Communication has evolved into a direct channel between teams and the thousands of fans that follow them. Daria Marina, WRT's PR & Communication Officer, has been in this industry for over 15 years, and we at Females in Motorsport chose to interview her to provide you with a glimpse into this crucial role.
Daria Marina entered motorsport by accident. She initially didn't want to go to the rally event that had launched her career but smiles as she recalls it, perhaps aware of how significant that moment was for what was to follow.
"It was love at first sight, and that's when I realised what I wanted to do in my life" she tells Females in Motorsport. "I worked in practically every racing category, from rally to F1.”
She started as a freelancer, helping with accreditation in the media centre. She then started translating articles and providing website support, although her studies had nothing to do with that. “I did psychology at university,” she says. “It really helped as in my final year I picked sports and advertisement psychology.”
Although her course of study appears to be unrelated to her current career, Daria reveals how much this education has helped her.
“Every area in motorsport is involved with psychology as it helps in understanding people,” she says. “In communication you have to be a psychologist every day!”
Daria also owns a small communications agency which offers public relations services to drivers and businesses, primarily in motorsport but also in other fields but her role at WRT occupies most of her time.
“I'm doing it all by myself,” she says. “The most important thing is to stay focused and control your emotions. The trick is to be able to manage yourself so that you can give your all to the team.”
Team WRT is currently competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship and GT World Challenge Europe. In 2021, the team entered an Oreca 07 in both the FIA World Endurance Championship and the European Le Mans Series, and won the LMP2 class in both championships as well as the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Many people still don't understand what goes on behind the scenes or how important Daria's job is for the team, especially in an era where news travels at the speed of light across the internet.
“Before race week begins, I meet with journalists and plan the media schedule for the drivers, the Team Principal, and any team member who’s requested for an interview,” she says. “I tend to stick to the media timetables, which normally involve interviews, filming, photo shoots, meeting up with hospitality guests, and other media-related activities.
“After each session, you’re expected to provide information to the media, from pictures to driver’s statements.”
And, if this still doesn't seem enough, Daria adds: “And, of course, I also take care of our social media and website!”
Daria's depiction of her usual week is significantly different from what the general imagination appears to perceive. We frequently encounter clichés that portray these professionals' lifestyles as dreamy, ignoring their constant separation from home and their tight and ever-changing schedules. That’s where the mere presence of other women on track, according to Daria, becomes fundamental.
“When you spend so much time at the racetrack, it’s important to have other female operators to have a moment together and share our emotions,” she says.
We were totally fascinated by her dynamism and her ability to handle so many different things, so we asked what her secret was.
“You have to be super proactive,” she says. “You can try to prepare yourself as much as you can, following your media timetable but you’ll never know what could happen.”
That’s what she finds most captivating about her job. When you work in PR & communications, you never know what could happen and you have to be ready anyway.
“No one is irreplaceable, so networking becomes really important, as well as your reputation, in order to reach the level you want to get,” she says. “Networking is rather fundamental not only inside the paddock but also outside of it, with media and journalists. I could never stress enough how important it is to have a good relationship with the media if you work in this field.”
As we were so fascinated about her story and determination, we asked her what advice she would give to young women who aspire to a career like hers.
“Fall down. Stand up. And do it all again,” she says. “In motorsport you could fail, but you should never stop. Start your career as soon as you can, build your character to be the strongest and stubborn version of yourself.” she says.
“One day you’ll fail and when this happens you should be able to keep going despite the failure. Not only in motorsport, but in life in general. You need to set up the goals and understand where you want to be, and then just go for it. Be stubborn and keep going.”
Daria is a professional in her field: you can see it in her eyes and in her always relaxed and composed voice, which she uses to manage the whole communication of a constantly growing team in the endurance world. A true professional, as seen by the zeal with which she delivered her final piece of advice, pushing each of us to bring out our true character and to use our voices to assert our own rights.
Images are courtesy of WRT Team