Susie Wolff: ‘Look after yourself because there is only one you’
-Sep 30, Hannah Hargrave , Living -
Susie Wolff lives life in the fast lane and she loves it. The Scottish-born race driver is not only an empowering female role model who forged a celebrated career in the male dominated world of racing, she’s also a devoted mother and wife.
Despite making history in 2014 to become the first woman in 22 years to take part in a Formula 1 race weekend, she still says her proudest achievement is her family.
Here Susie, 36 – who shares two-year-old son, Jack, with her husband F1 Mercedes boss Toto Wolff – talks to Lumity about following your dreams, being a working mum and why the perfect life is all about balance.
‘Becoming a mother was the best thing I ever did’
As the Team Principle of Venturi Formula E Team and a mum of a toddler Susie doesn’t have a lot of free time on her hands, which is why “ruthless efficiency” is an absolute must in her world, as is prioritising.
When asked how the dedicated former F1 test driver – who first jumped into a go-kart at the age of eight – finds juggling her career and family life she laughs, as if to say ‘like any other working mum’ before elaborating:
“First of all becoming a mother was the best thing I ever did. It had never actually been a big dream for me but now my husband and my son are the things I’m most proud of,” she admits.
‘It’s difficult juggling it all’
But as a dedicated athlete and career woman she knew she needed to find a balance between work and parenting.
“I wasn’t working when I first became a mum,” says Susie, who retired from competitive motorsport at the end of 2015. “I took time out to be pregnant and then to be a mother. But I soon realised I needed a goal, a challenge and work.”
Her undeniable talent and knowledge saw her earn the position with the E team and so her balancing act truly began.
‘I’m a better mum because I work’
“There are days when I think I can’t do it anymore, because it is difficult juggling it all. But I always keep an eye on my priorities. I know in which order they are. I have to sacrifice some things in work to be a good wife and a good mother and that’s ok.”
And as for mum guilt? Susie insists every parent is different and shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for their decision to work or not.
“When I gave birth there was an experienced nurse on the maternity ward. She told me; ‘You’re going to hear lots of advice. I’ll tell you what I know: If you’re happy, the baby is going to be happy.’
‘I need stimulation from work’
“It’s so true. We struggle with guilt because we are human. But I’m a better mother because I work. I have the balance of being challenged at work when I’m gone from Jack and then I come home and spend quality time with my child.
“Some women are amazing full time mothers and I respect them wholeheartedly for that because I couldn’t do it.
“I need stimulation from work. At the end of the day you need to do what is right for you.”
‘My race is against myself’
Susie says her determination, confidence and vigour comes from her own mother who taught her she could do anything she wanted in life.
“My greatest inspiration has been my mother,” she tells Lumity. “Both my grandmother and my mother were strong women, but also fantastic wives and mothers and grandmothers. My mother brought me up to believe I was capable of doing anything I put my mind to as long as I worked hard. I was treated as an equal alongside my brother and that was the foundation for why I believed there was no reason I couldn’t make it in racing.”
‘Dream big but be realistic’
And although she admits she’s fiercely competitive she insists: “My race is against myself. I like to challenge myself and put myself out of my comfort zone. I’m very driven and I like a challenge.”
But with that comes setbacks, which she’s had to learn to deal with too. Susie made the very tough decision after four years trying to reach the start line for the Williams team in F1 that it simply wasn’t going to happen.
“I’m a firm believer in having dreams but you when you dream big you also have to be realistic. Dreams with no plans are just wishful thinking, If you’re struggling to achieve a goal, come up with a new plan.”
‘You have to pick yourself up’
“I had a clear goal to race in F1 and after four years I had to formulate a new game plan. You need to learn to cope with failure, not just in sport but in real life. So resilience is something worth working on. You will have moments of defeat, but you have to pick yourself up.”
Susie is a breath of fresh air, clearly focused and determined but also incredibly down-to-earth.
After years of intense training and dieting to be her leanest and strongest as a race car driver, she’s now all about moderation.
‘Make lifestyle changes you can manage’
“I feel like everything has become over complicated when it comes to diet and exercise. It should be so simple, if you’re not happy about your weight, eat less. You don’t need to cut out food groups. Too much time is now spent depriving ourselves.
“I certainly know if I say I’m not allowed any chocolate, that’s the one thing I’m craving. Just eat a little less of it. Don’t lose the enjoyment factor, because you still need to live life.
“Deprive yourself entirely and you’ll only kick back harder at the end of that six week diet or detox you’re on. Make lifestyle changes you can manage instead.”
The same goes for exercise. Susie, Toto and Jack live – for the most part – at their home in Switzerland where she says a workout for her is cycling, walking, skiing or even leaping around in her garden.
‘Lumity gave me more energy’
“I like to get up early and do a bit exercise because I feel better from it,” she says. “It can be 10 minutes in the garden doing press ups and star jumps. But I just genuinely like to be active.”
Even her beauty regime is simple but effective.
Along with being genetically blessed with good skin, which she gets from her mum, she admits she’s a fan of Lumity Morning & Night Supplements too adding: “I like the subtle but positive effects they have on me. I felt reduced tiredness, I had more even energy, less afternoon slumps and my mood was lifted too.”
‘Relish the time to relax’
“But I really think lifestyle plays the biggest part in your beauty regime. It’s important to look after yourself because there is only one you.
“Relish the time you have to relax. Toto and I love doing the simple things when we’re together. We cook a nice dinner, go for a mountain bike ride or spent the day skiing. We watch a movie, read books and appreciate the moments we have.”