Aston Martin - bird-small
Feature

#IAMSTORIES | VOICES: Matt Bishop

Swapping an issue of a football magazine for Autosport sparked Matt Bishop's love of motorsport, taking him on a journey that has given him a front-row seat for some of the most exciting moments in Formula One history.

#IAMSTORIES | VOICES: Matt Bishop

Now Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team’s Chief Communications Officer, Matt was previously the editor in chief of respected publication F1 Racing and became a mainstay of the Formula One world in the mid-1990s.

A 10-year stint with McLaren meant Matt was present as Lewis Hamilton made history against the odds in Brazil to win his first World Championship in 2008.

Matt was also one of the founding staff of the all-female Formula 3-level championship W Series, which launched in 2019, before returning to Formula One with Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team ahead of the 2021 campaign.

Matt is the latest interview in our exclusive #IAMSTORIES | VOICES series. He shares his experience of being at the centre of one of Formula One's most famous moments, and how he was inspired by Lawrence Stroll to return to Formula One.

#IAMSTORIES | VOICES

Matt Bishop on 25 years of living and breathing Formula One

From the drama of the 2008 Brazilian GP to joining Aston Martin's return to the Formula One grid. Matt Bishop has been at the very heart of some of the most memorable moments in Formula One history. This is his story, told in his own passionate words. This is #IAMSTORIES | Voices.

#IAMSTORIES | VOICES: Matt Bishop
#IAMSTORIES | VOICES: Matt Bishop

"I first fell in love with motorsport in 1972. I had a subscription to a kids' football magazine called Shoot as part of my pocket money.

“I went to the local newsagent to pick up my copy of Shoot. And on the newsagents counter, I saw this magazine called Autosport. I said to the newsagent: ‘Can I swap Shoot for Autosport?’. He said: 'Of course you can'. So, I took home Autosport instead. I was hooked.

"The first type of racing I wrote about, believe it or not, was greyhound racing, because, in my misspent youth, one of the jobs I had was [at] a bookmaker - as a betting shop manager.

"And then I was headhunted by [publishing house] Haymarket to become the launch editor - or the second editor, they had a fledgling editor for the pilot issues - of F1 Racing.

"That was in 1996, so I've skipped through a few years now. I was 34 then, and that was me full-time in Formula One. I've barely had a waking thought that wasn't about Formula One over the past 25 years.

"I was communications director of the McLaren team in 2008. 2008 was, and probably always will be, one of the most dramatic seasons of Formula One.

"Felipe Massa won the race [in Brazil]. As he crossed the line, he was celebrating his race win at home in Sao Paolo and his World Championship. And then, unbeknown to the Ferrari guys, while they were celebrating their win, we suddenly saw that Lewis [Hamilton] was going to overtake Timo Glock's Toyota. On the last corner, of the last lap, of the last race of the year. You couldn't make it up, could you? And he did it.

"As he did it, we just rushed across the pitlane and up to the pitwall and saw him go past in P5. Felipe Massa thought he was champion for 40 seconds. But he wasn't. Lewis Hamilton won the World Championship.

"It was the most extraordinary experience and really one of the greatest days of my life still.

"As I was taking Lewis from TV crew to TV crew - in that extraordinarily congested, euphoric for us, Interlagos paddock - suddenly crawling through the legs, and between the bodies of the cameraman and the interviewers and the journalists, was Felipe Massa: 'Congratulations Lewis'. Well, how about that for proper sportsmanship?

"I joined Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team in January, and I'd been out of Formula One for a little while. I was made aware that Lawrence Stroll, obviously the Chairman of Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team, would like to see me.

"He said: 'I would like you to come and work for us, as our Chief Communications Officer'. Having been absolutely inspired by the way he talked about his ambitions for the team, and his mission to make it successful, the answer yes came very, very fast.

"I don't know when we will be successful, but I do know we will be successful."

#IAMSTORIES | VOICES

Jessica Hawkins

#IAMSTORIES | VOICES

Otmar Szafnauer