These are some of the key tips we share with junior single-seater drivers aspiring to build a career as a professional racing driver.
Knowing when you need management
If your objective is to race in Formula 1, Formula E or another Tier 1 motorsport, you should already have management. Depending on your stage of development, the extent of management you require will vary. Furthermore, every driver is different and has different career management needs. Therefore, you should identify your areas of weakness and seek management that has the network and resources to turn those weaknesses into strengths. Ask yourself:
- Am I driving for a team that has recently won the driver / team championship?
- Am I sufficiently hitting the objectives of my sponsors for them to sponsor me next season?
- Am I networking often enough to expand my career opportunities and win new sponsors?
- Am I building a growing fanbase and going the extra mile to engage with them?
Understanding motorsport investment
The motorsport industry thrives on the passion of billions of fans around the world and significant investment from sponsors, manufacturers, broadcasters and other organisations. The smartest racing drivers realise early on that all of these parties will play a role in the success of their career.
Too many drivers think the priority is speed and money. Sure, those are good priorities to have, but speed and money are the product of sporting talent and commercial value. Therefore, everything hinges on your ability to make good strategic decisions to develop your sporting talent and commercial value. Without these 2 things, it becomes almost impossible for drivers to build a fanbase or secure investment that can fund the career of a junior driver and feed him/her into Formula 1, Formula E or another Tier 1 motorsport.
Whether you have management today or not, ensure that you have a crystal-clear strategy on how you're going to get from A to B in terms of developing your sporting talent and commercial value. A comprehensive career management strategy should also address the steps being taken to build your fanbase, win sponsors, secure manufacturer backing and garner media coverage.
Identifying your USPs
You need to be aware of your unique selling points - USPs? Everyone has unique qualities about them, but knowing what yours are and using them to your advantage is essential. To prompt some ideas with an example, ask yourself what you feel the USPs are of Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen. Their USPs define why fans like them and why sponsors and manufacturers decide to work with them.
If your USPs are not immediately obvious to you, speak with someone from the motorsport industry to get a second opinion on what your USPs are. You probably have more than you think! Once you've identified your USPs, they should become integral to your branding, communications and activities with your sponsors. In order to standout from your competition, it's your job to promote your USPs to full effect.