“Women and men in Formula E? It’s 50-50”
In our Women’s Week Special 2016 we take a look at the fantastic women in Formula E. This time we talked to Carina Furtunescu, who is the Event Experience Manager of Formula E and thus in charge of creating a unique experience for the countless fans at the track.
What first attracted you to Formula E?
“The main things that attracted me to Formula E were the novelty factor of the series and the fact that we were able to build everything from scratch. We had and we still have the flexibility to create something special which generates a new dynamic in the motorsport world.”
What do you think about Formula E as a racing series?
“There is no doubt about it. I find it amazing! The cars are amazing, the competition is real, we have amazing drivers and there is so much passion at our events, why wouldn’t I love Formula E? What I also find important to mention is that racing is not everything about Formula E, it is at the core of it, but we are building a world of entertainment through gaming, music, technology and innovation.”
What does a typical race day look like for you?
“This question makes me smile. I have to admit that the race days are very busy because we need to make sure everything is in place and that the experience that we promised to the fans is above their expectations. Coordinating activities through-out the day in the eVillage and around the track is never easy but usually it always ends up well. The race day starts very early, with a check-up of the eVillage and briefing all teams involved. Starting 10am with the Qualifying Group Lottery, the action starts in the eVillage and all activities need to be coordinated in a way that our fans have a continuous feeling of happiness and satisfaction.”
“The most stressful moment of the day is the podium but it is also the most rewarding. Seeing fans celebrating so close to the winners shows that Formula E gets fans closer to their heroes than any other motor racing championship. This is one of the main aims of Formula E and sets us apart from other series.”
Formula E's one-day race weekend format must put a lot of pressure on you with such tight timescales?
“It does put a lot of pressure on us but it also allows us to show our fans how many great things we have to offer and to have constant activities throughout the day. I believe everyone who works in motorsports and events work much better under pressure than in a relaxed environment. We are somehow adrenalin driven and we know that women are very good at multi-tasking.”
As Event Experience Manager you are creating an exciting experience for the Formula E Fans. How do you actually gather and incorporate the fans’ opinions?
“We are using a lot of marketing tools to gather information from our fans but in my opinion one of the most important ways of finding out what our fans enjoy in each country around the world is actually being on site and talking to fans. After each race we are doing a debrief in which we analyse what worked and what needs improvements.”
Would you they Formula E is a more “women-friendly” environment compared to other sectors your worked in before?
“Definitely it is a “women-friendly” environment, in fact many people are surprised about the number of women who work in Formula E. I believe in our company the split is 50 – 50 between men and women which is fantastic. Having mixed teams generates efficiency, better work relationships and an overall great work atmosphere. I have never felt, since I work for Formula E, that a woman was treated differently compared to a man. In the other companies in which I have worked, the differentiation was much more obvious.”
Do you think there will be equality between men and women in motorsports in the future?
“I do think that this is already happening. On the long term, I don’t think we will have this issue anymore. I strongly believe it all depends on the management of the companies as well. When the management treats women as equal to men then the rest of men in the company take this as an example. In our company, we are very lucky. In Formula E we have already seen three female drivers and we have Simona de Silvestro on the grid this season. This shows that not only in a work environment but also in sports competition women can compete in male driven environments. Let’s hope we will see more female drivers in the near future.”
Is it really difficult for women to earn a name in motorsports or is it just an old fashioned myth?
“Today in 2016, I believe it is an old fashion myth. Nowadays, both men and women need to work hard to build a career and to be recognised. I also think that we should not compare women to men anymore. As long as we consider ourselves equal, people around us will perceive us equal.”
Would you like to share some words for those girls aiming to make her way into motorsports?
“There is no secret: work hard, be passionate about what you are doing and you will succeed.”
Image courtesy of Carina Furtunescu and FIA Formula E