THE chequered flag may yet be some way off, but it is good to see that Scots driver Susie Wolff is now inching towards the Formula One starting grid.

The 31-year-old, from Oban, will become the first woman in 22 years to compete in a F1 event when she appears for Williams in two first practice sessions before the 2014 British and German Grands Prix in an expanded role as development driver for the team.

Women are involved in F1 at all levels in the paddock, from mechanics and engineers to team boss, but the last woman to take part in any stage of a grand prix weekend was Italian Giovanna Amati, who tried and failed to qualify with Brabham in 1992.

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Wolff, however, is not motivated by a desire to blaze a trail for her gender, asserting that "it's not about being a woman, it's about being the absolute best you can be in the sport".

That sport, though, can, by her own admission, be very macho and egotistical, which makes her promotion all the more admirable.

Wolff has progressed through the motor racing ranks because of courage, determination and skill. If and when she becomes a fully-fledged F1 competitor, it will not just be women who will be cheering.