Toto Wolff thinks his relationship with wife Susie has actually harmed rather than helped the Williams test driver’s career.
Formerly Susie Stoddart, the Scot and former F3 and DTM driver married Toto Wolff in late 2011.
It has often been suggested that her move into F1 was powered by her marriage, as Austrian Wolff is the boss of Williams’ engine supplier Mercedes, and he remains a minor co-owner of the Grove based team.
But Toto Wolff told France’s Auto Hebdo: “Susie is a small woman with a big character, who was at Mercedes before I was.
“When I took an interest in HWA (Mercedes’ DTM team), she was already in the DTM.
“What makes me a little sad is that I am aware of doing more harm than good to her career that she built up long before she knew me.
“I often hear her described as ‘the wife of Toto Wolff’, which is fundamentally unfair. There are advertising contracts that she cannot conclude because of me and the conflict of interest.
“She has had, and still has, a lot of compromises in terms of her career because of me,” he added.
“She is the test driver at Williams because she did a good job behind the wheel, not because I was a shareholder. At first it was a marketing idea to have a woman, and the only one at the required level was Susie.
“The team tested her and she went well.
“In DTM, because she was not at the front, people made comments without knowing how the sport is organised also with drivers who are in less competitive cars.
“But when she was competing directly with David Coulthard and Roberto Merhi, she was at their level. And when testing with Williams, she has shown that her level is excellent,” Wolff added. (GMM)