Working in F1: What does it really take?

If you have a passion for motorsport and want to work in the industry, then here’s some advice from the experts on the inside who live and breathe Formula 1.

“Typically I get in (to the office) at eight in the morning and leave at eight at night. It’s not unusual to stay longer,” Edward Scott, a Digital Graphic Designer at Williams Martini Racing, told me.

“As soon as you sign up to F1 it’s not a nine-to-five at all. You always have to be on call.”

Typically, his role as a Digital Designer includes; assisting any filming being done, the design of the social media aspects, websites, graphics and T.V. board screens. Clearly, it’s a bit different to your normal graphic designer.

If there’s one piece of advice that stood out, it’s the experience needed to get your foot in the doorway.

“It doesn’t matter what form of Motorsport you gain experience from. Or what industry, actually,” Edward Scott went on to explain.

“You have to keep trying. If you’re good at what you do, you’ll get noticed.

“Don’t be afraid to speak out. Do your research and find out who’s who. Don’t just say you’re a Formula 1 fan; everyone who wants to work in Motorsport is a fan.”

When asked if he was a fan of the sport himself, Scott said, “I’m a petrol head… but there’re so many people you recognise from T.V. that if you were a massive fan, it could distract you.”

“You’ve just got to keep at it.” Ed Scott finished, admitting he loves what he does.

Passion is key for working in this competitive industry but of course doesn’t entitle you to a job, despite how paramount it is.

“Passion and dedication are needed as the job is 24-7 and it does take over your life. Adding the extensive travel on top of that, this year that includes 21 races plus the additional testing days, means that it does become a way of life, rather than just a job,” Sophie Ogg, Head of Communications at Williams, said.

“It may sound glamorous, and I am fully appreciative that there are some great perks to the job in allowing me to visit places I may never have otherwise gone, but it is a tough life, not only on yourself, but on your friends and family.”

“Organisation is key. You need to be able to organise your workload, manage people, and prioritise and manage complicated and constantly changing schedules. It would be a luxury to get to the track and only have to worry about what is happening there and then, but in reality, you do this alongside your usual day job!

One of the most important attributes of working in F1 is the ability to adapt to any given situation.

“Versatility is also important. No two days are the same, and if that kind of work stresses you out, then PR and motorsport are probably not the right path for you. Life at the race track is an emotional rollercoaster. It’s an ever-changing environment, whether it be track action or news stories breaking, nothing stays the same for too long,” Sophie said.

“Sleep is a precious commodity. You sleep when you can. You never know when you’ll be woken in the night or in the office until the early hours due to an upcoming announcement or event. Jetlag is a standard state of being and if you can’t sleep on aeroplanes, on buses, or in the smallest Japanese bed in the world…. You will quickly burn out!”

“I’m a firm believer that if you put in the work, you will eventually reap the rewards. I never doubted my own ability to achieve my goals, despite numerous teachers and career advisors telling me I was crazy to think I could make a career out of motorsport. I do believe that ultimately Formula One is a competitive industry, and every team wants the best person for the job in every role, so all you have to do is make sure you are the best person for the job,” Sophie went on to tell Women in Motorsport.

So, if you’re striving to work in Formula 1, be sure to scout out opportunities in lesser categories and other forms of motor racing- they all count towards building yourself a reputable name.

Get yourself to your local race track and offer to help out wherever possible. It might just be making cups of coffee but they’ll begin to remember your name. It all counts.

 

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