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Hawkins becomes first woman in five years to test a modern F1 car

Aston Martin driver ambassador Jessica Hawkins has become the first woman to test a Formula 1 car since 2018 after a run in Budapest.

Hawkins joined Aston Martin in 2021 and started simulator preparations last year ahead of a potential testing opportunity, which came to fruition at the Hungaroring last Thursday. Sharing the team’s 2021 car with test and reserve driver Felipe Drugovich, Hawkins completed 26 laps on a day interrupted by heavy rain, with the 28-year-old hoping it provides an example to others.

“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,” Hawkins said. “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! It’s been absolutely worth it and it’s given me really valuable insight.

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“Nothing will compare to the acceleration and braking of a Formula 1 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 fulfill 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.”

Aston Martin’s evolution program director Robert Sattler explains just how difficult conditions were for Hawkins’ debut in Hungary, and suggests another outing could be on the cards.

Hawkins became the first female to test a modern F1 car since Tatiana Calderon ran for Sauber in 2018. Aston Martin F1 Team photo

“Jessica excelled in her first F1 test,” Sattler said. “After the installation lap we had a small delay as the circuit was hit by heavy rain. That resulted in a green track and on her first proper run there were still some damp patches in a few corners. 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. After three runs, the track had dried and she was already matching the reference lap speeds. Overall, Jessica executed an excellent test program with a very professional attitude and we hope to see her in the car again soon.”

Team principal Mike Krack says Hawkins’ approach to her chances in the simulator are what convinced Aston Martin to pursue a testing opportunity.

“This is a special moment for both AMF1 and for Jessica, who is an important member of our driver squad,” Krack said. “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.

“This has been a hugely significant moment in Jessica’s journey with AMF1 Team and I am pleased we could give her this next step in her development journey by testing a modern Formula 1 car.”

Story originally appeared on Racer