top of page

Jacobine van den Berg: My Motorsport Life

Read our latest guest blog from Dutch motorsport fan Jaco! Don't forget to subscribe for more content too...

We have to go way back to my earliest introduction to motorsport, which is a story my mum

recently told me. I can’t believe she never did before but I’m glad she did.

She told me that me and my family used to go on vacation to the south of France every May.

Funnily enough, it seemed to always fall on the weekend of the Monaco Grand Prix. We stayed in the cute little town of Menton, which is only 10 kilometres away from the beautiful street circuit in Monte Carlo.

For qualifying or race day we usually would go to the beach, and if I am to believe my mum, we could hear the Formula 1 cars racing from 10 kilometers away. This is something I can’t remember myself as I was only very young.

But, how cute is the idea that Little Jaco (I still am though, the people who met me can confirm

this) heard racing cars for the first time in her life?

Sport was a huge part of my childhood, as the only girl in the family there was never a time

when we weren’t watching or playing, and even my mum was a huge fan of several sports.

Jump to the 15th of May 2016 - whilst scrolling on Twitter there seemed to be a buzz around a young Dutch man called Max Verstappen. At this point I had no clue who he was but something

intrigued me - he was apparently about to rewrite Dutch motorsport history - I couldn’t miss out.

The next thing I did was a search for a stream hoping to catch the last laps of the Spanish Grand Prix. Even though it was a very low quality stream, that didn’t matter at all; I was able to see it.

The last few laps that I caught were amazing and very nerve wracking to me. I can’t imagine how this race must’ve felt for big Formula 1 fans.

Something I will never forget was the truly iconic commentary when Max Verstappen crossed

the finish line. Our Dutch commentator Olav Mol was emotional and I clearly heard him breaking

down in tears - that’s when I knew that this was a beautiful moment in F1 history.

After Barcelona, I decided to watch Formula 1 full-time and ever since I haven’t missed a single race.

My first ever race weekend was in 2017 at the Austrian GP, the GP with the first ever Max Verstappen grandstand. The Orange army atmosphere was amazing until Fernando Alonso crashed into Max Verstappen in the first corner - because of that crash we never saw him passing our grandstand during the race. Still, whenever I see that grandstand on television, I get goosebumps. It’s so heartwarming to see that a small country like The Netherlands can be so big in supporting our driver.

For the last few years I have also tried to follow other race categories like Formula 2 and

Formula 3. I have fallen in love with these categories. Watching the next generation of racing

drivers learn and develop is truly amazing. In the last few months I have been following IndyCar

too. This is very exciting, but I can’t watch every race due to the time-zone differences.

Motorsport can be so beautiful, but I hate to admit that the big downside is that we often forget how dangerous and cruel it can be. Last year there was a moment when we were painfully reminded again how the sport can take a massive curveball with Anthoine Hubert’s accident. Everytime the drivers step into their cockpit, they put their lives at risk. Please don’t forget that every time you turn on a race.

There is a subject that bothers me about motorsport too, as of today stereotypes are still

present in the way people react whenever you tell them that you’re into motorsport. They assume it’s for the handsome and rich men or they say that it’s JUST not for women.

Me and so many others are an example that us, women, can love motorsport too. Being

ashamed and afraid of judgement is unfortunately a big problem for a lot which is not fair at all.

Claire Williams who recently stepped down from her leading role at Williams is someone I

looked up to. She was such a big inspiration, showing me that women can be in a male-dominated sport. Claire may not be there at the paddock anymore, but good things are

happening for the female future.

The FIA is running a campaign that focuses on Girls on Track or Women in Motorsport. Big female names like Susie Wolff and Tatiana Calderón can call themselves ambassadors. This is a great initiative and so important. The beautiful platform that Helena and Mhairi have founded with Females in Motorsport is also an amazing way to shine a big spotlight on females in the business.

Recently during the 24 Hours of Le Mans there was a first ever full female line-up with Tatiana

Calderón, Beitske Visser and Sophia Floersch - they did very well and I couldn’t be happier to

see that.

We know that F1 is a male-dominated, tough and hard sport with only seats available for the

best drivers around. With Tatiana Calderón as a test driver for Alfa Romeo, I can only hope that

we will see the day that a female driver will make her official Formula 1 test debut. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Writing is something I love to do but never did it before since I never had the experience or a

study in writing being a graduated Medical Assistant. Ever since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, I started writing about medical related subjects on my own blog. My goal was to write about subjects and hopefully inform people in an understandable way.

It’s in my nature to always strive to follow my dreams and to do things I love. That’s why I recently started writing about racing too! I’m so happy and proud of the way I stepped out of my comfort zone to share my stories about Formula 1 and racing in general with people. This is something I always wanted to do but never had the confidence for because I never had an education in this. I’m so thankful I eventually took the step and did it.

If you read this, and you have a dream to do this too, go for it and don’t look back. Only by doing it, you get to find out if it’s the right thing for you! You’re not alone and we’re in this together.

Being a medical assistant gives me a lot of value in my life, especially in times like this during a

pandemic when I realise I’m essential. But so far I really enjoy expanding my love for motorsport by writing about it too. Isn’t that all what we would want to do? Making your hobby into work?

Time will tell if there’s a future for me in the motorsport direction and I know that practice makes perfect! That’s why I really want to thank the ladies from Females in Motorsport for this opportunity of being a guest blogger!

Follow Jaco on her socials here.

If you want to tell our community about your motorsport story, comment below or get in touch with us via email or our social media pages.


bottom of page