Automotive journalism can be a very detailed and complicated world with writers having to be incredibly knowledgeable about new and vintage cars alike. Add to this trying to navigate the F1 paddock and all the goings on both on and off track, and it can be quite a juggle. I spoke to Rebeca Alvarez about her work with Auto Bild Spain and Top Gear España, interviewing Ralph Schumacher and working in her dream industry.
Like many others now working in the industry, Rebeca’s interest in motorsport began at a young age. With her family owning a local garage, this was where she was first introduced to the automotive world. “I don’t know why but I have always been attracted to motorsport,” she said. “I love animals and there were always dogs in the workshop, so I used to go there after the school to play with them so I spent a lot of time hearing about cars. I can’t remember exactly when my passion for motorsport began, but maybe that’s one of the reasons why petrol started to run through my veins.” However, it wasn’t only her love of racing that started in her childhood, having always had a passion for writing. “Reading and writing have always been my passions. When I was a child, I used to read anything: books, newspapers… I remember that I could only access to the children’s library but motorsport books were in the adult’s department, so I asked my mother to get them for me. I loved to write too! I never had any doubt when I had to choose my career: journalism was the one and only option,” she explained.
With Alvarez’s interest in writing and motorsport, it wasn’t until she was studying at university that she wondered whether combining the two could create her perfect role. “When I was studying, I wondered: ‘if I love writing and I love cars, why don’t I try to mix the best of both worlds to get my dream job?’. I wanted to specialize in motorsport by studying a Master’s in Motorsport Journalism in Barcelona but by the time I got my degree, it was not available anymore,” Rebeca told me. Instead she chose to study a Master’s degree in Communication Management and following it, she was approached about an internship at Auto Bild Spain. “It was the motorsport editor who wrote to me to know if I was interested in this opportunity. Believe me, I remember that day as one of the best days of my life! It seems I did well because after my probationary period, I was hired,” she said.
Having been with Auto Bild Spain for over 5 years, her role is now as an editor and so has changed a little since she started as an intern. “I’m an editor and that means that I have to keep either the website or the magazine updated with the most interesting news about new cars launches and motorsport events. This is a very international role so most of the time I’m out of the office, traveling around the world to attend world premieres, test drives or meetings,” Alvarez described. A lot of the work that Rebeca does is either Formula One or Formula E based, however with particularly F1 having an intense schedule, it is difficult for her to attend as many events as she would like. “The automotive world is always on the go and due to that, I can’t follow the whole F1 championship from the paddock: that requires too much time and almost full dedication to it! I always try my best to be attend the most important races in Europe, like my home race in Spain, Germany or Italy. Formula E is a whole new world for us and it is very important to be there in some key moments, like testing days, in order to understand how the teams are working on this project and how electromobility is going to hit our roads,” she described.
Since 2017, Alvarez has also been working for Top Gear España after the magazine was acquired by Auto Bild Spain’s publishing company Axel Springer. “They asked me if I wanted to be part of this new project. It was wonderful to be given the opportunity to work for one of the best-known motoring magazines in the world. My role is almost the same as in Auto Bild, with the difference being that you don’t write for the same target group. Therefore, you can’t treat the information the same way,” Rebeca told me. Working with both publications means she is able to write articles and do interviews with a range of people from the motorsport and automotive worlds. One of her standout interviews from her career so far was with famed F1 photographer Ercole Colombo. Speaking of the meeting, she said: “fortunately, most of the people who work in this world have amazing things to tell, especially because you can see in their eyes and in their words the passion for what they do. I was in Monza and was lucky enough to interview Ercole Colombo. He has lived such special moments and it was amazing to talk to him about Enzo Ferrari and Gilles Villeneuve, people with whom he worked very closely.”
Despite her interview with Colombo being an amazing moment, there has been another meeting which has risen above the rest, and this was speaking with Ralph Schumacher. “After talking about professional stuff with him, we chatted about how important his brother was for me when I was younger. Michael Schumacher was my teenage idol and I dreamed of working in Formula 1 and being able to interview him in German. In order to get that, I started to learn the language when I was just 14 years old. Unfortunately, in 2013, Michael’s accident happened, but it felt so good to talk about it with Ralph. We finished the meeting smiling,” Alvarez explained.
Rebeca Alvarez has always had the aim to combine her love of motorsport with her passion for writing and journalism. Since 2013, she has been working in the industry having begun interning for Auto Bild Spain following her university studies. Now combining this with writing for Top Gear España, she is continuing to carve a successful journalism career in the motorsport industry. Rebeca’s advice for others wanting to work in a role like hers would be: “first at all, be patient. Sometimes motorsport seems to be a very unfriendly and exclusive world but if you love it, I’m pretty sure it will love you back! Read as much as you can about cars, see any kind of racing championship, show your love for what you do and be aware that if you finally get to work in the industry, most likely you will spend a lot of time far from home, family and friends. It will be worth it, trust me, because in the end you will get another big family: the one who works doing the same as you!”
Photo credits: Rebeca Alvarez