W Series action to be shown live on Channel 4

The W Series has announced that all six of their inaugural championship races will be shown live on Channel 4, promoting women in motorsport.

The series will be shown on the free-to-air channel in high-definition, marking a landmark partnership between the ground-breaking racing championship and one of the leading broadcasters in the UK.

The women-only series recently confirmed its 18 drivers, including five British contenders for the 2019 campaign.

Now, audiences in the U.K. will be able to watch the action lap by lap, as the drive for equality in motorsport continues.

Race build-up, interviews and qualifying will all be available to watch live and on-demand, as well as full coverage of the race itself.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing live coverage of W Series to terrestrial audiences,” said Joe Blake-Turner, Channel 4’s commissioning editor of sport.

“Women have been under-represented in motorsport for far too long and who knows, this exciting format could be the first step towards producing a female Formula 1 champion in the not-too-distant future.”

W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir added: “This is a historic moment for us. The U.K., with its incredible love of motorsport, is a cornerstone market for W Series, and what better way to engage and entertain than with live coverage of our all-female single-seater racing?

“Channel 4 is the ideal broadcast partner and we’re delighted to be working with them as we introduce the world to this exciting new concept.”

The first round of the season will take place at Hockenheim, Germany next weekend.

News of the W Series’ international coverage will be announced soon.

Charlie Martin: “We should be free to do the sport we love, be who we want to be, and be who we want to be with”

“I’m a big believer in the power of dreams,” says Charlie Martin. “If you don’t have dreams or things like that, then you’re never going to get there. You have to aim high and dream big.”

Charlie is a remarkable racer aiming for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Faced with ups and downs throughout her career, this is the story of how she is fighting for equality in motorsport.

Charlie has been a familiar face in motorsport paddocks for a number of years now. She started out in hillclimb where going to the events was just a hobby. But then Charlie decided to become the person she was always destined to be, and transitioned.

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via gocharlie.co.uk

For a while, she considered giving up motorsport for good, crippled with the fear of the unknown. How would people react? What would people say?

Thankfully, Charlie found the strength to continue on her motorsport journey and, now, she’s a role model for many facing some kind of adversity in their life as well as being no stranger to scoring points and a podium in this year’s Ginetta GT5 Challenge.

“When I was growing up and getting into motorsport, I really loved the whole romantic idea of Le Mans,” Charlie says. “It’s the original one, and the most special out of all of the races. I went several times in the early 2000s and it etched itself in my memory. It’s a motorsport spectacle for me and the idea of racing there one day is incredible.”

The idea of racing at Le Mans itself was just an abstract idea, but now Charlie has raced there – on the Bugatti Circuit – coming third in her first ever endurance race. The goal is the 24 hour race and it’s beginning to feel like a possibility.

“Each time you go back you feel further towards the idea of going and competing there one day,” she says. “You do reach points where you think ‘wow, I never thought that I was going to do that’. So then you have to set new goals and look for what’s next. While I’m still a long way off, the dream feels like it’s more than just that now.”

After completing a graphic design degree at university, Charlie’s lifestyle changed. Each day was about living a healthy and balanced approach. The gym became a frequent place to hang out instead of spending nights at the pub. Now, everything she does “leads into the time that you spend into the car”.

Charlie-Martin-Pride6
via gocharlie.co.uk

While motorsport is a key positive in her life now, it was a daunting place when she began her transition in 2012.

“I nearly gave up motorsport all together to transition,” she says. “It feels crazy to me now, given how important motorsport is to me. But that’s how I felt back then. I’m a hell of a lot more confident now.”

After her transition, the first paddock she went to was in hillclimbing.

“I was absolutely terrified,” Charlie admits. “ I couldn’t look at anyone. It’s an older kind of age group and it was my perception that younger people would perhaps be more in-tune with the idea of being trans. Rightly or wrongly, that’s what I thought.”

Now, Charlie is leading the way in promoting equality for the LGBTQ community. Earlier this year she provided stickers for racers to wear on their cars to showcase Pride.

“I found that nobody was never unkind to my face,” she says. “All stigmas went away and people were really friendly. I came out to everyone in France on Facebook – nobody knew then and everyone was lovely. I was worried that people would look at me different.

“This year doing it in England was different again, trying to judge people’s reactions in the circuit racing paddocks. I was scared. Naomi, my PR, has been brilliant – I really value her judgement. We were talking about what we were going to do – I felt like it was going to go wrong, but I just didn’t know. I didn’t know if I’d get trolling.”

Charlie-Martin
Via gocharlie.co.uk

While Charlie’s experience has been largely positive, she still feels that there’s always more that can be done.

Danny Watts – an ex racing driver who has competed in 24 Hours of Le Mans – came out as gay last year. Charlie supports Danny’s decision to come out to the public, as it could help support someone else.

“People said it shouldn’t be a story,” Charlie says. “ We shouldn’t have to have a thing about this – but yes, we do. It’s an environment now where they feel like they can come out, and people need to see that in order to know that they aren’t going to be laughed at or abused online.”

Charlie knows that her brave move to come out as transgender was, and still is, important for the motorsport community and beyond.

“No matter your sport, we should be free to do the sport we love, be who we want to be, and be who we want to be with,” she says. “We shouldn’t be judged by that. The more people who are visible, the more people will feel less at risk to come forward and be who they are.”

Her own story has translated into more confidence when it comes to competing on the track and it’s made her “bold” in terms of what she’s set out to achieve.

“I’ve gained so much confidence after transitioning,” she says.” I never thought that transitioning would be possible for me. If I can do that, what else can I do? Maybe it’s just not being afraid of failing, but I’ve succeeded so far. If it doesn’t work out, then it’s not the end of the world.

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Via Charlie’s Twitter

“Transition isn’t an easy ride. I’m lucky to have had the way things have gone. There’s a lot that needs to change in terms of society’s treatment of trans people. I’m in the position where I can play a part in that. It’s a small part, but it all helps.”

Her slogan “your mountain is waiting, so get on your way” is also another way of helping. Although she didn’t coin the phrase herself, it was on a piece of jewellery she purchased when she was a year into her transition. It resonated with her and grabbed her immediately.

“With hill climbing at the time and my situation, it was how I felt about life,” she says. “Everybody has their mountain and you just have to give it a go. You have to get out there and try and climb it.”

With that in mind, Charlie is continuing on her incredible journey to one day reach LMP3 after testing a Ligier JSP3 during summer.

Tatiana Calderon: “I’m there because I’m capable of doing the job”

Tatiana Calderon is breaking down gender barriers in motorsport, with the Colombian-born racer holding the test driver role for Alfa Romeo Racing Formula 1 team.

Recently, it was announced that she would drive in Formula 2 this season, becoming the first woman to line-up in the series’ history. Competing with BWT Arden, Tatiana takes the step up from GP3.

In addition, in October of last year she made history by becoming the first female Latin American driver to drive a Formula 1 car.

She had her first taste of F1 machinery with Sauber at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City in a promotional event. Two months later, she had another outing at Fiorano in a two-day test event.

“I’ve always dreamt of racing in F2 because it’s so competitive,” Tatiana says. “The races are sometimes even better than F1 because you never know who’s going to win.

“It took a while to get the budget together and to get the team in place. I’m really happy that I managed to secure a seat with BWT Arden, and I look forward to the start of the season.”

Credit: Twitter @TataCalde



During her time in GP3, Tatiana admits things didn’t always go her way and she has been open about the F2 car suiting her driving style more.

For 2019, the 26-year-old will partner the reigning GP3 champion – Antoine Hubert. He is someone that Tatiana is keen to learn from, despite having never been coupled with a driver who has “those credentials”.

“I like the extra power,” she says. “What we have is 300 more horsepower than in GP3 and we have carbon brakes. I like to push the engine a little bit more, and with the brakes I’m quite good. I really look forward to my first race to really be able to confirm if it suits me better.”

“There are many drivers who have been there for a while, so that makes it obviously more difficult,” she says. “There’s also a lot of people coming from GP3, so the level will be high.”

She knows that it won’t be an easy task ahead of her, but she’s ready for the challenge.

“The teams here are very professional so everything is going to be tighter,” she says. “With the pit stops and the strategy, it’s going to be a tough year. I’m expecting it to be challenging, but I can learn and benefit from it quite a lot.”

Ultimately, she sees F2 as a chance to continue progressing onto her goal “a seat in F1”.

She hopes that she’ll be “regularly scoring points” this year and sets that as an important objective in what she labels as her most important year to date.

“Every year you think so but this is a very important year with step up to F2 and keeping my relationship with Alfa Romeo racing – that really means a lot to me,” she says. “I hope that I can pull it together and show that I deserve to get more chances in the future.

“The team appointed me as the driver because they wanted me in that role.”

Credit: Tatiana Calderon

Tatiana also broke into Formula E towards the end of last year, testing with DS Techeetah in the post-Ad Diriyah E-Prix in-season test.

“There’s nothing similar to a Formula E car,” she says. “You don’t have that much downforce. The power is very instant because they’re electric cars and it’s a lot more complex than what I imagined. There’s a lot you have to do as a driver to be competitive in one of those cars.”

She recalls being surprised by how difficult the Formula E car was to drive, but she will not rule out the series of her career.

“My dream is to race in F1, but I think Formula E is very interesting,” she says. “They have great drivers, really good engineers, and it’s developing. It’s definitely something to look at for the future.”

Credit: DS TECHEETAH


Like any driver, she has received her fair share of criticism. Tatiana, however, insists that she is in her position because of her talent.

“If you are in F1, it’s not because of your gender but because of your performance,” she says. “Fred Vasseur trusts me and he’s giving me the opportunity because I’ve responded. I’m there because I’m capable of doing the job.”

She also admits that the W Series approached her and invited her to apply for a seat in the all-new women-only championship. Tatiana declined because her career is “going in a different way”.

“Throughout my whole career I’ve always competed against the boys and against the best,” she says. “I’ve never thought that I couldn’t beat them or that I couldn’t be at the highest level. It would’ve been a step back in my career.

“It’s a privilege and an honor to be showing girls and boys what you can achieve if you want something and if you find your passion.”


Header image credit: Tatiana Calderon

Hazel Southwell: “It’s incredible how much talent is in the motorsport field”

Before she made the switch to motorsport journalism, Hazel covered music, politics and humanitarian issues – a far cry from the Formula E paddock and other motorsport circuses that you’ll find the Londoner following.

If you’ve read any number of motorsport journalism pieces, then there’s a good chance that you’ve read something by Hazel Southwell. Her journalism is exciting, captivating and has you clinging to every word. She writes in a way that allows you to see topics in an entirely different light and explains concepts through original methods.

Why the switch, then? Well, Hazel had reignited her passion for all things fast and furious. Yet, there was an element of despair there. No one was writing the way she wanted them to write. So, she decided to have a go herself.

“In 2016 I took myself to the Marrakech Eprix during what was a pretty terrible period of my life, not really sure what I was doing if I’m perfectly honest,” she says. “I’d never been to Morocco, I’d never gone away totally on my own, and I had never gone overseas to a motorsport event before.

“I wouldn’t say it was trivial – I did things like having to walk from Menara airport across the city to the hostel I was staying in because every hotel, riad and cupboard was full of UN employees there for the COP22 conference. But I did it and I enjoyed it and I thought ‘fuck it, I’m going to do this, I’m actually quite good at this.’”

Hazel is a freelancer now, covering all things motorsport for a number of websites including Drivetribe and RaceFans.net. One of the things that makes her so inspiring is the raw account she gives to the reality of her career. Just because it’s motorsport, it doesn’t mean that it’s glamorous. For the majority of the time, it’s very far from that.

“I hate being forced to write pieces I know are objectively bad or boring,” she says. “Having spent so much money and time and effort barging my way into motorsport, I’m not going to let anyone shove me around. I know I can write, I know I understand digital editorial, I know I understand fans and how to make content for them and I’d loathe anyone breathing down my neck telling me what to do.

“It’s also extraordinarily badly paid. But I can swear in interviews and wear ball gowns at race tracks and to be honest neither of those are movable character traits, for me.”

Hazel documents her travels to all four corners of the world as she flies to cover Formula E. Ryanair and hostels were on the agenda once again, and that’s all part of the freelancer experience.

“I would say it’s really annoying having to pitch everything. I would love an editorial role – but there aren’t many of those and this way I get to write a huge number of pieces for a huge number of places,” she says. “This month I’m writing one for a sci-fi magazine, for instance, which is the sort of thing that having a diverse background gives me an advantage in.”

So why do motorsport journalism? It’s simple. It’s Hazel’s “lifeblood”. When Formula E came along, it quickly meant more to Hazel than it did to most – and that comes across in her beautiful writing.

“I’ve said this a few times but there has never been a moment in the history of motorsport, of any sport, where something so pivotal is happening,” she says. “Formula E’s technology has to transform the automotive industry or there won’t be one and we’ll all be screwed.

“If you’re the same as me or younger, so basically all millennials and post-millennials, then we’ve all been taught since primary school that the world’s ending and a decent chunk of that is down to cars. You’re told it so often it’s almost numbing. And it’s just delivered with this blase, ‘write it down in your copy books, we’re all going to die in about fifty years’ but without an answer.

“Formula E is, to me, for the first time, something that bucks that narrative. This is fast, dangerous, exciting hope. Hitting the streets and proving something in this fantastic dog fight – this sparky little upstart that dares to offer the chance of a future, if we can be brave enough into turn one of history.

“I get all teary-eyed talking about it because I’m a fucking nerd but honestly, I think this is an extraordinary moment and my god I hope it works.”

At the end of 2018, a once unthinkable event took place in Saudi Arabia – Formula E visited the capital for a race. Hazel was openly cynical about the sport she adores going there. She was familiar with their human rights situation, and she knew that – as a female journalist – it was going to be “beyond difficult” to take herself there. But, looking back on it now, she considers it as one of her favourite motorsport events that she’s covered.

“I get that a lot of people said it was a PR exercise but to be honest, it really wasn’t; it’s not like Formula E is the Super Bowl in terms of people suddenly changing their opinion of the country because it hosted us. It also wasn’t a compromised event – like when WWE went and only took male wrestlers and only men could watch.

“It was a mixed event, with the crowds full of teenage girls running around screaming about Jason Derulo (who played a concert, one of the first Western concerts in Saudi Arabia) and families and young men in Ferrari jackets over their traditional clothing. Westernisation isn’t always, by default, a good thing but this was a crowd genuinely enjoying the event and excited by the first event in their country of this type.

“There were so many women there and they’d spot I had a media lanyard and come over and we’d talk to each other through google translate. For the Saudis, it was a huge event – and I was really happy for them. Riyadh isn’t rich (Jeddah is the centre of commerce for Saudi Arabia) and it was just normal people enjoying normal things they’d never had access to. Again, I kind of tear up a bit about the whole thing.”

Hazel believes that we should be optimistic about the future of motorsport journalism and what it has to offer. While she’ll continue to give her readers a unique spin on races and stories, Hazel is adamant that there’s lots out talented writers out there.

“There’s some tremendously interesting stuff being done in new mediums like my friend Stuart, who does great videos explaining F1 as Chainbear,” she says. “I have so many friends who are brilliant this would rapidly turn into a list of shout-outs. But I do think it’s amazing, for a niche sport, it is incredible how much talent is in the motorsport field. Really, I am so proud to be part of it. “

Header photo credit: Lou Johnson

Megan Gilkes: “I want to be a Formula 1 driver”

From a town in Canada to being on the brink of making it in the motor-racing history books, Megan Gilkes’ career currently hangs in the balance. Girls like her, simply haven’t had this shot before.

As one of the 28 remaining hopefuls in the all-new women-only W Series, Megan’s working all hours of the day (and night) to make the final cut.

With the prospect of an all-expenses-paid-for drive in one of racing’s most exciting new adventures, 18-year-old Megan is pushing harder than ever before.

“I want to be a Formula 1 driver one day,” she says with certainty. “It’s always been my dream to race at the top of motorsport.”

She fell in love with life in the fast lane thanks to her dad who was a semi-professional driver in America. Megan used to cheer him on at the track when she was “just a little girl”, and she quickly got hooked on the adrenaline.

“Growing up, I used to see some of his races and when I was nine, I had the chance to try out a kart for the first time,” she says. “As soon as I drove, I loved it.”

From that point on, there was no stopping an enthusiastic Gilkes.

She admits that compared to other racers she’s inexperienced. Although that doesn’t mean that she hasn’t had success. In her first year of single-seater racing, Megan walked away with two second place finishes in two separate championships in a male-dominated environment. Not bad for someone who’d driven nothing other than a kart until this point.

“In 2017 I was second in the Sports Car Club of America and the South East Majors. Last year I was runner up in the Canadian F1200 series, despite not having done all of the rounds,” she says. “I’ve won five races in single seaters.”

Now, Megan continues to chase the motorsport dream thousands of miles away from her hometown, where she’s studying towards a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. If she doesn’t make it as a professional driver, then the brown-eyed youngster is insisting that she’ll still call F1 home.

“My degree is challenging, especially trying to balance everything with the racing as well,” she says before admitting that she still hasn’t got used to the dreary British weather. “I find it quite difficult, but I keep pushing. Engineering is applicable to the racing but I don’t have too much trouble at the moment with balancing the two. Let’s hope it stays that way.”

Until that chance is ruled out, Megan is putting her all into the W Series selection process. At the end of January, she and 53 other qualifiers from around the world headed to Austria to participate in 10 intense challenges.

She found out about the new initiative from her brother, while travelling to university lectures in London. With the W Series’ aim to promote women in the industry, Megan eagerly jumped at the chance.

“He gave me a call and told me to look on the internet at a new European series that was only for women,” she says. “It was going to be a free ride for anyone that got into it, and he said that I’d be interested in it. When I saw it, I knew it was for me. I applied as soon as I could and they accepted my application. They mostly asked about my racing experience to date, and my results to see who would be qualified to race a Formula 3 car. I got an email from them to say that I’d been chosen to go through and I was so excited.”

When she received the good news, she put her head down and grafted hard to ensure that she was ready for the most “important days” of her life to date.

“The test in Austria was being carried out in road cars, so I tried to get as much seat time as possible,” she recalls. “All of my racing so far has been done in single-seaters so I spent two half days at a race track in the U.S. just getting some laps in.

“One day it was wet and one day it was dry, so it was good to get some experience in different conditions. I also drove my mum’s Mini Cooper at a local circuit while I was back in Canada for the Christmas holidays and I actually wore out the new winter tyres that she’d just had put on.”

In Austria the hopefuls were judged by four giants of the sport, including ex-F1 driver David Coulthard, Le Mans winner Alex Wurz and – Megan’s ultimate idol – female IndyCar racer Lyn St James.

Megan will head to Spain in March for the final part of the W Series tests, where she has her heart set on a race seat for 2019.

“St James was talking about how the passion for racing comes from deep within all of us and that really stood out,” she says fondly. “It’s absolutely true. I was there because I love racing and it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

How to break into motorsport journalism

The media industry is a notoriously tough place to break into, and motorsport journalism is not an exception to that rule in the slightest. While there are no set formulas to getting your foot firmly in the Formula 1 paddock, we’ve spoken to a budding Spanish journalist to find out how she managed to get her first couple of FIA accredited races.

Sofia Tera has been determined to call the Formula 1 paddock her home for several years now. Since the age of just seven, she can recall watching racing on the television at home. Back then she preferred two wheels to four, but she says that the tables have turned now.

Writing quickly became a hobby of hers as she entered her teenage years, and it all stemmed from there.

“I cover mainly Formula 1, but one of my favourite motorsport series to cover is Formula 2,” Sofia tells Females in Motorsport. “I have always liked Formula 2. The racing is close and there are a lot of hungry young drivers that could become the future of Formula 1. It’s a very interesting and fun series that deserves attention.”

Sofia writes for a Spanish motorsport and motoring website, where she can be called upon to write anything from in-depth features to breaking news stories. During her time at CarandDriver.es, she has learnt to be versatile in her approach, a skill that she considers key when it comes to motorsport journalism.

 

Credit: Roksana Cwik

 

“It’s a very demanding job,” she says. “You have strange working hours since the racing activities take part mainly during weekends and you need to stay alert during the rest of the week waiting for news to create content. Therefore, you have to be versatile. Motorsport media consumes a lot of time every day and you don’t have a clear departure time because a big story could happen at any hour of the day. Also, you need to take care of your contacts and sources. Networking needs a lot of your time too.”

When looking at the key skills a journalist should have, she feels that it all comes down to being a good listener.

“A journalist needs good communication skills because you need to know how to ask the right questions to receive the answers you are looking for, but you also need to be a good listener,” she says. “People usually focus on how you have to talk, but it’s very important to know how to listen. Good knowledge of what you’re reporting about (motorsport in this case) is essential. Curiosity and interest are two very important features of a journalist too. And this might sound very basic, but a journalist needs to have a passion for the job.”

Being an international member of the press, Sofia strongly recommends being able to speak a second language – it has certainly helped her on her road to success.

“Speaking several languages is crucial in our lives, not only in motorsport,” she says. “Media is essentially all about communication, and you need to know languages to build relationships or simply ask questions. A lot of people think that speaking English is enough, but the need for speaking more than two languages is increasing everywhere. Motorsport is no exception with the big number of nationalities involved in racing all around the world. It has helped me to communicate and be more confident in general.”

 

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Sofia in the Formula 1 paddock

 

With the highs that come from landing your dream job, there are – of course – struggles on the way. Many people who work in the industry describe what a tough and challenging road it can be to getting recognised. But, it is important to not give up on your dreams.

“There were some critical moments where I was close to giving up,” Sofia says. “I felt I had nowhere to go and my situation wasn’t improving at all. I really thought all my effort wasn’t worth it. Media is a very difficult job, especially for young journalists because people usually don’t take us seriously. And I said, motorsport consumes a lot of your time. It’s really tough to make a living from racing. One day, I convinced myself that I had to keep on working. I am fortunate enough to write about something I like so much. Even if it’s demanding, I love motorsport. I can’t see myself having another job. It’s my passion and I really want to be in the motorsport world. I feel like that’s where I belong.”

With Sofia’s role, she has now attended three grand prix as press and two pre-season tests. Her favourite thus far has been the Italian event last year, and she describes the weekend as “magic”.

“The fans are great, the track is amazing and the last race had a lot of action and drama,” she says. I had the chance to see the podium from the media center and it was one of the most beautiful experiences. The fans on track, with all their flags and banners, the drivers celebrating, the atmosphere… It’s unique.”

Sofia has great advice for those wanting to break into the industry. She says that having your own blog is a good place to start. There you can find your own style while writing about things that interest you.

“A blog is good because you are the one who decides what to write about,” she says. “Once you have found and improved your style, you can write for websites as a volunteer. This may create bigger exposure for you as a writer. With hard work, people will begin to recognise your writing which can lead to the chance of writing for bigger websites.”

In order to be constantly improving your writing, Sofia says it’s paramount to read the work of other journalists who are already successful in the field.

“You need to read lots of articles and analyse what structures and tones they’re using,” she says. “You can analyse what works and try to add that to your skills. Of course, don’t copy, but create your own twist on things. I still do this, because your writing skills improve with every piece you read and write. You never stop learning, especially in journalism.”

You can follow Sofia on Twitter here.

The art of motorsport perfume

There are many avenues to find a route into motorsport and designing perfume is no exception. A niche idea created by Katie Forman has seen her brand grow with motorsport fans and enthusiasts.

Females in Motorsport got handed a sample of her work at a Dare To Be Different community event before Christmas. From that moment onwards, we fell in love with Petrolhead, a fragrance that promises – and delivers – to be bold and fearless.

“A couple of years ago, I had just had a hip operation from a sporting injury and was recovering on the sofa thoroughly fed up and decided to google: “how to make your own perfume in the UK”,” Katie tells us. “I came across The Cotswolds Perfumery and fired off an email asking if I could make a perfume, thinking it was a long shot and thought nothing more about it. But I quickly got a reply saying yes they could help and did I want to arrange a meeting. When I was up and driving again I hopped in the car and drove to the Cotswolds thinking I would make my perfume and come home again. How wrong I was!”

 

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The face behind the creation

 

By the time Katie got home from that first meeting, she’d turned a small idea into a plan for a big adventure – a perfume brand with a difference. ByKathryn had been made.

Once her niche idea was created, she set about brainstorming for her first product. Soon enough, Petrolhead was born.

“Our sense of smell is one of our most powerful and it can instantly trigger a memory,” Katie says. “When I wear perfume I am creating those memories and I wanted to create perfumes that were all about the vibe, the mood, the memory. Perfumes with attitude.”

With Petrolhead, Katie knew that she would be pushing the boundaries. It was brave, bold and unique.

“I thought it would be fun to take on one of the biggest stereotypes of them all; and because I am a Formula 1 fan and decided to call my first perfume Petrolhead – which means a car fanatic and is usually associated with men,” she says. “I thought: Why not take this and turn it on its head and create a perfume that was for women who write their own rules! But more than that, I wanted Petrolhead to reflect the motorsport world where men and women can compete together – as Petrolhead has citrus top notes and spicy bottom notes, with jasmine and rose in the middle I created a perfume designed for women but men wear it too. My motto is: if you like it wear it.”

Katie has been following Formula 1 for over a decade now. When she was younger, she used to compete in equestrian events. Surprisingly, she noticed how there were many parallels between the two sports despite them seeming very far apart to the naked eye.

“In equestrian, men and women compete together; gender isn’t an issue,” she says. “Although you were the one in control of the horse you relied on teamwork to get you there and months of dedication and preparation. One tiny thing could go wrong on the day and scupper your chances, but when it all came together and you succeeded the feeling was amazing, but it was more than just about you.

“When I discovered Formula 1 there was so much about it that resonated. The adrenaline, the danger, the quick-mindedness of the driver, the teamwork, the setup of the car, adapting to the weather and the circuit. I loved that motorsport was open to men and women – I was just sad that more women weren’t competing. But in the time since I have been following Formula 1 and started looking at the other classes, more and more talented women are moving up through the ranks. It has been wonderful to see.”

 

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Katie’s two perfumes: Padstow Rocks and Petrolhead

 

Her creation Petrolhead is all about writing your own rules and with that, Katie hopes to play a part in empowering women to achieve their dreams.

“I would like my perfume to inspire women to think “yes I can do that!” if they want to,” she says. “Even if there aren’t many women doing it. To question when someone tells them they can’t and to dig deep and see what they are made of – to dream big! 

“I have always worked and competed in fairly male-dominated worlds, but it has been important to me to keep my identity and femininity. I worked as a groundskeeper for a tree surgeon for a couple of years and I did all the heavy lifting and jobs the boys would do but I had long blonde hair and I wore perfume and makeup – not that it lasted long! I didn’t try to be a boy, I was simply me doing a job. Why make it more complicated?”

In terms of who inspires Katie to be pushing her own boundaries, she says Susie Wolff is an important role model to her.

“I was sad to see her hang up her racing boots but what she did, and indeed is doing with Dare To Be Different, for women in motorsport is brilliant,” she says. “In fact, I have started collaborating with Dare To Be Different and Petrolhead as we have very aligned missions although from very different start points.”

With that in mind, 2019 will see Katie working hard to design a new perfume creation.

You can take a look at Petrolhead and Katie’s other creations here.