INTERVIEW: Catch up with inspirational women from the Formula E paddock and beyond

The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship hosted motorsport broadcaster Jennie Gow, journalist Georgina Yeomans, ROKiT Venturi Racing Team Manager Delphine Biscaye and Envision Racing reserve driver Alice Powell on International Women's Day, to offer up their advice and experience to young women looking to break into motorsport.

The chat, on Twitter Spaces and available to listen back to in full, opened up with Alice Powell talking us through her first steps in the Formula E paddock, with the W Series race winner currently taking a seat in the cockpit at Envision Racing as the team's reserve driver, alongside Robin Frijns and Nick Cassidy. The Brit tested in Valencia, gathering valuable data and feedback for the outfit as it works towards building a title charge.

"I got invited to Marrakech and take part in the Rookie Test," said the 29-year-old. "I didn't even have to think two seconds about that the answer was clearly yes, I jumped at the chance to have a go in Formula E. So, I met the team at their factory at Silverstone, got to know the car, had to go on the simulator and  went and took part in the test - I absolutely loved it. 

"From from then on, I've been working with with the team, but a lot more closely, probably the past six to 12 months," Alice was on-hand in Diriyah, in-case Robin or Nick came down with any illness and couldn't make the race, while for Mexico she was racking up the virtual miles in the sim to provide invaluable information for the team.

Alice Powell Envision Racing Formula E

"I really enjoy Formula E," she continued. "I've been a been watching for several years now but  having much more  involvement means I'm absolutely hooked and safe to say that it's probably one of the best race series out there. The unpredictability and innovation is what attracts the fans - I just think it's a fantastic championship."

Next, we heard from race-winning Team Manager Delphine Biscaye. The Monegasque talked through her highlight so far in Formula E - that maiden win in her role at Puebla in Season 7 - and spoke about her experience getting into the industry and her advice for those looking to follow in her footsteps.

"It's honestly been easy as a woman," says Delpine. "As an engineer trying to get into motorsport, it's been difficult because very, very few positions are available and you really need to fight from the youngest age; that's always what I say to to young girls like us if you really want to do this.

READ MORE: How Delphine Biscaye forged a career in motorsport

"If you know early, start early. Try to build your career when you're still at school because that's how you will get the placement or the internship, and then the job in the end. So, the most difficult thing was to find the position, not because I was a woman, but just because there are few positions very, very high level, especially in Formula E.

Delphine Biscaye Venturi Formula E

"My journey as a girl in motorsport was easy - Formula E is great for this. Everybody's really friendly and honestly, I've never felt any issue being a woman in the paddock at all - I've always been really comfortable and everybody's really nice to me. I don't feel like it's men and women, we're just working altogether. It's really great in my team especially, because we're really close, and we have seven women in the team now."

'The paddock's so welcoming and friendly'

Motorsport journalist Georgina Yeomans, currently working with Blackbook Motorsport putting together a hefty set of commercial guides, is a familiar face in the Formula E media centre and has always felt welcome, echoing Delphine's experiences.

"My experience of Formula E is of just such a friendly atmosphere," she said. "When I interview people they've been so happy to make time to speak with me, from drivers to team principals and even the CEO, Jamie Reigle. That what's really stood out to me, I think it's a friendly atmosphere and feels more like a real community of people and I think it's a really special environment."

Girls on Track

Georgina was an early member of Dare to be Different - the Susie Wolff-backed initiative that became FIA Girls on Track, which champions women in motorsport and gives young hopefuls role models to look up to and pass on expertise and advice. She feels the initiative was key in her embarking on an eventual career in the sport, as well as the visibility of women in the Formula E paddock - at the elite level of motor racing.

"I can't emphasise enough how important it is to have such strong female role models in motorsport," she adds. "When I was first getting into motorsport, I'm ashamed to say I did feel that because I was a woman that my passion wasn't cool, or was it weird and a bit strange - I really did use be more embarrassed about that.

Girls on Track

"More and more women are getting into the paddock and it's such an important thing for young girls to see. In Formula E, I've been so impressed by the passion and work that the championship has put in to Girls on Track. On a personal level, the organisation... really gave me a lot of advice, confidence and insight into the industry when I was just getting started at 16.

"It makes me so happy and so thrilled that Formula E is putting in so much work to make women feel and passionate and you know women can do anything and I think Formula E believes and backs this - it's just completely invaluable."

'A life-changing experience'

The inspirational value of FIA Girls on Track, and the latest event Formula E put together in support of the initiative in Mexico City, showed just that, with Grace joining the Twitter Spaces chat to talk about her "life-changing" experience.

READ MORE: Mexico City gets Girls on Track

"I just wanted to congratulate and thank to each person who made the event in Mexico City possible because being able to watch all the inspiring woman there was just a life-changing experience," she said.

"I hope each girl has the opportunity to one day go and visit one of these events. To each person in the paddock; the photographers, the social media team, the engineers - it was amazing and I just wanted to congratulate you for the programme. It has already changed my life. I'm making friendships that are related to motorsport, and we're trying to get a podcast about motorsport - so, thank you all so much."