulgent thing I’ve ever bought is a Prada handbag.”
What possession could you not live without and why?
SW: “My special vitamins and minerals, which I take every morning. If you don’t have your health, nothing else matters much.”
CW: “My Earl Grey tea-bags!”
You are given £10,000 to spend on a single purchase, what would you buy?
SW: “A Hermès Birkin bag. As I always tell my husband, they are an investment!”
CW: “£10,000! My gosh, I don’t know. This makes me sound silly, and it refers back to my answer to the indulgent purchase question, but I’d probably use it to pay off a bit of my mortgage. A bit of a boring answer, but property investment is really important and something in which you shouldn’t lose money.”
Christmas is just around the corner: what is top of your list?
SW: “A healthy, happy Christmas with all my family. That means more than any gift.”
CW: “A race win and a World Championship… It’s all I want for Christmas!”