Uralkali Haas Formula 1 Team’s Alysha Lane: “It’s reading the situation and knowing the dynamics"
For the past two and a half years, Alysha Lane has been an integral part of the Uralkali Haas Formula 1 Team, managing three key areas: the factory facilities, team and driver kit and the guest experience at the race track.
“It’s quite an unusual job in the sense that it’s evolved over the years that I’ve been at Haas,” Alysha tells Females in Motorsport. “It’s not necessarily a job that teams would sit and put together.”
Alysha first started her time at Haas on a six-month maternity cover, working in the travel office. However, that quickly evolved and she took on additional responsibilities and her role is now Guest and Facilities Coordinator.
“We have a base in Italy and it was a lot of business travel between there and the UK that I would look after,” she says. “Then I also did a bit of on the ground support, heavy lifting in terms of packing stuff and organising everything.
“At the end of that period, they kept me on as a facilities coordinator, having full management of the team kit and then it transitioned into doing the trackside guest programmes too.”
A race weekend programme can vary for Alysha at the minute, and that’s predominately down to the Covid-19 pandemic. Typically, she flies out with the engineering group on a Wednesday and uses Thursday as a preparation day.
“I get all the lanyards ready, working out how and where, distributing passes and chasing people to make sure they’ve got their Covid tests before they arrive,” she says. “I also make sure that catering is aware of what’s going on. We have a team meeting too where we go through who we’ve got coming so everyone knows who the important people are.”
When the action on the track begins, this too varies to how hospitality used to be set out in a pre-pandemic world.
“At the minute, we only really have guests on Saturday and Sunday,” she says. “In normal times, we’d have a different group each day. But now we stagger and have a shorter day with them on Sunday by having lunch with us and then watching the race.”
Currently, a Saturday is the busiest day for Alysha with sorting the guest’s Covid tests, organising garage tours and then a driver meet and greet too.
“There’s a lot of movement,” she says. “I’m doing trial and error at the moment to see what works. As I do the team kit as well, I’m very hands-on with that too. If we have a new sponsor, I can be found in the corner with a driver suit and a needle and thread, sewing patches on.
“I do quite a lot of sewing actually! Name patches on pitstop suits or emergency onsite clothing repairs.”
Outside of being on location at a grand prix weekend, Alysha manages the team kit for Haas employees. At the beginning of the year, she will have an intense month of organising, ordering and distributing.
“You get to know the team members and you get to best guess things,” she says. “However, the sizes aren’t the same year on year and a large, for example, might be a bit on the small side.”
Alysha also sees this aspect of her role as a great way to form relationships with the Haas drivers: Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.
“It’s a really great way to build a rapport with the drivers by doing their team kit because it really helps on the guest experience side too,” she says. “They know me and I know them. I’m able to go over to them and introduce them to people. It does really actually help my relationship in both elements of my job. They get the team kit and the guests are happy.”
Alysha makes an interesting point that she’s one of the few people in the team who knows everyone. This helps with getting to know all the different roles and responsibilities that people have and how this translates over a race weekend.
“Everyone’s jobs are different and everyone has different points in a day or race weekend where they have a lot of pressure on them,” she says. “It’s reading the situation and knowing the dynamics of the team. It’s really important.”
Having studied Event Management at university, Alysha furthered her education by undertaking a 12-month industrial placement at Porsche. Working at their Experience Centre at Silverstone, she discovered that she enjoyed her time spent around motorsport.
“That’s where the motorsport thing started for me,” she says. “I was at Silverstone every day and I thought this was quite cool! I wasn’t 100% on it - I came out of uni not being like I absolutely have to work in motorsport.”
Her placement year, in her eyes, was the best thing she could have done in terms of her professional development.
“I learnt more in that year than I did in the three years in the classroom,” she says. “Even just with things like dealing with people in a real-world environment. I had worked a part-time job in a restaurant before that, but this was my first time in a corporate environment.
“As a young person coming out of university, it’s a big adjustment. I’d be lying if I said it was easy. It did take some learning and I learnt a lot that year. I definitely did make some mistakes but that is what a placement year is for.”
Her lasting advice for people wishing to work in motorsport is to be prepared to get knocked back and Alysha recounts the different jobs she applied for before being offered the role at Haas. Aside from that, it’s developing a thick skin.
“Sometimes you just have to take things on the chin,” she says. “It’s a stressful environment, people will probably always say things in the heat of the moment whilst they’re doing what they’re trying to do. I don’t even think that’s the case for just motorsport - it’s sport in general. You have to have a thick skin because it’s a very pressurised environment and everyone deals with that differently.”
You can find current career opportunities available at Haas here.
All images are courtesy of Uralkali Haas Formula 1 Team.