Journalism is a challenging industry; it is tough and sees a lot of battles between individuals. For me as a female journalist, the experience has been a rollercoaster in the male-dominated sector of Formula 1.
Formula 1 is a crazy world. Things happen fast, just like they do in anything which involves journalism but it is faster when the topic you write on is cars travelling around a circuit at 300 km/h.
My career in F1 hasn’t been the longest, but my experiences have been somewhat brilliant. I started at 16, and this teaches you a lot. I had to figure out ways to be able to grow myself. I understood that it would be a long journey of practising before I got anywhere professionally.
Being younger, it was a lot easier than it is now. Likely because I was naive towards how hard it would be to be a reliable journalist.
When writing about F1, as a female journalist, encountering sexism isn’t rare. It is sadly, somewhat familiar. A small number of people will try to act like I don’t know what I’m talking about merely due to my gender. I have been told to “leave it to the experts” because I criticised Fernando Alonso going to Renault.
But sexist experiences don’t stop me from wanting to carry on. It just helps me understand that I will come across these people during my career. When a woman writes about an overly male sport, there is an expectation that they will come across such behaviour at some point. I was aware it would happen, and 2020 was when it happened for the first time.
As I said, you expect to encounter it. But, regardless, it is still an unpleasant experience. It feels like more and more women are watching F1, as well as women who write or create content about the sport. It is exciting because no woman should be afraid of covering a sport out of the fear of sexism. I wasn’t, and no one else should be too.
The most challenging part of my career has been recent. An adverse event became something overly optimistic. It is always a significant risk to put out an article on a possibly unpopular opinion. That’s what I did.
I have learned that it is a good idea, despite the fact you can receive negative feedback. Putting an opinion out can change people’s thoughts. In F1, there is a stigma surrounding specific topics and putting yourself out there is so crucial to stand out.
It was a big moment for me the moment, the likes of Karun Chandock, Will Buxton, Jennie Gow and Andrew Benson all started tweeting support for my article and talking about the topic and how it was interesting to write about. These names might not be significant to others, but in F1, they are names most people know.
For days I was in shock at the traction my article got, but then you almost have to start getting used to it. Being a journalist on sports, you have to sit and let people talk about their opinions. Understanding that people are going to disagree and debate is all part of the experiences I have had.
Breaking into Formula 1 as a woman can be one of the most challenging tasks people can face, actually breaking into most male-dominated sports is. But my experiences so far, have opened me up to growing and gaining so much opportunity. Which signifies that anyone can do it because I have come a lot further than expected even though I am a female and dyslexic.