When the concept of Formula E was created five years ago, the world of electric motorsport was somewhat unknown. Since the inaugural season, the popularity of the series has grown hugely, however for those working in the championship from the first year, how successful it would become was also not known. Lauren Robinson has been with Formula E since the beginning with her first role as an Operations Assistant, before progressing to becoming a Senior Event Manager. She told me about organising races, travelling the world and her love of motorsport.
With sport having played an important part in Lauren’s childhood, it wasn’t until she was older that motorsport began to become a real passion. “Sport has always been a big part of my life, in particular hockey and horse riding. I became interested in motorsport at a later stage after watching an F1 grand prix on TV aged 14 or 15 years old,” she said. With her wanting a career in an industry that would offer her the opportunity to work abroad and travel the world, it became clear to Robinson that racing could be the answer. “Working in motorsport was an idea that came when I was in my early twenties through a family friend, it seemed to tick all the boxes in terms of travel, experiencing different cultures, and being a dynamic and challenging work environment,” she explained.
Having heard about a new championship through her interest in Formula One and being in the process of looking for a new job, Lauren explored whether Formula E could be her opportunity to work and travel around the world. “I visited the vacancies section on the Formula E website and immediately applied for the vacancy of Operations Assistant. I joined in April 2014 and the rest as they say is history!” Robinson told me. Having joined as an Operations Assistant, Lauren has since progressed to her current role as a Senior Event Manager. Working in the Events Management department, the team are responsible for the organisation of every E-Prix. “We are responsible for managing the interest of all stakeholders in the project whether this be the championship promoter, the operator, the city officials or the government in each location that we hold an E-Prix. The key part of the role is making sure the event is delivered to meet the standards and deliverables expected by each of the stakeholders. This is quite a challenging juggling act at the best of times. Before the beginning of the season, each Senior Event Manager will be assigned particular E-Prix. For season five, I take the role of Event Director for the Hong Kong E-Prix and for the Monaco E-Prix,” she explained.
With her role involving her managing many different aspects covering the E-Prix weekend, Lauren’s position involves a lot of travel both for the event and in advance during the off-season. “I travel regularly with my role whether this be to visit the locations and stakeholders of the E-Prix for which I am Event Director or whether I travel to other E-Prix to support my fellow Event Directors with the delivery of their events,” Robinson said. However, there is quite a difference between her responsibilities at and away from the track. “Trackside, work is normally more intensive and physical due to the proximity in time to the event date. It’s all systems go and you’re dealing with the common complexities and issues that arise when organising an event. However, there is no better feeling than when the podium ceremony comes to a conclusion and everyone is celebrating the success of the event. By comparison, work life when back in the office is less physical but tends to be more of a juggling act due to the numerous projects you will have on the go which include the events you are organising, season-long projects and also general championship projects,” Lauren told me.
Having joined Formula E for its inaugural season, what to expect from the championship was unknown to both those working in it and motorsport fans. Being a new series did have an effect on her role, however this wasn’t the main difficulty. “I would say this was a factor in the beginning, however the greater challenge was being the first fully-electric championship in a world of fuel! However – if anything – it’s made us tougher as a team and more determined to make this championship a success and prove not only would we grow but we would become one of the leading championships in motorsport,” Robinson explained. Although each of her positions with Formula E comes with difficulties, she also finds this is what makes her role rewarding. “The challenges are also the reasons why I enjoy this job, I wouldn’t be here if it was easy. The challenges come from the multiple variables you are dealing with on a daily basis and the nature of the industry that is events and motorsport. I have learnt that the unpredictable can happen and often will, whether this be good or bad. You just have to make sure you have planned properly, have a solid team around you and know you can keep a calm head when the unpredictable happens!” she said.
After spending the past 4 years with the championship, working in three different roles, there are two races that particularly stand out to Lauren as momentous experiences from her motorsport career so far. “These two are the London E-Prix as it was my first experience as Deputy Event Manager. The event was challenging but I wouldn’t change my experience for anything. The second race is Monaco E-Prix as it was the first event I organised myself as an Event Director. I am not an emotional person but as soon as the cars went out on track I ran into my office and had rivers of tears running down my face – all from the relief that I had delivered a race!” Robinson described.
Lauren Robinson joined Formula E as an Operations Assistant before progressing to Deputy Event Manager and then Senior Event Manager. Through her interest in F1, she discovered Formula E and after looking for a new job, decided this could provide her an opportunity to work in the industry she loved. Speaking of the advice she would give to others who may want to work in a role similar to hers, she told me: “think outside the box in finding the role you want. There are many opportunities with race teams, championship promoters but also with leading global suppliers and partners of the championship.”