The rising stars of Formula 2 are the main focus across TV and social media but there are teams behind them that are critical to the performances you see.
As part of a new series, we’ll be talking to the important figures behind the scenes who you might not know but are integral to a Formula 2 and 3 race weekend. Next up is Carlin's Deputy Team Principal, Stephanie Carlin.
WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT’S YOUR POSITION WITH THE TEAM?
“My name is Stephanie Carlin and I am Deputy Team Principal at Carlin.”
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THAT ROLE?
“As Team Principal, not so long, it’s been quite recent. Before that I was commercial manager and PR manager. I've been at Carlin now for about 16 years.”
WHAT ARE THE IMPORTANT FACTORS YOU NEED IN YOUR ROLE?
“I think communication is a really good skill to have. A racing team like every business is primarily people. It's making sure that those people have an environment in which they can achieve that potential and do their best. So it's about understanding what these very talented people need at Carlin and creating the best environment for them, communicating with them and having a really good overview and knowledge of kind of as many areas of the business as possible.”
WHAT DOES AN AVERAGE RACE WEEKEND LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
“In the junior championships, I'm doing more than one role. So when I'm at an event, I'm also controlling our social media as well. So it will be making sure that all of our graphics for the weekend are ready for social media. But one of the first things that I'll do is I'll sit down with the engineers and just see what the plan is for the weekend and if there's any issues or anything that anybody's concerned about.
"Then I’m talking to the drivers and seeing how they are and getting a feel for if they've got any issues ahead of the weekend, things like that. And then it's just session by session, really. I'll be in the pit lane and, if Trevor is not here, I'm on the pit wall with the team. I’m also creating some social media content at the same time, and then doing debriefs with the drivers and the engineers and keeping on top of what they're doing. One of the really great things with having a bit of an overview is working between the F3 and F2 teams. Just listening in to what everybody's doing, making sure that we're doing the same across all teams.”
IS THERE ANY PREPARATION YOU HAVE TO DO AHEAD OF A WEEKEND?
“Reading any reports that the team might have done from the last events, any kind of problems that we might have had that might still need addressing, driver briefing notes as well. We would have a look over them and see what information the drivers have been given for specific events.”
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE TOUGHEST ASPECT OF YOUR JOB?
“I think the toughest aspect is accepting that even when you do your very very best, it might not be enough because we're a business but also a sport. As long as there’s always that sporting element, it's partly out of your control. So that might be an accident or an incident on track or mechanical issue that's out of your control as a team. You know that despite the fact that everybody's prepared to the best of their ability and everything might be great, driving might be quick, the weather might be okay, but it’s still not always enough. That's probably the toughest thing to do.”
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?
“Definitely the team spirit. That's one thing we have that's really strong at Carlin. When you're watching racing on TV or whatever or in black sheet, you're seeing a driver in a car, they are a hero to many people for very good reason. But it is a team sport, and there's a team behind it, which I find the most rewarding. It's just as a group of really clever, passionate, dedicated people. Getting the most out of them and enjoying the successes with them as well is a really good feeling.”
ANY FUNNY STORIES FROM YOUR TIME WITH THE TEAM SO FAR?
"The boys in the team are been really supportive and everybody's really supportive of the new title which is really what it is. I was doing the job before, but now there's a job title to it. And I joked with the guys that it'd be really nice to have my name on my radio, as opposed to just the spare unit which it normally is because they just give me the spare. So when I arrived at Paul Ricard, they'd have lots of stickers made with Steph, Deputy Team Principal on it, and nobody else has them. They were just teasing me but yeah, they keep shouting deputy principal. So it's good banter."