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Renault e.Dams Sporting Manager Grifnée: “We are still scarce”

Renault e.Dams Sporting Manager Caroline Grifnée took the time out of her busy schedule to talk about her role within the team, her working environment and the importance of women in Formula E.

Your role is very significant for the team. Could you please describe it for the fans?

“I am the Sporting Manager within the Renault e.Dams team, engaged in Formula E with our drivers Sebastien Buemi and Nicolas Prost. That means I’m in charge of everything related to the sporting regulations of the championship and I have to ensure respect is paid to the application of these rules. I may be required to report the actions that have not been seen or recognised by the Race Direction during sessions and thus be called to the Stewards to discuss and argue the facts but above all defend, sportingly, the interests of our drivers and the team.”

“On the other hand, the championship is very focused on marketing communication, therefore drivers’ time must be shared between media activities and work with their engineers. Therefore, in collaboration with those in charge of these activities within the team, I manage the drivers’ timings and liaise with their engineers to ensure their presence at the briefings, technical debriefing and so on. Although I am not their mother and they are professional drivers, I try to also keep an eye on their comfort so they have good conditions to deliver to the best of their potential.”

Do you think Formula E offers more opportunities to women than any other series?

“Although we are increasingly present in such male environments, it is true that on the sporting, technical and mechanical sides, we are still scarce. However, the championship was well thought through … It offers fantastic drivers and a great level of competition. It is also attractive to the general public who can participate by voting, through social networks, for their favourite driver to grant them an extra power boost, called the FanBoost. Therefore, each team strives to enhance their drivers through the media and it is frequently on this side that we find women in positions of Marketing Manager, Communication and so on – there are so many women integrated into the teams and it is very positive.”

The team is doing well in the championship and has shown that it is very united. What are the best things about working for Renault e.Dams?

“The combination of individual skills and experiences built up through all these years through many championships, led by Jean-Paul Driot who is the Team Principal of Dams and and co-owner of Renault e.Dams. These include success in the GP2 Series with Romain Grosjean, Davde Valsecchi and Jolyon Palmer all winning the championship just as well as strong years with Kevin Magnussen und Carlos Sainz Jr in the Formula Renault 3.5 championship. All these helped to create and develop a fantastic working environment within the team.”

“On the other hand, working with Alain Prost, 4-times world champion in F1 and emblematic of Renault, is also very rewarding because he has a vision and knowledge of the world of motorsports. Along with the sharing of skills and experiences of our two patrons, we work with Renault, who through their experience as an engine manufacturer – among others – offer real expertise and know-how that meet today our only goal common: win races!”

And of course, Formula E has taken you around the world. What are the places that have blown your mind the most?

“Organising these races in the most beautiful cities of the world has to be what impresses me the most. The public are not necessarily made aware of the constraints that the FEH organization, the FIA or the teams face. Achieving these races at the 4 corners of the world, associating exceptional drivers and car manufacturers, developing new partnerships and relaying these events through different media is an innovative package and a win. “

Finally, do you see yourself as a role model for women aiming to make it to the motorsports world?

“I do not see myself as a “role model” but I have been a part of this community for over 15 years and if it allows women to realize that working in motorsports is possible and accessible in terms of being highly motivated and passionate, I shall be delighted.”

Image courtesy of FIA Formula E