Back in college I produced a thesis about why we see a lack of women in motorsport. Motorsport is not a man’s sport, but undeniably you can state that is still very male-dominated. Things are changing though and for the better. This thesis took me months and during the research for the project I looked into the ideas that circulated about a women’s motorsport championship. The people that I had found that backed the idea, I will be honest with you, I didn’t have much respect for them or their values. Therefore, the fact they were promoting this idea of a segregated championship just for women didn’t appeal to me at all. Fast forward five years later and W Series is announced.
Aged just 21, it could be easy to label Maximilian Günther as just another ‘rising star’ in motorsport. However, he is more than that. So much more.
The young German found himself in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship before being handed a promotion into FIA Formula 2 with Arden International in 2018. Despite this impressive racing resume, all this was cut-short when Günther got the call up for a ‘full-time’ drive in FIA Formula E with Dragon Racing for season five. I say ‘full-time’ in inverted commas as it gets a little confusing, you will see why later.
With a trusted source telling me Günther will be in the car until the season finale in New York this July, I took the time to catch up with the young racer to hear why he has decided to risk his career for Formula E despite still technically representing the team on a race-by-race basis.
“I really enjoy Formula E,” Günther starts with a beaming smile. “Formula E is a very modern championship with attack mode, different power levels and the very nice-looking cars. It is really cool and offers unpredictable races. There are a lot of different winners too. We don’t really know what to expect as spectators or as a driver, so it makes it very interesting!
“There is no reason why not,” Rome ePrix winner Mitch Evans tells me when I ask if he can win the remaining races in the Formula E calendar this year. He has a huge grin on his face, stinks of champagne and sweat and is bouncing from the contestant hype from the media pen. Just minutes earlier, Evans took not only his first Formula E win after two and a half seasons, but also finally helped Jaguar Racing clench their first win in the all-electric motorsport.
Speaking exclusively to katyfairman.com after the race, Evans described the thrill of this first Formula E win and how he managed to keep his cool one year after a possible podium in Rome slipped through his fingertips – oh and the part when he referred to himself as an “absolute idiot” for missing the second attack mode by just centimetres with a hungry Andre Lotterer breathing down his neck to take the lead of the ePrix.
“Did you wake up this morning and think that today you would win your first Formula E race,” the interview began. “To be honest,” Evans paused, “no.”
Imagine racing in one of motorsport’s best championships, competing for a top manufacturer and heading for your second drivers’ title. Sounds like the dream, right? For Gary Paffett, 2018 should have been a simple: focus on winning the DTM Championship title with Mercedes.
DTM was a series Paffett had raced in for the past fifteen years with great success but that was all to come to an end when Mercedes announced they would be quitting DTM at the end of the 2018 season, in favour of the all-electric Formula E Championship.
“Shock. Utter shock,” was how Paffett described to katyfairman.com when explaining his initial reaction to the news that Mercedes were leaving DTM. “It was something that shocked all of us, it really did. Nobody expected it to happen. There are always rumours here or there about one manufacturer pulling out of this or that, but Mercedes have been the ones that have been [in DTM] through everything. They are the ones that held it together when it was struggling. They had been there for thirty years without a break. So, it was a big shock not only to the outside world but to us in the team because nobody saw it coming.”
Welcome, to my final blog post of 2018. It has been a pretty good year with me being able to attend more race weekends then ever before, visit events as accredited media that I had previously only ever dreamed of, oh and there was the day where I travelled to and from Switzerland all within 12 hours. In this blog post, I will reminisce and reflect on my key motorsport highlights from the year and give an honest review of my experiences and any corny life lessons I might have learnt along the way. If you are patient, you can also read about a new project I will be tackling in 2019. It is something that has been in the works since the summer and I am so happy to be sharing it with you all now as we approach the new year and welcome new beginnings. Anyway, enough waffling – I have made myself a huge mug of tea and am ready to confess all from my year in motorsport.
As season five of the Formula E championship rapidly approaches, I have been spying plenty of you on social media pondering if the hype for the all-electric championship is actually real. Well, Ladies and Gents, I am pleased to confirm that the rumours are in fact true: Formula E is one of the best championships motorsport has to offer.
Don’t worry, I was once like you. Living my life in the dark, thinking that roaring V12s were motorsport’s best and only offering and anything below that would send me to sleep – I grew up a nineties baby for goodness sake. Heaven forbid I was to ever find myself watching a motorsport championship which produced little to no noise at all (not true by the way), solely battery-powered even, but then along came Formula E. It was new, innovative and fresh and as my interest in championships like F1 took a dive, Formula E was there to remind me why I fell in love with motorsport in the first place.
Having defined herself as an influential figure in racing through her intense hard-work and talent both behind and away from the wheel of a racing car, Susie Wolff is no stranger to grabbing a challenge with both hands and overcoming it. Her grit, determination and willingness to learn and teach others makes her not only someone I greatly look up to, but also the perfect ingredients for a Team Principal for a ‘life after racing’.
“It was never in the game plan,” Susie tells me as we sit down for this one-to-one interview in the back of the garage for Venturi Formula E Team at Formula E Pre-Season Testing. Despite the torrential rain outside resulting in no running on track, the Venturi team remain busy with their season five driver line-up, Edoardo Mortara and Formula E debutant Felipe Massa, making the most of their time spent with engineers and mechanics.