Aston Martin ambassador Jessica Hawkins has praised the support she has received from Sebastian Vettel and the team's drivers as she continues to develop her role within the outfit.
Hawkins is perhaps best known for competing in W Series, with the upcoming 2022 campaign marking her third season in the championship, but the Briton is also involved in various other pursuits within motorsport.
So far this year she has already claimed victory on her touring cars debut at Oulton Park, making her the first British female driver to achieve this.
Alongside the on-track action, Hawkins will continue in her role as an ambassador for the Aston Martin F1 team in 2022, having become embedded within the squad since joining them in May of last year.
How Hawkins is benefitting from Aston Martin role
In an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com, Hawkins explained how her role has been "so important" in continuing to develop her racing career.
"Obviously, I'm in a very fortunate position," she said.
"Not many are in this position, so I will take out of it what I can, and obviously put the hard work in that goes alongside that as well."
With W Series set to expand further in 2022, following the announcement of a new broadcast deal with Sky Sports as well as a bigger-than-ever calendar lined up this season, Hawkins thinks that her insight into Aston Martin could help in withstanding any additional pressure this may bring.
"I think so, and I do know that I've got a very large team of people behind me, that are really invested in what I do and take great interest in how I'm getting on, which is great," the driver added.
"[It's] a really, really great feeling, to know that I've got such a big force behind me in support."
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Supporting the next generation in motorsport
As part of her role with Aston Martin, Hawkins has also become involved in various off-track causes. This has seen her visit school children in Jeddah during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend to spread the message of different career paths available within motorsport, as well as exploring the new Miami Formula 1 venue and attending a women's talk whilst there.
When asked whether this side of her job is particularly important to her, Hawkins explained: "Definitely. I have a genuine interest in helping the next generation, not just females, but the next generation [to] get into motorsport and help [them] maybe find something that they love doing, whether that be driving or engineering or mechanics or anything like that.
"Honestly, I really love doing things like that, so it's really heartwarming. I feel like I'm giving something back. I do think that more things like that will come up, and I'm all for doing them."
In terms of whether other F1 teams could follow Aston Martin's lead in having this focus on diversity, Hawkins feels positive about the progress the sport is making.
"I think that we are definitely seeing more Formula 1 teams taking a role, or making a role available like that, so I think that we're moving in the right direction," she commented.
Support from Vettel and the team's drivers
Hawkins has previously spoken of her admiration for Vettel, who himself has been a figurehead in promoting various social causes and diversity in F1.
Whilst she admits it is difficult for Vettel to offer her racing advice given the differences in their cars, Hawkins says that the four-time World Champion has always been supportive.
"It's very difficult for Sebastian to give me advice on two cars that are really quite different," she said.
"So whilst they look similar, or they look like they're both single-seaters, they're actually worlds apart, in how much grip and aero are on [them]. But I guess the physics are the same.
"He's just been there as a support. It's nice that he shows interest."
With recent speculation over Vettel's future, Hawkins echoes Aston Martin's sentiments in wanting to keep the German with the team.
"He's obviously a very, very, very valued man within the paddock," the 27-year-old added.
"So we all, obviously, would like him to stay for as long as he would wish, but I genuinely don't know the answer to that question. I'm probably the last person that he would ever speak to about that.
"As long as he's happy, I guess he can do as he wish[es], but we obviously want to keep him."
Working alongside Stroll and Hulkenberg
Hawkins has also praised the team's other drivers, Lance Stroll and reserve Nico Hulkenberg, for showing support.
"They've all been great. They all show interest," she said.
"I obviously work with Nico probably the closest out of all of them, because we have not the same roles but similar. We can often be in the same place at the same time, and he's great to work with.
"He's very fun, and he too shows interest, as does Lance. I just work with Nico more than what I do Lance."
What does 2022 hold for Aston Martin and Hawkins?
Aston Martin have endured mixed fortunes so far in the 2022 Formula 1 season, but Hawkins believes that the team are putting all of the right factors in place to work towards future success.
"We have a five-year plan. We need to have that," the Briton stated.
"Around me, as I am here at the factory, I see a huge new factory being built, which I guess sums up the plans for this team. Unfortunately, we're not able to find what we need overnight, and it does take time.
"But all of us here at Aston Martin have one goal, and that's to win. I don't think you would be working in this sport if you didn't want to win, because it takes up too much time and dedication if you didn't love it.
"So that's where we are. It's a long road, it's not done overnight, so we're making steps in the right direction."
In terms of what she hopes to achieve in her own role within the outfit for the rest of the year, Hawkins is hoping to get some more time in the simulator, as well as taking on any further aspects of her developing position.
"I had my first go in the simulator last week, I think it was," she said.
"I'll be going back on it within the next few weeks. I guess my role keeps increasing, which is obviously a great thing for me.
"I love it here, and I've no intention of going anywhere anytime soon. I love what I do for the team, and may it continue."
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