On race day I get ready and then come to the track with one of the drivers: generally, although sometimes they come in a bit later! (laughs) I come in, check my emails, and promote that it's race day on Facebook and Twitter: one of our aims has been to try and interact with fans and followers on a real, personal level, and I think that's something that's been quite nice about having the link with Team Lotus, and to be able to draw from that.
Twitter in particular was new to me: I've never used it before this job! It’s quite new for a lot of people here, but it does help to bring our fans close to the team, and that’s one of the reasons why we do it, really: some of the other teams do it too, obviously, but not to the same extent.
When I first started in racing I’d never worked here before, so I always saw it from an outsider’s perspective, and so to see all the things that happen here was like I was doing it from an outsider's view. People pay a lot of money to come to the track and see all this, so if we can bring a little bit of that to people who don't get to the races then it's all good, really. And that’s why we use social media so much: to give everyone the same view that I enjoy!
And I think people like looking at photos: I love taking photos, I take thousands of them! (laughs) I really enjoy that, and I think people like to see photos because then they feel like they're really there with you. With Facebook and Twitter you can be a bit more jovial too, I think: maybe some photos of Luiz being silly in the factory, or Davide, and I think that side of things is quite nice, really.
GP2 is a bit more friendly: that's what a lot of people have seen if they have come from watching F1, say, to GP2, and for me that's what's good about GP2. We always talk about the GP2 family, and it is much more like that: it's not so cut throat, and I think it's a lot nicer environment to work in.
At the track I look after the drivers if there's any media commitments: I collar them and herd them up! Luiz is very good with things like that: he does a lot of these things personally in Brazil for his own website: he does podcasts and things like that. Davide is a little more reluctant, but once he's there then you can't shut him up! (laughs)
Italians are very patriotic, they are keen and there are a lot of fans, so we do get a lot of requests through for Davide. Luiz has a lot of connections himself, so a lot of his stuff goes directly to him: he has a good website and he's well established, so that works that way. And it's all in Portuguese, so I can’t always help! (laughs) And then obviously there are the press releases to write, and I have to get quotes and send them out: we benefit from having the direct link with Team Lotus because we have all their contacts to send them out to, which is great.
Back at the factory we are based in the same address as Team Lotus: although we have a separate GP2 workshop over the road, we share a couple of offices with engineers and the race team. Both our drivers are part of the F1 team too, so the link runs deep. This was one of the aims, to have a GP2 team where young drivers can work closely with both teams and, with a little luck and lots of talent, to get promoted over time to the F1 team.
It’s also good for everyone in the team to be this close to Team Lotus: we always keep the communication lines open, in engineering and that side, but especially from my point of view with all the travel arrangements I’ve got to organise! I also work closely with the Team Lotus Marketing department too: they are leading the field with all their online social networking, so I take a lot of inspiration from them.
As well as our Twitter and Facebook pages we also have a new YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/GP2TeamAirAsia?feature=mhsn) where we post driver diaries and little interviews, and we will do workshop tours and things like that. We always have a GP2 piece in the Team Lotus Notes online magazine too, and we tweet to each other and retweet messages a lot too, to show our family relationship and just to keep things fun.
At the track we are obviously very independent from the F1 team, with our own schedules and so on, but we are based outside their garage whenever we run on track. And I think it’s nice to see how involved everyone in the F1 team gets during our races -they love watching on the screens, and they get really excited! Our Team Principal (and Team Lotus CEO) Riad Asmat takes time to get involved in our GP2 Team Principal meetings, and comes to the grid and always watches the races.
Tony Fernandes is often at the Grand Prix’s too, and is always very encouraging and supportive, as well as (Team Lotus technical director) Mike Gascoyne. And we gave them a lot to cheer about this weekend (in Valencia), with both drivers on the podium! We get so much support from the Team Lotus guys, and I know everyone in Team AirAsia is happy to be able to show them what we can do.
We launched our new connection with Caterham this weekend (the team is now known as Caterham Team AirAsia), and with the next race in Silverstone being our home race this connection will only become bigger: we will have VIP guests from Caterham at Silverstone, we are really proud of this new association, and that we can introduce them to the world of GP2.
We are a new team, but currently we’re second in the Teams Championship: that’s an amazing feat, and a bit more than we expected, to be honest! (laughs) But we’re just continuing to work hard and keep going. I hope that all the GP2 fans are enjoying our social media sites, and feel that we’re helping them to get closer to the action: if they do, then it’s all worth it.
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