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Aston Martin driver ambassador and former W Series racer Jessica Hawkins has become the first woman in nearly five years to test a Formula One car, the Silverstone-based team announced yesterday.
Hawkins, a 28-year-old former British karting champion who has also worked as a James Bond movie stunt driver, did 26 laps in Aston’s 2021 car at the Hungaroring outside Budapest last Thursday.
She alternated in the car with Brazilian test and reserve Felipe Drugovich.
“It’s taken me every bit of blood, sweat and tears to get here,” said the Briton, of what she described as a dream come true.
“Nothing will compare to the acceleration and braking of a Formula One car and, having looked at the data, I’m really proud of my performance,” she added.
“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.”
Daughter of an air-conditioning fitter, Hawkins’ racing career stalled for lack of cash until the Formula Three-level W Series, an all-female platform which has since folded, came along in 2019 with all costs paid.
She joined Aston Martin as a driver ambassador in 2021.
“We were really impressed by Jessica’s preparation for the test -- she worked incredibly hard with our simulator team and that made it an easy decision to put her in the AMR21,” said Aston Martin team boss Mike Krack.
“Jessica approached the opportunity with great maturity; she was up to speed quickly and found a nice rhythm.”
Formula One has not had a woman driver start a grand prix since Italian Lella Lombardi in 1976 but a number have tested the machinery.
The last female driver to test before Hawkins was Colombia’s Tatiana Calderon with Sauber, now Alfa Romeo, at Mexico City’s Hermanos Rodriguez track in October 2018.