On the occasion of the 75th running of the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, Females in Motorsport spoke with Emilia Capasso, Motorsport Marketing Manager at Pirelli Motorsport, about her professional career in the industry and why she loves working for Pirelli.
Back when Emilia was young, she never thought to be working in the motorsport industry as her plans were originally different.
"When I was a child, I wanted to be a doctor as l have always been interested in all things related to medicine," Emilia tells Females in Motorsport.
But then, when her family moved from Naples in the south of Italy, to Modena, she took another path and decided to study law. Modena is known worldwide for its car heritage, in particular for the presence of the formidable Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 Team in the town of Maranello, based in the south of Modena.
The automotive influence of Modena got to Emilia, who found herself working for the important Italian sportscar manufacturer.
“While studying law, I started working for Ferrari,” she says. “Firstly as a hostess for events, then in their one-make series Ferrari Challenge.”
Her career stint at Ferrari stopped for a year and a half as she obtained her master’s degree in law and she started to work for another company as a recruiter.
Ferrari called her back when they learned about her new position to give her to cover their recruitment department and she did so until she realised she wasn’t enjoying her role, despite being good at it.
Luckily, all the stars were aligned and she got amazing new opportunities from there as she joined Ferrari’s Marketing & Communication team for a couple of years and then ended up working in Formula 1.
“Initially, I was scared of flying, so I refused the role but then I accepted it,” Emilia says. “I had to take more than 15 flights a year for eight years so in the end I got used to it.”
She started in 2009 with two roles - Sponsor Account and Hospitality Manager - and she did both jobs until 2014. For the following two years, Emilia left the hospitality and became a Senior Sponsor & Partnership Account.
“I was managing seven Scuderia Ferrari partners [which included Santander, Hublot, Bell, Sabelt, Oakley and Puma],” she says. “It was extremely instructive to me because I learned so many things, in terms of statistics, production and planning.
“In the end, my law degree has been so useful in my job. I did spend a quarter of my work doing contracts so the benefits of that degree came back to me, even if back at the time I knew it wasn’t my path.”
After spending a large part of her professional career working for Ferrari, Emilia decided to move forward and accepted a new challenge working for Pirelli.
“In 2017 I joined Pirelli and I never regretted this choice,” Emilia says.
The Italian multinational tyre manufacturer has its headquarters in Milan. This meant leaving the small city of Modena and moving to the second most-populated city in the country for Emilia.
“At the beginning, I used to stay in Milan from Monday to Friday and then come back to Modena to spend the weekend with my family,” she says. “Then I realised I wanted my life to be in Milan so I bought a small house and I started living my life there. I was really surprised to see how in Milan you can reach any place easily. Big cities offer plenty of opportunities.”
At Pirelli, Emilia takes care of all the activation and events of the tyre manufacturer in two racing series: Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe and the FIA World Rally Championship.
She has been, in fact, the key member of Pirelli’s hospitality project, Casa Pirelli, the new “on-track house” for all Pirelli’s staff and guests which is at every track and every championship they’re part of.
“We usually take two days to put together the hospitality when we arrive at the track,” Emilia says.
Emilia was eager to tell us that the Casa Pirelli project has been one of her favourite ones to work on.
“I’ve started it from nothing, just a pen and a piece of paper to try and give shape to my idea,” she says. “I had to understand what all the departments of our team wanted to have in the hospitality.
“For example, someone needs an office or to have a screen close to them to record all the timings, another staff member needs to have a counter of a certain length so after knowing all the needs from all the state quarters, you have a long list of things and you have to put everything together on a drawing.”
Emilia adores working at Pirelli and cherishes each and every work day.
“Since I joined Pirelli, my mindset has always been to achieve the goal,” she says. “My colleagues always complain that I’m never happy but it’s because I don’t want something to be good enough. I want excellence.”
Her job is all about challenges. To achieve the goals, there are many steps to follow in detail - from the planning to the brainstorming and the achievement if everything went the right way.
“The satisfaction you have when you achieve the goal is indecipherable,” she says.
Emilia, as mentioned before, works also for the FIA WRC, the world's highest level of rallying competition and there are many goals on that championship for Pirelli.
“We’re working on the awareness of the championship and the participation of Pirelli in WRC,” she says.
“All our activations aim toward this goal and to try doing more activities with the drivers in our hospitality.
“Here [at the 24 Hours of Spa] my goal is to make our guests happy. If they smile, say thank you, that they had an amazing day, or that the experience was funny and interesting, the goal is achieved for me.”