Steph Wentworth: "It’s getting better for women of colour and I’m happy to champion that cause"
Why did you decide to go into motorsports media?
I kind of just fell into it, I started the YouTube channel at the beginning of the delayed 2020 F1 season. I wanted to talk about F1 to people, there was nobody in my life outside of my immediate family that watched motorsport. It was great because I built this community of people to chat with and it was great to be so connected to these great content creators I was working with. I honestly didn’t expect to go into a motorsport job or have anything related to that. But a month after I started my channel Jack Nichols, the Formula E and BBC 5Live F1 commentator, found me and told me to apply for the Formula E talent call.
It kind of blossomed from there, I went to the Goodwood Speedweek with Aurora Media Worldwide and did a screen test with them. That was the first time I thought that I could actually do this. Then Jack put me in contact with Gemma and Louise at Loudspeaker Agency, who signed me up and it snowballed from there. They do all the heavy lifting for me, they find the jobs and tell me when and where to go and I just turn up and make sure I know what I’m talking about. Really, they’re the brains behind the whole operation. It was definitely not expected, but now I’m here and loving the ride.
It was definitely not expected, but now I’m here and loving the ride.
What has your biggest highlight been so far?
I think the biggest highlight has to be presenting for Track TV at the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix. That was my first race with F1, I was meant to be doing the Spanish and Portuguese Grand Prix but they were in lockdown so that didn’t end up happening. I didn’t know if I was going to Brazil in the end until I got the confirmation a week before. I was so excited to go because I couldn’t for my year abroad. It was such a challenge as well because I was doing it all in Portuguese. Doing a job for the first time is hard enough in a native tongue, I was honestly so nervous, but it went really well and it gave me a confidence boost to continue presenting. If I can present in a different language on F1 TV, then you bet I can present anything in English.
Do you have a favourite person you’ve ever interviewed or worked with?
I don’t know who it is. I had a great time with Daniel Ricciardo, we were only together for twenty minutes, but he was just so cool and complimenting me. As soon as he came over he was like, “I’m Daniel”, and I was like, “I know, I’m Steph”. This was in Brazil, so I was switching between languages for the fans when talking to hi and Lando. After the interview we had a little chat and he was like “your Portuguese is so good, are you Brazilian, you are so awesome.” I remember talking to Natalie Pinkham as well, and her saying that Daniel mentioned me and he loved me, it was mad. He was exactly how you’d think he’d be, so nice, so genuine and involved and interested in all the people around him.
What has your experience as a woman of colour been like in sports presenting?
It hasn’t been bad, I haven’t had any horrific experiences. It’s just quite an isolating journey. Lewis Hamilton has been the only black man in the history of F1, and he’s talked about how lonely of a journey it is for him to walk because there’s nobody else around him going through the same thing. It’s great for me because there are women with me doing a fantastic job, Ariana Bravo, Derin Adetosoye, we’re all going through this journey together. The one thing I do notice is that when I walk into a room, I’ll be the only person of colour there, potentially even the only woman there. That’s a jarring experience because I don’t see myself in everybody’s shoes and that’s quite isolating in a sense.
There have been a few comments here and there about women not knowing about sport and how there’s no place for me in F1, but I think I’ve made it quite clear to those people that I’ve managed to forge this journey for myself. There have been overwhelmingly more positive experiences for me Thant there have been negative. I don’t know if it will continue that way, but it seems that the majority of the F1 and sports media community are much more open to the idea that we need diversifying. It’s becoming a much better place for women of colour and I’m happy to be championing that cause.
...the majority of the F1 and sports media community are much more open to the idea that we need diversifying