Since joining the ABB Formula E World Championship all the way back in season one, the ROKIT Venturi Racing Formula E team has established itself as a force to be reckoned with, both on and off the track. Not only does the team boast a successful record of race wins and podiums, but they’ve also made great strides to promote topics around diversity, inclusion and mental health.
One of the key members of the ROKiT Venturi Racing is Team Manager, Delphine Biscaye. Delphine, who’s originally from France, joined the Formula E team six years ago and has held her role ever since.
“I’m very passionate and committed to my work,” Delphine tells Females in Motorsport. “It’s the competition I like, it’s not the cars, I’m not a big fan of cars, outside of work.
“As a Team Manager, people often ask me ‘what is it that you like most about your job?’ and I would say the human side, but it’s also the most difficult part because you basically live with twenty-five other people for five days and everybody has a different personality and reacts differently to stress and pressure.”
For Delphine, being a Team Manager is therefore a balancing act between her management duties, which include: managing the relationship between the team and the sport’s governing body, the FIA, reviewing rules and regulations and helping to coordinate freight travel and logistics, and the more human side of her role, which sees her interacting with a variety of stakeholders (from Team Principal, Jérome D'Ambrosio, to the team's engineers and mechanics).
“A big part of my role is making sure that the team is communicating well and to try and minimise frustrations or misunderstandings,” she says. “It’s part of my job to make sure that everyone is respecting each other and interacting well as a team.
“It’s a really interesting aspect but it can also be challenging because you’re tired and you have your own emotions to deal with too.”
Unlike many other roles in the motorsport industry, there’s no ‘how to guide’ on becoming a Team Manager, but similar to others who hold the same title, Delphine has a rich background in engineering that took her all the way to Formula 1 and eventually Formula E. However, this wasn’t always the plan.
“When I applied to go to engineering school, I picked mechanical engineering and when I arrived at the interview everybody, was talking about motorsport,” she says. “So when they asked me what I wanted to do, I just said ‘well I want to work in motorsport’, because I had no real idea.
“At the interview, the teachers told me that there are very few positions available in motorsport and they highlighted that there are very few women, so it won’t be easy but to be honest, this was the best motivation for me - I love a challenge!”
Not only did Delphine accept the challenge, she fully embraced it, applying relentlessly to placements and roles in the motorsport industry. One of these roles found Delphine entering the design office at the Williams Racing F1 team. Looking back, Delphine can identify some key differences between the championship she started her motorsport career in and the one she now calls home.
“The main difference is the timing and the format of the series,” she says. “In Formula E, things are much quicker, it’s all in one day, and you have maybe one hour between sessions. By the time the session finishes and you’ve done the debrief, you’re already in the strategy briefing for the next session.
“We’re also really limited on the number of people we have in the team. We can only have 17 operational staff that can touch the car and work on the data, which is a lot less than F1. You don’t have time to test and try things, otherwise, the day is gone so you have to be a lot more reactive and opportunistic. Therefore creating a dynamic and a working culture in which people feel comfortable to take risks and try things is essential.”
Aside from the unique formats of both championships, Delphine also recognises a difference in the atmosphere of the Formula E paddock, in comparison to its V6-powered counterpart.
“Formula E is really family-sized,” she says. “Most of the people in the paddock have been there since the first or second season. It’s usually the same faces, so we start to know each other quite well.
“There’s a really good atmosphere. If you need something like brake cleaner or you're missing a common part of the car, then you go to the next garage and ask the chief mechanics and it’s all really friendly.”
Within Formula E, ROKiT Venturi Racing holds a reputation for inclusivity with Susie Wolff transitioning from her role as the only female Team Principal on the grid to the CEO of the Monaco-based team.
Alongside their efforts to promote women in the motorsport industry, Venturi has also launched successful campaigns centred on LGBTQ+ inclusion and several key personnel (Delphine included) have talked openly about mental health and the pressures of working in motorsport.
“On one side we’re proud of it and on the other side, it’s natural,” Delphine says.
“As a woman in motorsport, it’s always been good; I’ve never had any issues with men, and I’ve never felt that they were acting differently with me.
“But I’m also proud of our team because we’re showing a good example to young girls and to everybody else that you can do it. If you’re a woman and you want to be in motorsport, it is entirely possible.”
To finish the interview, Delphine closed by giving some advice to young women who aspire to follow in her footsteps and enter the world of motorsport.
“Start as soon as you can to familiarise yourself with motorsport and build a network and then don’t stop until you’ve tried everything,” she says. “When I applied to Williams, I sent a letter and then I called them again and again and again.
"I hassled them for three months straight and, at some point, they told me to come to England. That’s how I got my first F1 placement - by being tenacious.
“You should not stop before you’ve tried everything. If it doesn’t work, at least you’ll have no regrets as you gave it your all. If you really want to do it and you give it everything you have then you should not be scared or ashamed - go for it!”
Images are courtesy of ROKiT Venturi Racing.