Time to Hang Up the Helmet

04/11/2015 07:37 | Updated 04 November 2015

So much in life comes down to timing. Particularly in my world. For me, the time has come to hang up my helmet and call it a day.

Race of Champions will be my last race. I started at eight-years-old on a kart track on the west coast of Scotland so it seems fitting to finish with representing my country against some of the worlds top drivers.

It has been an incredible journey with many ups and downs. I feel privileged to have turned my passion into my profession.

I was brought up by brilliant parents who never once made me think motorsport was rather for boys, that I was choosing a path unusual for a girl. They instilled in me the belief that I could achieve anything if I was determined and worked hard enough.

At 13, the dream and the goal became Formula 1. I got oh so close. I wanted and fought very hard to make it onto that starting grid but the events at the start of this year and the current environment in F1 the way it is, it isn't going to happen.

My gut feeling tells me it is time to move on. Time to explore new challenges and push myself in new environments. As a sportsperson it is always difficult to know when to stop but for me, this journey has come to an end.

Looking back there are key moments that will always stand out. The World Championship Karting Finals, my first podium in Formula Renault, being a finalist in the BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award but I will always thank my lucky stars for my big break with Mercedes Benz in the German Touring Car Championship.

It was my chance. I seized the opportunity and took on the challenge. It led to not only seven great years, but even more important, it led me to meeting a man who believed in my dreams, who pushed me to be the best I could be and who continues to inspire me each day. A man I am now lucky to call my husband.

My progression into Formula 1 came to represent so much more than a racing driver simply trying to reach the pinnacle of the sport. It was also the hope that finally there may again be a female on the starting grid. I rode the wave, was energized by all the support and fought hard. There were those who wanted it to happen. Those who didn't.

I can only tell you, I gave it my all. Do I think F1 is ready for a competitive female racing driver that can perform at the highest level? Yes. Do I think it is achievable as a woman? Most definitely. Do I think it will happen soon? Sadly no. We have two issues, not enough young girls starting in karting at a young age and no clear role model. Sometimes you just have to see it to believe it.

These issues I want to address. I want to give something back and help the next generation. Together with the MSA (Motor Sports Association) we will launch a new initiative aimed at celebrating the woman succeeding in motorsport on and off the track now plus highlighting to the next generation that motorsport is an option for them. I dared to be different, I want to inspire others to do the same.

Aside from this, I am excited for the future. With this door closing now, I look forward to opening the next. Onwards and upwards.

Susie Wolff is Official Test Driver for Williams MARTINI racing. She was the first female to drive on a Grand Prix weekend in 22 years at the 2014 British GP. Today, she announces her retirement