For the last few weeks, Formula Careers has taken a deep dive into the world of Women in Motorsport. We have shone a light on the amazing work they are doing, and the route they took to get to where they are today. Thanks to everybody who gave their time and energy to help inspire the next generation.
Interview by Izzie Holman
Wait? Girls Like F1 Too?
FIA Girls on Track UK
To conclude our Women in Motorsport series on International Women’s Day we wanted to tell you about Girls on Track UK which is an initiative that is a collaboration between the FIA and Motorsport UK.
Girls on Track UK aims to inspire, connect and showcase females as well as demonstrating that they have a rightful and valuable place within motorsport and STEM industries.
They organise regular ‘workshops’, webinars and exclusive in-person networking events (COVID allowing), plus networking opportunities on their Facebook page. Members also have direct access to the Girls on Track ambassadors who are successful and inspirational women working in all areas of motorsport, from race team members to mechanics, presenters to engineers.
There is provision for all areas of motorsport as the initiative aims to promote equality across the sector. At grassroots level they run educational days for girls aged 8 to 18 which include activities such as race car preparation, presenting to camera, coding, karting, reaction games and engineering challenges.
They have had some great success stories. Here is Georgia Allen’s story in her own words, who won a competition to win a Paddock Pass to the British Grand Prix when she was 18;
“I joined (Girls on Track UK) then known as Dare to be Different (D2BD) in March 2017. I had finished my A-levels in August the year before and knowing I did not want to go to university, had been unsure what to do next. After over six months of feeling useless, I joined, hoping it would give me some sort of purpose. For the two years previous, I had the idea that I might want to work in sports journalism, particularly motorsport, but wasn’t sure how to go about it and thought the inspiring women at what was then D2BD might be able to help.
The first event I attended was the British F1 Grand Prix. The initiative had been running a competition to win the opportunity to attend the race with paddock passes and write a short article for Autosport about an inspiring woman working behind the scenes in Formula One that we would interview on the day. I entered, writing a small piece about what Dare to be Different (Girls on Track UK) meant to me. After sending it in, I imagined what it would be like to go, but never believed it would happen, so when I got the email to say that I would be, and on the Sunday race day, it was both amazing and terrifying.
Since attending the Grand Prix, I feel much has changed in my life. Firstly, it has given me more confidence in what I do. Having other people believe my writing was worthy of winning a competition gave me a lot of pride. I should say that I was very close to not attending, even on the Sunday morning before the race, I was convinced I would not go. Having suffered from anxiety since I was young, I knew that when it got to the day of the event, I would struggle. I told Jenny, a woman who works for D2BD (she is now working for Girls on Track UK) and would be chaperoning us for the day, beforehand and so when we met up that morning, she was not taking ‘no’ for an answer and knew that I would regret not going.
When I look back on the day, it was one of the best experiences of my life so far. We were free to explore the paddock, watched the race from the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team’s hospitality, and even met and discussed many topics with Formula One Management’s Ross Brawn. By showing myself that I could do something that I did not think I could, my confidence rocketed. Since then, I have attended community events and in January 2018, I finally decided to start my own website showcasing inspiring women working in motorsport, fast-and-fearless.com. The success of the site has been incredible, with over 100,000 views since its creation and over 140 interviews and features. I have no doubt that I would not be doing this had I not had the opportunity to be inspired at the British Grand Prix.
I cannot thank the D2BD (Girls on Track UK) team enough for everything they have done for me. They have supported me outside of events and at them. I have used the Community Directory and the closed Facebook page massively as I have been able to find people for the website by using both. Everyone is always very willing to help and keen to share their advice and stories to help inspire young girls and women to consider roles in motorsport that are stereotypically male. My life is certainly different now and the initiative has played a massive part in this. Although there is still a way to go for me personally, I am sure they will still be there to help me out along the way, both career-wise and for me as a person.”
On a personal note, it was through the Girls on Track Facebook community that I secured a voluntary position as a PR and Social Media Officer for a car club which is allowing me to hone my skills and expand my network. They also just ran a series of webinars with women who work for F1 that are now being uploaded to their YouTube channel which I would definitely recommend going back and looking at for some really great advice.
I hope you have enjoyed our Women in Motorsport series as much as I enjoyed producing it and I hope you’ll continue to look out for our content about some more amazing women in motorsport.
Get involved by joining the community on Facebook;
And singing up to their mailing list;
Thank you everybody for being a part of this special series!