Jessica Hawkins has marked a milestone in Grand Prix history by becoming the first woman since Tatiana Calderon in 2018 to test a contemporary or near-contemporary F1 race car. Calderon, a Colombian, had previously driven both a Sauber C37 and a 2013-spec C32 for the Swiss team in Mexico.
Hawkins, a former W Series driver, has gained experience from previous drives in older F1 models during demonstration runs. Her chance to test for Aston Martin arrived following her hard work within the Silverstone outfit’s simulator. This year, the 2021 car has been frequently utilised by Felipe Drugovich as part of his development programme. Drugovich, a Brazilian national, was also in Hungary for the recent testing sessions.
The beginning of Hawkins’ test was delayed due to heavy rain, but she managed three dry runs by the session’s conclusion. In response to this rare opportunity, Hawkins voiced her gratitude towards her team; “I want to say a big thank you to everyone at AMF1 Team for having the trust in me, believing in me, and for giving me this opportunity,” she said.
Further emphasizing the work behind the opportunity, she stated, “It’s taken me every bit of blood, sweat and tears to get here. When I first heard it might be a possibility, I could hardly believe it. I’ve had to keep it secret for months now – which was pretty hard!” She expressed her pride at her performance and the unique experience of handling an F1 car.
Aston team principal Mike Krack expressed his admiration for Hawkins’ preparation. “Jessica approached the opportunity with great maturity. She was up to speed quickly, and found a nice rhythm,” he stated. Evidently, this test marks a significant moment in Hawkins’ burgeoning career with Aston Martin.
Robert Sattler, Aston’s evolution programme director praised in particular Hawkins’ ability to handle the tricky conditions presented by the wet track. “Jessica progressively built up speed on a tricky track while managing flawlessly the complexity of the AMR21 car. Her feedback was precise and correlated with our data.” he revealed. It’s clear that Sattler and the team have high hopes for Hawkins, ending his statement with, “Overall, Jessica executed an excellent test programme with a very professional attitude, and we hope to see her in the car again soon.”