top of page

Steph Turner: “Each role in motorsport is just as valuable as the other”

Immersed in Formula 1 from a young age, Steph Turner fondly remembers growing up with motorsport in her life. Now working in FIA Formula E, her lifelong passion for racing has led to a full-time job in Race Marketing.

At university, Steph studied Modern Languages with Management, a degree which consisted of French and Spanish, alongside business-related modules. She graduated in 2016 and, at the time, was far from considering a career in motorsport.

“I immediately discounted it just because of where I’m geographically placed,” she tells Females in Motorsport. This decision came when she realised that most Formula 1 teams are based in the Midlands, and without exposure to many other series, her options seemed limited. “All I knew was Formula 1 and I didn’t consider branching out of that, which a lot of young people who want to work in motorsport get trapped in.”

It wasn’t until after graduating that she realised there are a wide variety of roles in motorsport, including agencies, freelancers, and partners. It’s not all about working specifically for a Formula 1 team.

When Steph began looking at potential career opportunities, there were very few resources with information about the array of available roles. Now, with an ever-changing industry thanks to the rise of social media, more resources are readily available. To Steph, this type of change is absolutely vital in encouraging the younger generation to see that a career in motorsport is totally viable.

“No one talked about getting into the industry, it was all a secret,” she says. “It felt like this fancy world that you needed to have a secret key to be part of.”

Five years later, her opinion has changed: all thanks to the rise of resources like Jennie Gow’s webinars, Formula Careers and the Girls on Track UK initiative.

“There’s lots of stuff out there now that just shows the breadth of opportunity that’s available,” she says. “You can find someone you relate or look up to and want to follow in their footsteps.”

At one point in school, Steph wanted to be a doctor and, although it was a distant thought, she considered becoming one of the medics who travelled to the races.

In 2018, it clicked for her, and that’s when she realised, “I have to do this.”

Before motorsport, Steph worked in financial services in sales as a graduate, then moved to a small marketing team, dealing with clients from various industries. She worked, voluntarily, with F1 in Schools and worked at their world finals in 2019 before moving to Formula E.

“There’s different opportunities that I’ve been given that really added up,” Steph says. “F1 in Schools gave me my first opportunity in motorsport. Even though it was work experience, it was so valuable.”

Steph also worked on a project with Rob Smedley – at the time, it was known as Electro Heads, but now goes by Total Karting Zero – and she worked on devising a marketing and partnerships plan for his electric karting championship. The exposure and experience she gained were vital for Steph to continue working through the ranks.

Alongside Ariana Bravo, whom she met at a Dare to be Different event, Steph presents the Driven By Diversity podcast, which gives a platform to underrepresented individuals within the motorsport industry, allowing them to share their stories and experiences.

“The lack of representation of minority groups in motorsport is no secret,” Steph says.

"In 2020, there was suddenly this global appetite for the subject, and myself and Ariana thought we really need to take this opportunity to, while everyone is now ready to listen, really push this forward and highlight the lack of representation in the industry we are so passionate about.”

Feeling compelled to do something around the time of the murder of George Floyd and the rise in the BLM movement, Steph went to Ariana with the idea of the podcast. With Lindsay Orridge setting up Driven By Diversity – the brand itself, the initiative, the organisation – the podcast became a place to shine a light on those from underrepresented backgrounds, providing them with a safe space to share their personal stories.

“We can inspire and empower the next generation to pursue a career in motorsport,” she says. “Letting them know that there are already people in motorsport who represent them, who look like them, who have similar life experiences to them.

“Each role in the industry is just as valuable as the other. Without one, the other wouldn’t work.”

Steph highlights the importance of her previous roles – from working in motorsport as a volunteer to her paid jobs in marketing – in helping her reach her goal of a full-time career.

“All experience is good experience,” she says.

When she joined Formula E in 2021, Steph initially worked in Brand Marketing, but after just four weeks, she was presented with the rare opportunity to join the Race Marketing team, which she couldn’t turn down.

Essentially, this consists of working closely with the racing product and local markets. The Race Marketing team at Formula E has three core objectives: to make people buy tickets and drive event attendance, to generate local awareness in the cities which will hold Formula E race events and to ensure as many people as possible in the country of a particular race is watching the event on television.

Steph works with promoters or local teams to devise and plan marketing strategies to generate awareness of events and, in a nutshell, to make sure that people are either attending the event or watching it on TV.

“I want to spread my passion with everyone and bring as many fans to the sport as we can,” Steph says. “Marketing our sport is one way we can do that and allow people to experience motorsport first hand.”

Working in Race Marketing is fast-paced and Steph feels excited about working with different markets and teams. Internally, she and her colleagues work with teams like Event Management, Event Experience, Partnerships and Communications.

Steph too highlights the importance of working closely with the Ticketing team due to their mutual objectives relating to maximising event attendance and she often attends race weekends to ensure everything runs smoothly.

“As a female from a minority background, I’ve never been impacted by the lack of representation in the industry,” she says. “I don’t feel any pressure in my role because I’m a woman. As long as you go in, own it, know what you’re doing and boss your job, there’s no reason to worry. People won’t look down on you immediately because you’re a woman.”

When looking at the resources available after Steph graduated compared to those available now, she knows that there has been a huge change over the past few years.

That change will be vital in inspiring the next generation of not only women, but anyone and everyone who aspires to work in motorsport.

“Just having that visibility, whether that be through a blog or through a podcast or on a webinar, showcasing women in these roles and the amazing jobs that they can do just acts as holding out a hand to the younger generation of females and showing them that it’s completely possible,” she says. “It doesn't matter what your gender is, nor what your background is full stop. You can do it.”

You can follow Steph’s adventures in Formula E on Instagram.


bottom of page