The Aston Martin Formula One team has officially confirmed that their driver ambassador, Jessica Hawkins, completed a test for them last week, making her the first woman to drive a modern F1 car in nearly five years.
Jessica Hawkins , aged 28, took the wheel of the AMR21, the team’s 2021 race car, and completed 26 laps at the Hungaroring in Budapest last Thursday. She boasts an impressive background, having been a former British karting champion, achieved podium finishes in the W Series, and even worked as a stunt driver on a James Bond film.
Her current focus is on supporting the team’s entry into F1’s all-female series, the F1 Academy, in the upcoming season. In this series, all 10 teams will have a representative driver and run a car in their livery. Prior to the test, Hawkins prepared extensively on the Aston Martin simulator. Robert Sattler, the team’s evolution programme director, praised her performance at the Hungaroring.
“Getting the chance to drive the AMR21 has been a lifelong dream for me, and it’s one I’ve been eagerly waiting to fulfill,” expressed Hawkins. “I’m committed to pushing the boundaries and, in the process, I aspire to inspire other women, letting them know they should pursue their dreams, no matter the hurdles.”
It’s worth noting that Formula 1 has not seen a woman start a Grand Prix since Lella Lombardi’s race in Austria in 1976. In fact, Lombardi and Maria Teresa de Filippis are the only two women who have competed in F1 since the championship’s inception in 1950. The most recent woman to test an F1 car was Tatiana Calderón, a Colombian driver who served as a test driver at Sauber and tested their car in Mexico in October 2018.
The all-female W Series ceased operations after three seasons in 2022 due to financial constraints. However, the F1 Academy, established and backed by Formula 1’s owners, has set its sights on creating a long-term path through feeder series to bring a woman into the world of F1. The Academy is currently hosting its inaugural season this year.
Nonetheless, Susie Wolff, the Academy’s managing director, has cautioned that it might take up to a decade to bring a female driver into Formula 1. Next year, the series is set to join the F1 calendar as a support race.