Aston Martin driver becomes first woman to drive F1 car in five years after test

Aston Martin test and development driver Jess Hawkins has driven the team’s 2021 challenger in a private test at the Hungaroring. In doing so, she became the first woman to drive F1 machinery since Tatiana Calderon tested a Sauber car back in 2018.

The 28-year-old is one of a handful of female drivers currently contracted to F1 teams alongside the Sauber-associated Lena Bühler and Alpine prospect Abbi Pulling. However, unlike those two, Hawkins has now experienced life behind the wheel of an F1 car.

Hawkins was present in Hungary alongside fellow Aston Martin development driver Felipe Drugovich, who completed an FP1 session for the team at Monza earlier this season and is the leading candidate to replace Logan Sargeant at Williams for 2024. 

Talking about the test outing, Hawkins said: “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. It’s taken me every bit of blood, sweat and tears to get here.

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“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! It’s been absolutely worth it, and it’s given me really valuable insight. Nothing will compare to the acceleration and braking of an F1 car and, having looked at the data, I’m really proud of my performance.

“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. 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.”

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Hawkins’ test outing represents the breaking of another barrier to increase female representation in F1, and with the likes of Marta Garcia, Jamie Chadwick and Juju Noda all impressing in open-wheel racing, we are likely to see more tests from female drivers in the coming years.

Team principal Mike Krack was impressed with Hawkins’ performance, stating: “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. Jessica approached the opportunity with great maturity. She was up to speed quickly, and found a nice rhythm.”

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