Jess Hawkins becomes first woman to drive modern F1 car for five years

Hawkins on Aston Martin drive: 'Just the beginning' (1:27)

Jess Hawkins reflects on becoming the first woman in five years to drive a contemporary F1 car. (1:27)

Aston Martin's Jess Hawkins became the first woman in nearly five years to drive a contemporary Formula One car at an event in Budapest last week.

Stunt driver Hawkins, who is signed to the team in a ambassadorial capacity, drove 26 laps in the team's 2021 car, the AMR21, at the Hungaroring circuit which hosts the Hungarian Grand Prix every year.

As part of her role with the team the 28-year-old also conducts simulator work at the team's Silverstone factory.

Hawkins and Aston Martin reserve driver Felipe Drugovich, the reigning Formula 2 champion, alternated driving duties at the private test event.

While Hawkins does not have the superlicence points to be a candidate for a full-time F1 seat, the team said her appearance in the car offered "valuable perspective as she prepares to support the team's entry into the all-female F1 Academy series in 2024."

The F1 Academy was set up this year to create more opportunities for young women to progress up the motor racing pyramid.

The last female driver to test a modern F1 car was Colombia's Tatania Calderon at an event in Mexico ahead of the country's 2018 race.

Jamie Chadwick has also completed tests of Williams 2021 cars at demo events.

You have to look back even further to find examples of female drivers taking part in actual F1 events.

Susie Wolff, who now heads up F1 Academy, was the last female participant in an F1 weekend when she completed her fourth and final practice appearance for Williams at the 2015 British Grand Prix.

You have to go back five decades to the 1976 Austrian Grand Prix for the last time a female driver, Lella Lombardi, took part in an F1 race.

Hawkins hopes her appearance will help the cause.

Reflecting on the day, Hawkins said: "I want to say a big thank you to everyone at AMF1 Team for having the trust in me, believing in me, and for giving me this opportunity. It's taken me every bit of blood, sweat and tears to get here. When I first heard it might be a possibility, I could hardly believe it. I've had to keep it secret for months now - which was pretty hard!

"It's been absolutely worth it and it's given me really valuable insight. Nothing will compare to the acceleration and braking of a Formula One car and, having looked at the data, I'm really proud of my performance. Getting to drive the AMR21 has been a dream come true for me and one I've been ready to fulfil for a long time. I'll keep pushing for more and, in the process, I want to inspire other women and let them know they should follow their dream no matter what it is."