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Driven: The Fastest Woman In The World

Director

As the big brother of Formula 1's Susie Wolff, I obviously enjoy watching her drive, it makes me incredibly proud.

That doesn't mean that I don't get nervous at the beginning of each race, but I have so much confidence in her ability so I know she'll be fine.

I know how good she is. I'm lucky that Susie trusted me to make Driven: The Fastest Woman In The World.

Susie must prove she can handle a car capable of accelerating up to 100mph in less than five seconds

It's a BBC Two documentary filmed over a year of Susie's racing life, including her testing for the Williams Formula 1 team.

She knew that I wasn’t out to do some exposé on women in motorsport; instead I was aiming to tell her story.

Susie can be quite a guarded person so at times it was difficult as when she was dealing with some of the low points leading up to her Formula 1 test, she obviously didn't want a camera crew around documenting her tough times.

It was my natural instinct to step in as a brother and try to make things better, but as a director I had to stand back and leave things in the hands of her team.

'My sister's racing career is not just unusual, it's exceptional'

At the end of the day there is little I could do to help as this level of racing is much higher than anything I have experienced.

When Susie ventured out in her Formula 1 car for the first time, I was nervous and that made it tough to concentrate on directing my film crew.

I think the crew could sense that tensions were high, but they understood how I was feeling on a personal level. There was a lot of pressure on her that day as she wanted to make a good impression and I could see that Susie was anxious.

All motorsport teams are uneasy having film crews around. They are competing at a very high level and don't want anything sensitive getting out that might give the other teams an advantage, but as Susie's brother I was given a level of trust that not many other filmmakers would have been granted.

The film explores Susie's highs and lows, at times there were more low points than high points, but we don't shy away from that.

Susie was open and honest throughout filming – like when she qualified poorly at Brands Hatch.

We filmed her afterwards and you could see the raw emotion in her disappointment, which isn't typically what you would see with a racing driving driver facing the media. Normally their public persona is very different from their private.

'There are times where she's just been too fast for me' F1 racing driver David Coulthard

Many people have the perception that motorsport is glamorous, but behind the scenes it is actually incredibly tough – like the intense hours Susie spends in the gym training and how careful she has to be with everything she eats.

As a female driver, Susie is faced with the usual clichés about her role within the sport. You'll hear her opinion on having to drive a pink car as a marketing stunt, but she never lets these things deter her.

Susie races because it's in her blood and I hope this documentary will give viewers insight to the dedication it takes (and disappointments you have to cope with) to achieve your dream.

David Stoddart is the director of Driven: The Fastest Woman In The World.

Driven: The Fastest Woman In The World is on BBC Two and BBC Two HD at different times across the UK, starting with BBC Two Wales at 4.30pm on Sunday, 14 April. For all programme times please see the broadcasts page. It was first broadcast in Scotland on Sunday, 24 March.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

Comments

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  • Comment number 33. Posted by SnoddersB

    on 6 May 2013 08:35

    I must say that I was very amused by the comment by her team mate to get that woman out of my way, seems that she is not the slowest on the track even given her position on the grid at every race. The fact is that she like Hamilton can power her way through the field, it was a shame that the other driv ers in the sports car races were only really good on an empty track. I hope that her time with Williams proves a real sucess for her.

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  • Comment number 32. Posted by don

    on 15 Apr 2013 20:53

    very good whish all the best loved the prog why no mention of catherine legg ?

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  • Comment number 31. Posted by pedelibero

    on 15 Apr 2013 18:33

    Susie Wolff, 'the fastest woman in the world'. Let's look at that shall we? She drove in DTM from 2006 to 2012. 73 Starts. 0 Wins. 0 Poles. 0 Fastest Laps. Highest place finish? - 13th in 2010. If she's the fastest woman in the world it's gonna be a long time before we see a woman in F1. If all that isn't enough to convince you that this whole idea is nonsense ask yourself this. Would a 30 year old man with that track record be let anywhere near an F1 car? He’d be lucky to be hired as a polisher.

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  • Comment number 30. Posted by John Birch

    on 15 Apr 2013 16:40

    Clearly many people were watching a different film - this was brilliant. A fascinating study of an ambitious and very talent young driver (who happens also to be a woman). She may not be the best (yet?) but that hardly mattered. Rarely have I seen such honesty, such tension, such joy on people's faces, or had a better idea of the pressures a talented sportswomen has to suffer, made all the more so by being a woman.

    Love it and will look out for her name in the future.

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  • Comment number 29. Posted by Lady T

    on 15 Apr 2013 12:48

    Great documentary. So what if she had connections; this is the motorsport industry and anyone involved it knows that it is small and yes, you need those connections to progress as well as raw talent - of which she has buckets. Title regardless, if anything this was a great insight into what passion and commitment is needed in motorsport to succeed whether you are male or female. Yes there are more successful drivers out there but at no point was that ever discussed or disputed - take it for what it is and simply enjoy her story.

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  • Comment number 28. Posted by sirwiggy

    on 15 Apr 2013 11:15

    Did no one like this documentary?
    I took it for what it was and found it quite good.
    Yes there are others who are faster and better, but this was about 1 individual.
    Doesn't who what and where.....

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  • Comment number 27. Posted by Allie

    on 14 Apr 2013 20:09

    I have a problem with the film title as I am a fan of all motorsport. Too often in this country, there is an image that F1 = motorsport. You only need to look at the BBC Sport website to see this. Dario Franchitti has been Britain's best driver in the last 5 years and he gets no recognition in the UK. Same here. There are a load of women racing in other forms of motorsport. 2 British women have competed in the Indy 500 - clearly they are the faster than Susie Wolff. What Danica Patrick has achieved Susie pales in comparison right now. Simona De Silvestro will win a race in Indycar. Alice Powell scored points in GP3 last year. That's my problem.

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  • Comment number 26. Posted by monopostocar76

    on 14 Apr 2013 18:54

    Good grief!

    Firstly to all those moaning....it's only a film title, get over it! Yes we know there are faster women out there, even female astronauts for goodness sake!

    And secondly, while her husband may have a privelidged position in motorsport, and yes he MAY even have helped her cause, wouldnt we all do the same in that position? I know I would do anything to help the one I love realise their dreams!

    Despite a lack of DTM results that doesn't mean she isn't deserving of a chance either. The film had lots of footage showing her earlier sucesses and even quotes of male drivers struggling to keep the pace with her! So if this were not to be the case, should ANY new F1 driver be given an opportunity? Half of the time, most of the current F1 grid don't even perform all too well either!

    In summary, all I'm saying, is try to have a little bit of patience and empathy for another persons dream. We all have them whether it be racing, or other aspirations and would hate for anyone to dismiss our own?

    Moan over!

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  • Comment number 25. Posted by dieseltaylor

    on 14 Apr 2013 18:27

    Firstly. What a truly, truly stupid title. Unfortunately as in all things once you alienate the reader it is so much harder to appreciate the subject. Congratulations to Mrs Wolff for her successes and future successes..

    Secondly, "but as Susie's brother I was given a level of trust that not many other filmmakers would have been granted." is more than a little disingenuous in not also mentioning Mr. Wolff's position within the Williams team when the documentary was made.

    I think Mr. Stoddard perhaps needs to think more about reader perceptions when writing.

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  • Comment number 24. Posted by Poppy

    on 14 Apr 2013 17:55

    What a surprise, people commenting on her husband. Who cares! Good for her she has connections, you forget that you still have to drive fast and over the years way before she was ever with him work hard and spend thousands getting there. Hence why a lot come from wealthy families and families within the sport already. Do you all say the same about senna?? And all the others with 'connections'. Are the drivers with girlfriends as models trying to develop their image as a celebrity. Drives me mad when people judge you on your husband, what about judging them on the women they are with. Good luck to Susie, if you ever get a drive in the race I'll be supporting you (also the person with the pink car idea should get another job)

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