What a better way to wave goodbye to 2016 than with just one more talking point in Formula 1 (always, inevitably, tied to Mercedes)? This time around, we have Susie Wolff, MBE to thank.
The response to Wolff’s being awarded an MBE has been a mixed bag. While some are ecstatic at the bestowal of the honor, many others are highly critical. Fingers are pointed at her lack of results, at a career influenced and impacted by her marriage to the executive director of a Formula 1 team. We have been not-so-gently reminded that Wolff hasn’t actually driven in a Formula 1 race, and that her most notable achievements have been the odd practice session behind the wheel. There are other drivers out there, they say, more worthy of an honor than Susie Wolff; and what about Bernie Ecclestone, John Surtees, Paddy Lowe?
Had the honor been awarded to Wolff for career accomplishments or performance, I would have been skeptical. My immediate predilection to wholeheartedly support women in motorsport doesn’t overshadow my ability to look at the facts: that Wolff’s career in motorsport – her actual results scored behind the wheel of a car – are not worthy of an MBE alone.
The MBE, though, was not awarded for her performance, but rather her service to women in motorsport. And this is an accomplishment I will stand my ground in defending.