An open letter to any girl that wants to work in motorsport

To ______,

If you want to do something, that isn’t what someone else thinks is right. Do it anyway. Take the risk. Because if you don’t, you’ll live the rest of your life asking questions that you would otherwise be answering for yourself.

Stop hesitating, stop doubting, stop comparing.

I never had someone encouraging me. Never had someone telling me to do whatever I wanted. I was always living this structured life that all of your school teachers advise you to live and instead of having them inspire you in doing whatever you want, you have them telling you to do something the way a book says. But, life is not a book. It doesn’t always have a happy ending, not everyone sticks around until the end, good people and bad people are hard to identify and you never know what can happen.

But what will happen is entirely based upon what you do right now. So that pause, that hesitation, will define what happens to your future.

I parted ways with a former employer a few months ago. I was drained. I was exhausted every single day, of every single week. I was keeping secrets. I was put in the middle. I was put in a position that made me the most uncomfortable I have ever been.

What I thought was a good opportunity, was one of the worst jobs and one of the worst experiences of my life. But it took me so long to admit to myself that I was unhappy because I was doing what I wanted and if I’m being completely honest, it still makes me uneasy today.

Not everything you do will be positive. You somewhat need these types of experiences to learn. Perhaps not to the extent of what me and my former colleagues dealt with. You do however need times that are rough because it’s how you develop your personality. It’s how you build your strength and how you understand your weaknesses.

I learnt that sun-cream in foreign countries – for me – is ineffective.

On the flip side, you will find people that you consider friends just as troublesome. For example, days ago I had someone claim I only spoke to them because they worked for a national sports broadcaster. He mistook my genuine friendliness for flirtation. Which I have to admit, is becoming a common trait – which is rather sad.

To quote said person: “I’m just saying. You want to know me when you think it’s useful. Rest of the time, you can’t be arsed,” which was followed by “If I didn’t have the job I did you wouldn’t have even given me the time of day.”

Not that I feel the need to defend myself, but as few of my friends will be able to confirm, this is wholly inaccurate.

I always get comments like “you don’t seem like the type of girl to like motorsport.” Can you imagine their reaction when I tell them I play football, too? It’s because there’s still this ideology [big or small] that girls and boys have to do different things, whether we want to admit that or not. There’s a reluctance to fully accept gender equality. Though admittedly, this doesn’t apply to everyone.

My advice? Prove them wrong. Show them why you should be considered just as anyone else. Be the person that inside you know you are. When you’re 80-years-old and chatting away to your grandchildren, it’ll be so much better so say “I can’t believe I did that,” than “I wish I did that.”

Had I not quit college – I would not be in University. I would not have met half of the people that I have. I would not have travelled. I would not be doing what I’m doing now. I would not be fulfilling the person I am or the life that I want.

This whole “the heart wants what the heart wants” quote doesn’t just relate to your love life. It represents you. If you’re not being yourself, then who are you? You can dream big, but live your life bigger. Not everything you want happens when you close your eyes. So go out and get it because hard work pays off. It isn’t instantaneous, but everything happens for a reason. If it’s not this time it’s because something better is waiting for you, you just haven’t noticed.

The most important thing is that people are going to love you, hate you, be unsure about you; but make sure that they spell your name right.  Because then, either way, you win.

From Kate x


It isn’t just ‘drink driving’

Before I delve into this post, I want to pop in a little disclaimer. I’m not bashing drinking in any way – Sambuca and I go together like milk and cookies. But I’m also not bashing the sponsors or the social activities that come with alcohol. I am, of course, a student and won’t hide the fact that socially drinking is about 40/50% of what I do in a year. No, really…

The aim of this is to change the perception of how people are reacting to the open letter to Jean Todt from Eurocare’s secretary Mariann Skar. She argues that alcohol and driving should not be mixed, which is a fair point considering that on average, 3,000 people are killed or seriously injured each year because of drink-driving collisions.

To say “it’s just an advertisement” is not only hypocritical (with the ban of cigarette branding) but it’s also naïve. Do I think a logo encourages people to go out and specifically buy that drink? Yes. A sense of nostalgia and thinking I was a Bond girl made me to go and get some Martini. Do I think a logo encourages people to go out and specifically buy that drink and then drive after it? No.

But the fact is, people do. People think that because they’ve only had one or two drinks, they’re fine. There’s a reason several countries have now inflicted the zero tolerance rule. It’s because no matter how little you think you have had and no matter how much of a good driver you assume you are; alcohol changes the blood level in your brain making your reaction times a lot slower, your balance shifts and your judgement is impaired. If drink can give you the confidence to chat up someone in a bar, it can very easily manipulate the way you drive. Just one sip will linger in your body for two hours.

Ask yourself this; would you trust someone driving if they had previously had a drink that night? If the answer is yes, I think you’re mad. If your answer is no, why would you drive yourself if you have had a drink?

This is coming from someone who has had to deal with an alcoholic parent for the last six or seven years. It’s not as clear-cut as just ‘drink driving’. It’s not just the mad-men that you see on Road Wars on a crap Saturday night. It’s failure to stop when someone is walking over a zebra crossing because they were too slow to see them. It’s the not stepping hard enough on the brake pedal because they are substantially weaker. It’s the weaving across the road because their brain can’t focus on the lane that they are in. Lines are jagged, things appear closer or further away, colours merge together and so on.

Have you had to be driven somewhere by someone either severely hungover or still drunk from the night before? Maybe you have. But what about when said person has been drinking all day from the moment they got up? Perhaps not. It’s scary. You are literally a passenger with no control. Which is why I hate flying so much. But with a drunk driver, you can see how slow they are to react to a red light, to speeding up or down, to changing gears. And if they encounter a round-about; well that’s almost as hard as if they were taking an exam.  

Alcohol alters your reaction time. It slows everything down. It doesn’t matter if you are a good person, it doesn’t matter if you are a great driver. You could hurt someone. You could hurt yourself. Your friend could be hurt. Your family could be hurt. The next time you’ve had one too many and you start slurring your words and laughing at your total mess, imagine yourself driving a car. Because that’s the sort of lunacy that people do. It doesn’t damage just one person, it damages their friends and family too. Imagine the guilt of the person, who for that split-second, thought they’d be able to drive home without any problems.

By association, F1 is almost endorsing the association of alcohol and driving. Whether you admit it or not. Why would Heineken for example, pay out £150 million for it to not make an impression?

They are not forcing a drink down your throat, nor are they telling you to drink drive. But advertising alcohol whilst ‘Bernie says think before you drive’ is total hypocrisy. And actually, someone who is about to even consider driving after a drink clearly cannot think at all, let alone drive. If you don’t endorse drink driving, why allow the main factor to be showcased so much? If it’s just ‘drink driving’ perhaps you should go and say that to the hundreds of families who have lost loved ones because someone thought it would be a good idea to just ‘drink drive.’

Please stop referring to it as “just a logo” or “only idiots drink drive.” Because whilst both are true statements, it’s so much more than that. It isn’t just a thought for some people. It’s a moment of misjudgement. It’s a spur of the moment idea to get home. At that moment, the last thing they think about is other people or the chaos they might cause. All it can take is to accidentally run a red light. But when alcohol is involved, there are no accidents. There’s just the consequences of what a misjudgement can do.

It may be my bias and because of my experiences. But to me, alcohol branding in F1 is so much worse than that of cigarette. What’s just a logo to you, is an idea to someone else. In hindsight we’d all say it’s stupid, but for the wrong person at that one moment it’s a somewhat unconscious decision. Alcohol controls the way you think, the way you speak, the way you act. It will dictate the way you drive. Don’t assume otherwise. To associate smoking with athletes was wrong, but to associate drinking with the pinnacle of motorsport is stupidity.

Why motorsport journalism?

I somewhat stumbled on motorsport journalism by accident. It was never planned, it just sort of sprung out of nowhere; not that I am complaining. After seeing my fellow Zoom Auction colleague, Katy Fairman, do a post similar to this, I thought I’d share my progress, too!

A few years ago, after struggles with my anxiety, I was in a bit of a black hole. I had no options, no goals and actually, no dreams. I had nothing. I didn’t know who I was, my mind wouldn’t let me discover my personality. I was in a rather sorry state for a 17-year-old.

The problem we all face, is that we’re all forced to make a career decisive move at an age where we’re only just figuring out who we are. There’s no class in school where you learn how to handle tax or mortgage, or real life problems that we all should know about. I didn’t learn how to handle finance until University where I didn’t have a choice. And I made the rookie error of over-spending way before Christmas so was deep into my overdraft. At no point in my life, will I ever need to know about the cells in a leaf. Or that if you mix this with that it does this. As interesting as it was, schools and colleges need the real life scenarios for kids to learn. College for example, is supposed to be the last step until you reach life as an individual. But it’s far from it.

I left college because I was studying a course that I lost interest in. I had the problems with anxiety too that was severely hampering my attendance and I’ve always told myself; if you’re unhappy with something, change it. So I dropped out after a year. In hindsight, I probably should have finished the course. Something to fall back on perhaps, because counselling/social work is something I always wanted to do as a teen. Advice is something I’d like to think I’m good at because of my past experiences.

Blogging was very new to me. A girl who went to my school did a lot of fashion blogging and it inspired me to do the same. No, I am not a fashion guru. I can never really be bothered to be fashionable. But, I did blog about Formula 1. I was never a skilled writer. I had extra English help pretty much until Year 10 in school. I was blogging about things that I now deem as boring, like race reports and qualifying reports, the snoozefest posts if you like. But this caught the attention of website owners and it stems from there. You never really know who is watching.

I had a careers talk with an advisor and before I knew what was happening, I was starting University. In January 2015, I did my first event as ‘media’ at the Autosport Show and met some of my closest friends in Katy and Teagan. I have never been on my feet as much in a weekend, but, all for a good cause.


If I’m being honest with you, I never wanted to be a writer. I’m still not sure if that’s really what I want. As I said, it sort of sprung up out of nowhere. I have never cared for news writing. I never will. It’s dull, it’s boring and I am not a gossip so finding the newest stories won’t ever appeal to me. I like feature writing. I like the freedom of being able to write about whatever you want, or interviewing whoever you want. I love in depth interviews with people like Sir Jackie Stewart; where you can really delve into it and listen to full on novels from his day and not get bored.

After Autosport, I attended the annual Zoom Charity Auction where I was introduced to Christian Sylt and Caroline Reid. They have changed my life. The charity is wonderful, it’s such an honour to be able to say I am a part of it. When they asked me to go to Monaco for its inaugural ePrix, I was stunned. Me? Are you sure? But they had full confidence in me and the weekend was phenomenal.

Walking through the tunnel [with Katy] every day to get to the track got better each day. Monaco is as beautiful as you think. It is a pain in the arse to navigate when half of the roads are closed and I’m sure I probably walked the length of the country on race day, but, it’s beautiful nonetheless. I also interviewed Alejandro Agag on his private yacht, interviewed Paul Di Resta too and had drinks with Freddie Hunt. I’m not sure the weekend will ever be bettered. My favourite moments were when Jack Nicholls practiced his signature on his arm but with permanent marker, and when Bruno Senna told Vitantonio Liuzzi his photo was “sh*t.” See more pictures from that experience here.


A few months later and I had been published in The Independent, The Times and Sunday Express… Oh, and I was on a flight to go to the Austrian Grand Prix. So many people in this industry take this F1 lifestyle for granted. They don’t realise how lucky they are. They don’t appreciate how glamourous this is to your average fan who stands outside the paddock gates hoping to see their favourite driver. Yes, motorhomes are just glorified caravans essentially, but they’re damn pretty and it was in Austria where I realised that no matter what, I want to work in F1. For the past three years, regardless of being a ‘journalist’ I always sit trackside and watch an F1 race as a fan. Waste of money some would say. But I don’t care. I don’t want to lose the passion I have for this sport. I don’t want to forget why I’m doing what I do – like some journalists. I don’t want to be so fixated in a job that I stop enjoying it. In a sense, I don’t want to lose who I am. So I go to Silverstone every year, without fail.


I have been on social media for years. I have met some of my closest friends through Twitter. I’ve seen its rise, its positives and its negatives. But the motor-racing community are the best bunch of people you will ever come across. Yes, some can be a bit daft on race weekends, but I’ve never been in a position where I can truly talk about the sport I love. No one from my school watched it. Or if they did, I didn’t know them. My best friend, Leanne, is the only one who I could watch it with (other than my family.) The ‘F1 family’ as I remember it being referred to, is a community that I’m happy to be a part of.

The nice chaps at Mercedes also asked me to visit their factory before Christmas. Apparently, I’m pretty good at social media. I’ve never seen a place so clean. It was such a fantastic environment and I had some good chats with the others there; even those I didn’t know. I also took home some free Monster energy cans. You may think that it’s lame. But I had a strawberry flavour one that I had never seen before (who doesn’t love strawberries?!) – despite the fact that I hate energy drinks. Has anyone else drank vodka and Red Bull so much, that after so long any energy drink just tastes like there’s vodka in it when there’s not? Just me?

This year so far has had its ups and downs. I took a heavy hit in January, but I’m still standing and I’m flying off to Paris this weekend. I wasn’t going to speak of that in this post, as I did a more personal one here, but I just wanted to tell you, that you can never give up. Whatever life throws at you, pick up a bat and hit it away. Home runs are always cool – Wii Sports taught me that. I went to the Zoom Auction again in January and despite being a bit worse for wear, had such a blast with Katy (my apparent partner in crime) and some new friends in Fatema and Lucy.


Journalism in news form may not be for me, but I’m happy to go down the features and PR route which is what I’m doing. New adventures for me. Always keep those good vibes – hard work pays off. Very thankful to have had the chance to work with who I have and even luckier to have become friends with a lot of people because of this industry.

“I don’t have dreams. Just goals. Now on to the next one” – Harvey Specter

F1’s dysfunctional relationship


Picture courtesy of Darren Taylor

You know when you’re having an argument with someone and you realise that you just cannot be bothered to even fight your case anymore, so you just sort of roll your eyes and say “whatever” just to shut them up? That’s a strange, yet accurate comparison to F1’s governing body and its strategy group. A very dysfunctional relationship, that even marital counselling could not recover.

In a weird twist of events that saw the old qualifying return for a matter of hours (yes, Katy Perry’s ‘hot n cold’ song comes to mind), a letter from the GPDA and a response agreeing with the said letter from Bernie himself, the new elimination qualifying is back for another trial; albeit unchanged. Move over Ross and Rachel, this relationship is far more complex than you ever were.

The Australian Grand Prix weekend was heavily let down by the rushed inception of this new format. The race itself was a good opener and if Ferrari had played the game right, it may have been a different victor crossing the line first. Max Verstappen also qualified in fifth, not that anyone noticed because we were all too busy slating this new system; not many even congratulated Lewis Hamilton for his stunning lap. Both of those performances shadowed by a monumental mistake, that potentially could have been avoided if 1) they hadn’t rushed or 2) they didn’t even try to alter it.

That being said, I do grudgingly like the idea of the elimination qualifying. No, there isn’t a problem with the old system, but, whether you admit it or not, a whole bunch of you disliked the old version when drivers were sat in the pit lane or when they didn’t go out at all. As someone who has sat trackside for a few years, there is nothing more boring than sitting in the rain or sun with absolutely nothing on the track in front of you, apart from a stray marshal or bird if you’re lucky. Talk about excitement…

In a previous blog post, I spoke about another idea for this qualifying, read that here. But, from a lot of deliberation, most people were fine with Q1 and Q2 – though, the 90 second intervals need to be increased more than anything. It is Q3 they have a problem with. A lot of ideas stem from using the old version of qualifying in the final qualification, but after a lot of thought, I don’t think it would make much of a difference. The whole tyre conservation will just come to play, again. Surely you want to see a Dany Kvyat or a Nico Hulkenberg having a go at beating the usual top four? They are not likely to waste a tyre trying to beat a time they probably won’t top.

What we want is a shock. Like you get in some wet qualifying sessions. Someone to get their timings wrong and someone to get it spot on. Someone to make the jump onto the softer tyre and spring a surprise catching others out.

The system should have been simulated hundreds of times before Australia, that’s blatantly obvious. It was a shambles, a mess and embarrassing that our sport came up with that idea. On the other hand, I think they’ve laid the foundations down. Now it’s time to build on it. Formula E tried something new with their super-pole – it worked.

I think Q1 and Q2 should stay as the elimination form, with the adjusted time intervals. I also think the graphics for viewers needs to change. A big countdown clock needs to be on the screen somewhere with a noise to count down the last ten seconds. I don’t think drivers should be allowed to finish their lap; if that was the case, qualifying would last too long and there would just be a train after every knockout.

Esteban Gutierrez was on a lap that would have promoted him to fourth in Q1. But tough; he should have gone out sooner. Simply put, they were told that they’d only have 90 seconds and you can’t finish the lap. Don’t blame the system for your mathematical error. Gene Haas even admitted to knowing where the team went wrong.

Q3 should be a one-lap shoot out. It should last for about five minutes, so no one has time to mope around in the pits and it should be compulsory to set a competitive lap time. You’re probably thinking “er, what?” but, picture that system in Monaco or a wet Canada. I don’t know about you, but I am rather bored of all of the conservation in Formula 1. I want them to go all guns out and show us what they can really do. F1 is supposed to be the fastest sport in the world, so let it be that. These drivers are supposed to be the fastest drivers in the world (debatable), so let them show us. If they lock up? Tough. If they run wide? Tough. If they screw up? Tough. That’s the pressure and intensity of a one-lap shoot out.

The other option I see, is scrapping Q1, Q2 and Q3 and just having one 45 minute qualification like GP2 and GP3 have. Every two minutes a driver is knocked out until it’s just the final eight left out on track to do their final lap.

Bahrain will probably be the exact same as Australia, there’s not really a doubt about that. And it’s all well people like me having a good grumble or suggestion, but if the GPDA can’t even make a difference, then there’s no hope for anyone else.

“If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Flawed Qualifying system thoughts

Its been four months since we last saw the V6 hybrids colour our TV screens. The anticipation of the new season dawned on us all, and after pre-season testing the wait for the AusGP was on.

In it came, all guns blazing, a new qualifying system and an updated radio ban for us to all think about. A rushed major change that was brought in, in the hope to spice up Saturday’s action (a question I’d like to know who was even asking in the first place.)

The previous system was never bad. It was actually rather good. The only real issue was the dull moments of when the drivers and teams were sat waiting in the pitlane. I’m 99.9% sure, the fans sat trackside in the rain didn’t pay over £100 for nothing to happen. Moments like those were caused by the tyre rules. Why waste a tyre in Q3 when you could start on fresh rubber of your choice in the race?

Should Pirelli and the FIA allow teams to take and use as many tyres as they want? The drought of cars on track during Q2 and Q3 would be as good as gone – since there’s no advantage for not going out. Plus the strategy in the race would hot up, with the big reveal happening as soon as the tyre warmers come off five minutes before lights out.

Picture it: LH on pole, starts on super softs. Seb in 3rd, takes the gamble and starts on softs. It’s a strategy game that often spices up GP2’s Feature Races. Sometimes it works, sometimes it fails and sometimes there’s no difference.

I like the elimination form. But it needed more work. The panic to get it started for this year has uncovered more flaws. The 90 second intervals aren’t enough. Tracks like Singapore are nearly two minutes long alone so there’s not a time to reply. That needs to be upped to almost two minutes, to allow for another lap – to allow for the response. We want the “here’s what I can do, now it’s your turn” mentality. Not the “oh but if we don’t go out and stay 12th we have the tyre option for tomorrow.”

Most of us seem to like the idea of it. It’s just Q3 was so anticlimactic that suddenly it’s the worst bodge job in the history of F1. I didn’t know a sport could just pick and choose its regulations event by event, but there you go. If F1 axes it straight away, it’s nothing more of an embarrassment.

If anything, Q1 and Q2 should be kept as the elimination form. It is exciting. Imagine if Manor had got their timing right, who knows, they could have sprung a surprise.

Q3 either needs to be a one lap shoot-out, with the final eight drivers only getting one timed lap. Or, with the help of unlimited tyres, see how the elimination format works with that. They need to at least try something else. If we all failed at our first try we wouldn’t be where we are today.

What do you think?


Race Week London Competition

Courtesy of GP Management, I have a pair of tickets to Race Week London on Tuesday the 30th of June to give away to a lucky winner.


Race Week enters its second year and its 6 acre site in the heart if London will be home to F1 cars, drivers and stars alike as they gather to celebrate the glamour of motorsport in a garden like party.

As well as a never before seen 360 degree immersive experience, RWL will display some of the worlds rarest F1 cars including Jenson Button’s McLaren-Honda and James Hunt’s M23.

The festival will give guests the chance to race against F1 drivers in a genuine F1 simulator. With memorabilia and other luxury brands on show there will be plenty of entertainment, including live Q&A’s from F1 team bosses and drivers throughout the day.


The centerpiece of Race Week will be the revival of the historic cricket match played in the 70’s by legendary F1 drivers such as James Hunt and Niki Lauda. This year will be even more nostalgic with the opposing team fielded by the cricket charity The Lord’s Taverner’s who formed the stellar opposition in the original game. The highest scoring player from that original match, none other than Sir Michael Parkinson, will be our honorary umpire on the day!

RWL Features ;

– A concours of classic and modern F1 cars.

– A revival of the historic 1974 F1 drivers cricket match set up by James Hunt and Niki Lauda, featuring family, friends and relatives of the original 11.

– The other cricket team will be fielded by The Lord’s Taverner’s, the original opposition in the 1974!

– Black Book Race Forum, with Motorsport industry leaders attending

– A festival of motorsport in the heart of the city on a 6 acre historic site

– Auctions and fundraising for the leading disability sports charity The Lord’s Taverner’s.

For your chance to win; ensure you are following @katehewif1 on twitter and like katehewif1 on Facebook and simply share this post on either form of social network – Good luck!


Monaco ePrix experience

The last time I went abroad was three years ago with my friend, Laura, when we went to Ibiza. However a couple of months ago, I had an email from my friend and colleague Chris suggesting a trip to Monaco in aid of his charity, “Zoom”. Most of you reading this may only recognise the name because of its association with Formula 1, but this year Chris and Caroline decided to move the idea forward and have a similar event for the brand new series, Formula E.

Zoom allows drivers, key personnel and personalities to take photographs of absolutely anything to then auction off in a bid to support its participating charities. Zoom raised thousands of pounds for Great Ormond Street Hospital back in January for its F1 event, and hopes to do the same for the Prince Albert Foundation and One Drop. Though instead of auctioning off the signed images individually, the Formula E snaps will be put in a collage and sold as one big image instead. Be sure to check out @ZoomAuction on Twitter for a glance at some of the photos including Nelson Piquet Jr’s underwater selfie!

Obviously, I forgot to replace my cameras SD card so I was without a camera on the Wednesday. Nonetheless I took lots of photos that I thought I would share. It’s almost like the Monaco you don’t see on the TV with cars racing around its streets.






















Did you watch the Monaco ePrix? What did you think?