As his twitter bio summarises well, Craig Scarborough is ‘everything technical in motorsport’. He’s travelled the world with the pinnacle of motorsport and has plenty of tales to tell. I caught up with Craig to look back at his year in motorsport and what we can expect to see from him next year.
Katy Fairman: When you start a new year, do you have a set plan on what you would like to achieve or is it a case of you take the opportunities when they come?
Craig Scarborough: I have an outline plan for each year depending on the categories I’d like to cover and the publishers or potential publishers that I have in each of those categories. So I know from my potential income, how many races and other events I can get to. The plans never sticks with what you initially had expected as a commercial deals come and go.
KF: Did you have any goals for the year and have you achieved them?
CS: I would say I reached my goals for this year overall. I had hoped to have a stronger presence on TV or radio, but while that hasn’t come to pass, I am now in far more magazines and in different categories, than I had initially expected for this year.
KF: What did you get up during the first few months of the year?
CS: January is typically the quietest month as Christmas and December are the times when you are doing the end of season work and trade conferences. So, the first few months typically are having some time with the family, then that leads into previewing the upcoming rules and then Formula 1 testing in February. From then on, there’s really no rest until we go through the entire cycle again.
KF: Do you find you are at your busiest before a series like Formula 1 starts, or does business balance itself out over the year?
CS: Definitely, the biggest period of interest in the technology of a series is when the cars are launched. For F1 that is at the start of the year of course, for Formula E this kicks off in the summer, equally Le Mans brings its focus during the spring.
KF: What was the spring and summer like for you over the year? You seemed to be at another motorsport event every weekend!
CS: Once back from the first F1 flyaway races, it definitely becomes my busiest period with the European F1 season and then of course with Britain’s summer of motorsport with the Grand Prix, Formula Student, Formula E, Goodwood etc. Then we have the first of the flyway races coming into the late summer, which is a busy time. Luckily for me, you could argue, that the change of regulations for next year has meant it’s been little bit quieter at the back end of the summer than it would normally be, as development has slowed on the current cars.
KF: What is your favourite part of a racing weekend?
CS: I am guessing my favourite part of the weekend differs from many people, as for me the most important part of the weekend is to see in the cars being built up without their bodywork in the garage on a Thursday and Friday. That is so I can start to understand the technology and the new parts on the cars. It’s always great to see the cars practice, qualify and obviously race, but for me my main interests tends to be at the early part of the weekend and from that point on my workload increases, so I often get much less time to watch qualifying and the race than I’d like.
KF: Have you been to any tracks or races this year that you want to try and return to next year or in the future?
CS: There’s a key number of races that I really enjoy going to and this can be either because of the location, the potential technology updates or simply because it’s a great place to watch the cars at. Surprisingly this list can be short for a season of 21 races, places I’ve been this year that I thoroughly enjoyed as always would be; Hungary, Monaco, Barcelona and Italy, while the Australian, Canadian and American races are great too. Some new places for me this year were Hong Kong and Marrakech, both fascinating places for the Formula E series, there will be a question if we will return to both of those venues, but I would certainly be happy to visit both again.
KF: The end of the year has also looked a busy time for you. You recently visited Hong Kong with Formula E, is this a series you can see a long future for?
CS: Yes, Formula E now in its third season has been very busy for me, with all of the teams developing new Power Trains. This has been a fascinating aspect of motorsport technology, learning about the electric side of racing cars, rather than aerodynamics, suspension and internal combustion engines. I think there is a future for Formula E and I think there’s also a future for electric racing. Potentially, the future for both of could diverge with Formula E being very much a city centre event and electrification in other formulas such as World Rally Cross and the World Rally Championship. Additionally, perhaps another single seater championship racing on proper permanent circuits in the near future. Although, I think it will be a very long time before we really see contemporary motorsport switching completely away from the internal combustion engine.
KF: What have been your highs and lows from the year?
CS: I would say the high of the year would be getting more F1 coverage in magazines and secondly the increased focus that I’ve been able to put into Formula E . I am very lucky to have this job, if you can call, that such as this, so I don’t know if there are any lows. I regretted not getting to Le Mans this year, but overall I think it has been an excellent year and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed what I’ve been doing.
KF: Any plans for 2017 that you can share?
CS: It’s always hard to plan too far ahead, as I said, opportunities often slip away and other ones crop up. I hope to have a wider magazine presence for next year particularly for Formula 1. There are a few opportunities out there at the moment, all this stuff tends to get sorted through pre-season testing and in the run up to the first Grand Prix, so who knows what might crop up!