"It doesn't matter your background or what communities you're a part of, you still have the chance to make it into the Formula One world."
From what started out as a humble, unscripted podcast, F1 content creators Ashleigh Jayde and Grace Clancy, the inspiring duo behind Girls In The Fast Lane, are blazing their own trail in the sport and creating a wholesome and inclusive community for F1 fans.
We invited them to join us at the Australian Grand Prix for the chance to interview AMF1 Driver Ambassador Jessica Hawkins for the next episode of their burgeoning podcast series, and we couldn’t resist the opportunity to ask them about their remarkable journeys as F1 fans, the growing popularity of the sport among women, their ambitions for Girls In The Fast Lane, and just what it was like interviewing Jess.
What attracted you to F1?
Ashleigh Jayde: "I started watching the sport in 2020 during the Melbourne lockdowns but I really fell in love with it in 2021. In 2021, it was a dramatic season where you couldn't look away for a single moment. The iconic battles between Lewis and Max were not to be missed each race weekend. I think I was on the edge of my seat for nearly the whole season.
"During that time, I was battling homelessness and it really helped me find moments of joy in a dark period of my life. F1 gave me something to work towards and strive for. I'm so passionate because it's really a sport with something for everyone. Some people enjoy all the data and statistics and others enjoy it for the drivers themselves or Drive to Survive."
Grace Clancy: "I really fell in love with the sport whilst we were in really harsh lockdowns in Melbourne, it gave me something to look forward to each fortnight. I remember the moment when we were told we could come out of lockdown and it was announced that the Australian Grand Prix would go ahead in 2022. I cried with joy!"
Why are so many women falling in love with the sport right now and taking to TikTok to share their passion for F1?
AJ: "I believe the sport has slowly become more accessible and visible to women and non-binary people. It's through a combination of social media, Netflix, and driver and team accessibility. We are taking to social media to share our passion to find other like-minded people to have conversations with, befriend and ensure we aren't left out of the discussion around the sport."
GC: "Women are taking to TikTok to be heard and seen! Show the community that we are here!"
Why did you start Girls In The Fast Lane?
AJ: "I started Girls In The Fast Lane at the beginning of 2022 with another female content creator. But the idea formed in 2021 whilst I was battling homelessness. I found myself looking for people like myself in the paddock who looked like me, or had a story similar to mine, or even represented values or communities I am a part of but I failed to see any.
"I set out to prove that it doesn't matter your background or what communities you're a part of, you still have the chance to make it into the Formula One world. We are friendly content creators who love a good laugh whilst also educating fans around the globe about the sport and the social movements within it.
"We aim to cover something for all types of fans. I like to talk about upgrades, technical aspects, regulations and statistics. And Grace speaks more on the pop culture side of things such as Drive to Survive and social media.
"Our community is what sets us apart, we have created a wholesome community where anyone is welcome, where their voice is heard and validated. We are hoping to bridge the gap between F1 and its fans. We want to take people on our journey via our content but also make sure they feel like a VIP along the way."
GC: "I feel our point of difference is definitely our community. We are creating a community for people who feel excluded to become a family."
You've set out to create a wholesome community of F1 fans where people are given the opportunity to share their opinions and have a voice. How do you do that?
AJ: "We created a safe space around Girls In The Fast Lane. No hate, no derogatory comments or discriminative comments are accepted. We aim to engage our audience as much as possible wherever we can and give them opportunities with us such as attending the Grand Prix with us or collaborating with them in content."
How can F1 become more accessible and inclusive?
AJ: "I believe it needs to start in many places. I think the first issue that needs to be addressed is ensuring we have a safer community for fans.
"Grace and I also often talk about the change needed in society to stop gendering jobs. We are past the days of a 'woman's job' and 'man's job'."
What makes Aston Martin F1 a team for everyone?
AJ: "Aston Martin has opened their arms to such a diverse group of people for their team and it's really heart-warming to see. The team brings you along a journey through different initiatives."
"Collaborating with Racing Pride, partnering with Juniper Networks and planting trees together, and hosting a karting event in Saudi Arabia for young talent. These partnerships not only show what Aston Martin F1 is doing for the future of F1 but helps others feel represented.
"Aston Martin F1 engages with their audience and fans like no other team, I / AM is unique. Even, this opportunity for us to be interviewed is giving us a platform to voice our mission and journey."
GC: "The team does this not just by involving fans and content creators but making them feel as if they are a part of the Aston Martin family. Just like we are doing with Girls In The Fast Lane."
"You've just interviewed AMF1 Driver Ambassador Jessica Hawkins for the latest instalment of your podcast. How did it go and when will it drop?"
GC: "It was incredible, Jess is a very inspiring woman. Her story of how she got to where she is and her life advice is thought-provoking."
AJ: "We had an amazing chat with Jess. Her story is incredible, and listening to her achievements was very inspiring. We can't wait to see where her journey will take her next! The podcast episode will be out on Tuesday 4 April."
If you can't see it, you can't be it. Jess has used her career as a platform from which to promote greater diversity, equality and inclusion in motorsport and engineering. How important is it to have role models like Jess in F1 and to increase diversity in the sport?"
GC: "It's everything. You need to be seen, to be heard and we need people to raise their voices for minorities."
AJ: "It's so unbelievably important. Jess is a role model for future generations. As Grace said, the more women, non-binary, people of colour and LGBTQIA+ community members that are seen in F1, the more accepted it will be.
"Right now, Jess is making history. She will be one of the great names of the sport that people look back on in the future, right next to Lella Lombardi and Susie Wolff."
"What's next for Girls In The Fast Lane?"
AJ: "Many exciting things! Last year, I felt as if we talked the talk but didn't walk the walk. We talk about opportunities for women and non-binary people within motorsport. So, this year, we are aiming to collaborate more with other female, non-binary and LGBTQIA+ creators as much as possible. We have been working on a merchandise range for motorsport fans that includes more items for women and plus-sized people. And, maybe even a sneaky overseas trip to another Grand Prix!"
Thank you to Ashleigh and Grace for joining us at the Australian Grand Prix and taking the time to share their passion with us. In their interview with AMF1 Driver Ambassador Jessica Hawkins, they explore her career and opinions on W Series and F1 Academy, and get her invaluable advice for women looking to pursue a career in motorsport. Listen to Girls In The Fast Lane now.
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