10 Apr 21
- FAN ZONE
06 Mar 21
We caught up with ROKiT Venturi Racing Team Manager Delphine Biscaye to find out just what her day-to-day entails at Venturi, how she first got into motorsport and her top advice for anyone looking to break into an industry that's notoriously competitive.
What's your role?
I'm the Team Manager for ROKiT Venturi Racing. I work closely with Susie Wolff, the Team Principal as well as Deputy Team Principal Jerome D’Ambrosio in the management of the team and the organisation.
I oversee race schedules, the travel management and logistics teams and I’m the connection between the team and the FIA and Formula E on the sporting side of things. You could call me the fixer – allowing people to focus on the job they need to do in order to deliver the best performance on-track.
How did you get into motorsport?
It started when I was at university. I did an initial project in mechanics, which meant I ended up studying mechanical engineering and then I decided to try and get into motorsport, so I applied to many different teams.
"I never felt like gender was an issue with working in this sport. I always felt respected and integrated, even in a traditionally largely male environment. Now there are more women in the paddock – and across many different fields and roles – than ever before heading into my sixth season here."
I ended up getting a placement with Williams in Formula 1 and stayed there for 18 months and after two placements, they kept me on as a contractor. When my contract came to an end, I went back home, which happens to be where Venturi is based, so it was a natural fit.
At Williams, I was dealing with the KERS [Kinetic Energy Recovery System], so I was not in the race team, I was in the design office. So, when Venturi went into all-electric racing, my experience was very helpful.
Did you find the process challenging?
It was challenging. When I went to study mechanical engineering, the first question they asked was 'why do you want to do this?' So, I said I want to work in motorsport and they replied 'well, there are not many positions there.'
Looking back, I think that's what made me more determined - because it was more difficult, I had a greater desire to succeed, so I worked very hard to prove that I could do it.
What inspired you, and how long did you know you wanted to work in racing?
I came from a small village and I had lots of friends who liked motorbikes and I would go with them and see them working on the bikes and talk about racing and cars - my parents are not interested at all - they follow the races because I'm there but otherwise they wouldn't watch it!
It's very hard to know what you want to do when you're 18 but my past experience was something that was talking to me when I came to engineering school. I could imagine myself as an engineer in motorsport and when they said it was very difficult, I decided I definitely wanted to do it.
Who were your role models along the way?
I met Michele Mouton - the former World Rally Champion - she is the president of the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission. I did not know her while she was racing - in the 1980s I was very small!
But when I met her, I learnt about her career and she is very inspiring - she managed to compete against men when it was very difficult in the eighties but all she was interested in was winning - she did not care if it was a man or a woman behind her or next to her, she just wanted to be in front of them.
Now, she's still very involved in encouraging young women to be involved in motorsport and engineering. She's a strong woman - she's like a mother to the people she likes and knows and at the same time she's very strong and focused.
Getting into motorsport is very difficult - there are not many teams, there are not many open positions and it's very difficult to get into it in the first place. At Williams and Venturi, I have always felt that I have been very well considered - I never feel like I'm a woman in a male environment.
Formula E is very good from that perspective. I never felt like gender was an issue with working in this sport. I always felt respected and integrated, even in a traditionally largely male environment. Now there are more women in the paddock – and across many different fields and roles – than ever before heading into my sixth season here.
"You should always do what you want to do. If you want to work in motorsport, everyone tells you it's difficult and it's maybe not for you, and it's difficult to balance a life. But if you want to do it, you should just do it - follow your heart."
I feel the sport is changing. It takes time to enact that change because it’s about working at the grass roots and starting people early. At that level, with initiatives like FIA Girls on Track and with Susie’s efforts there, we’re starting to see things bear fruit. So, I think we’ll see changes in the industry really accelerate as people start to work their way into careers within motorsport.
What's the best part of your job?
I have a technical background but now I enjoy the communication side of my job - especially the internal communication. I really like to be involved in all the parts of the team, technically but also socially and analytically. It's very difficult when you spend so long with everyone as a team and work long hours - we are together all day for the whole week.
Everyone has different characters and with the pressure and stress, you sometimes get a lot of difficult situations to manage. So, I think the human part is the most challenging - it's more difficult than the technical part.
...and the not-so-good?
The freight! The logistics are one of the most difficult parts because we always have late freight - I need to work out what I should send at what time and where to send it - it's not a lot of fun and with the pandemic, things have become even more tough.
Everyone is pulling together from the teams’ side of things, as well as from the championship’s perspective, and doing a fantastic job of organising things in the current situation. We’ve needed to be more reactive all-round.
What's your career highlight to date?
I think the podium for Stephane Sarrazin at Long Beach in Season 2. I had never worked on a race track before. The Team Manager couldn't make the race on this occasion - I had very little information about what I had to do. I got there, went the whole weekend without any mistakes or penalties and we finished the race second.
Obviously, it wasn't all to do with me but on my first day in a new role, we managed to get on the podium! That was unreal. It was the first podium I’d won as part of a team in Formula E and it was very special.
Since then, the podium in Hong Kong with Edo (Mortara) in Season 4 and Felipe (Massa) getting another for us on home turf in Monte Carlo in Season 5 were fantastic for us all, and very emotional.
What’s your favourite race in the Formula E calendar?
I love New York City - it's so special - but I have to say Monaco. For us (ROKiT Venturi Racing) it's our home race.
When you are on the grid in Monaco and look around and think who's been here before - it's one of the most mythical tracks ever. It's amazing and even more surreal when we race there as I drive it twice a week!
Top three top tips for someone looking to work in motorsport?
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