23 May 20

Wolff: “I have huge respect for anyone willing to speak about challenges they're facing”

Dario Franchitti and Susie Wolff candidly discuss their past experiences and feelings during their careers in motorsport as part of UK Mental Health Awareness Week.

‘Be kind’ is the theme of this year’s UK Mental Health Awareness Week and it has never been more relevant during the current global health crisis, which at its worst left over a fifth of the world’s population in lockdown.

During the broadcast for Round 5 of the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge in support of UNICEF, three-time Indy 500 winner and Formula E commentator Dario Franchitti spoke with ROKiT Venturi Racing Team Principal Susie Wolff to share some of their own experiences of self-doubt and emotions during their careers in motorsport.

“I have huge respect for anyone who's willing to speak about any challenges they're facing because I think we can all have an element of understanding having been in a similar situation at some point in our lives. There were times in my career where I can remember being very, very lonely. Because as much as motorsport is a team sport, it's your name on the car and it's up to you to go out there and actually perform and bring the result back.”

Motorsport can look glamorous and thrilling from the outside, especially when you’re winning, but in reality, emotions don’t always match up to what is perceived from the outside.

“I remember days where there was big success and I was thinking to myself, I should be really happy right now. Why am I not really happy, this is everything I'd be working for? I think true happiness doesn't come from the big successes or the big failures and you need to appreciate the journey. The journey towards what you're working for, not always looking to the future and waiting for something to happen… that will make you happy. Be in the moment, live in the moment. Enjoy the journey to wherever you're going.”

Since Wolff’s transition from driver to team principal, she added: “I never let myself get overwhelmed. I always break it down and have short-term goals, mid-term goals and long-term goals. If you're not having tough days, you're not pushing yourself hard enough and you're keeping yourself well within your comfort zone. And that's definitely not my character. From the outside you can be assured that there's definitely tough moments and tough days.”

As more people open up and discuss their own stories, Franchitti emphasised the fact that today “it’s OK not to be OK.”