To mark International Women’s Day, Females in Motorsport spoke to Anna Rota, the Press Officer for the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. Rota is one of the many inspiring women who work in the male-dominated environment of motorsport.
“I’m Italian and was practically raised with pasta, bread and Ferrari so I’ve always been very fond of motorsport,” Rota tells Females in Motorsport. “Sunday lunchtimes were absolutely for Formula 1.”
This passion for motorsport, formed around the family kitchen table, encouraged Rota to apply for a job in motorsport after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism.
“I was looking for a role in PR and communications so I decided to send my CV through,” she says. “If this goes well, then this is meant to be!”
Formula E was granted FIA World Championship status in the 2020-2021 season, and this year plans to deliver its longest calendar to date. The all-electric single-seaters and these green credentials drew Rota’s attention when she was applying for the role.
“I thought that it would be so nice to be a part of a championship that literally races against climate change,” she says. “This is so close to our generation. I’m 25 so I’m part of the generation that’s very vocal about this issue and wants to make a difference.”
As the press officer for Formula E, Rota’s job is intense and requires her to have a wide range of skills.
“A press officer has to have a 360-degree vision in terms of what’s happening in the championship, partnerships, commercial obligations, stakeholder involvement and driver commitments,” says Rota.
“In terms of hard skills, you need writing, creative and administrative skills…Soft skills all come down to how you portray yourself and how you put yourself in the world.
“Being open, communicative and engaging are all definitely required.”
This job consists of extensive travelling but, for the Italian, that’s all part of the appeal. From visiting megacities like Hong Kong to witnessing racing in the capital city of her home country, Rota knows that she’s incredibly lucky to combine her three biggest passions: PR, motorsport and travel.
“It is a big part of the job and it isn’t easy, however, it’s what excites me - getting on that plane knowing that you’re going to a new destination,” she says. “It’s something that I wouldn’t swap for anything in the world.”
Building relationships is an important aspect of being a press officer. In her role, Rota has to work closely with all the drivers and teams in Formula E.
“To anybody who is struggling with breaking the ice, come out of your shell and make it clear that you’re on the same team,” she says. “You’re there to work together and grow the championship.”
Thankfully, some things have changed since her childhood days of watching Formula 1, like the shift in gender diversity.
“When I was little and used to watch F1 on TV, there weren’t many women in the paddock,” Rota says. “Every time I arrive at the track locations, I see more women walking around. It’s incredible and it makes me so proud of how far we’ve come.
“With us being there and making it in such a male-led environment is something that should be cherished and celebrated every single day.”
The 2022 Formula E season began in January in Saudi Arabia with the next race - Round 4 - happening in Rome at the beginning of April.
“I may be biased, but being able to race in Rome, the Eternal City, around those neighbourhoods, is absolutely incredible,” she says. “That is racing in city centres, that is Formula E and Rome has to be my favourite race.”
As part of the championship’s efforts to promote women in motorsport, Rota recently participated in the FIA Girls on Track event at the Mexico City E-Prix, giving young girls a tour of the media centre and providing them with an insight into her work.
“When we walk in the paddock, it’ll be normal to see women thriving and having fun,” she says.
All 16 rounds of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship will be available to watch on Channel 4 in the UK, whether live or on highlights programmes.
All photos are thanks to Formula E.