By Imma Aurino and Marianna Duca
The 2023 Formula E season came to an end last Sunday, with Jake Dennis winning the World Drivers’ Championship, while Envision Racing secured the Constructors’ title. The category is one of the most exciting to watch and it’s growing fast. It represents a good opportunity for any motorsport fan who wants to approach this world professionally. Last July we had the chance to take part in the Formula E Rome E-Prix as volunteers, living the two races from behind the scenes. Here’s our experience.
How to become a Formula E Volunteer
To begin with, to be part of the volunteers team at the E-Prix all we did was to fill a form on the Formula E website. After a few weeks, we received an email confirming our participation, inviting us to complete our application for the program. We filled in our data, availability and the role we were interested in and the job was done.
After that, we just waited for the roles and shifts to be assigned! A couple of weeks before the E-Prix we took part in the Kick Off Event, where the event manager gave us more details about the organization and what to do on our first day.
In total, every year there is a maximum of 350 volunteers for the E-Prix. So we recommend you to stay updated from the website and be among the first ones to make the request if you are truly motivated to participate!
Also, we got a nice gift! We had the chance to have two free tickets to give away to our friends or relatives for one of the two races.
As we have said, you can express a preference for the role you’d like to be assigned to. The four main categories are:
- Accreditation: volunteers in the Accreditation Centre are the first point of contact for people who require accreditation and will be assisting the team with the preparation and distribution of passes.
- Media/Communications: supporting the team within the media centre to onboard local and global media.
- Broadcast: the volunteers will have a back-of-house role supporting the Formula E Broadcast Team.
- Event Experience / Spectator Services: these roles are varied, mainly in and around the Allianz Fan Village and in Spectator Facing roles/areas.
Something not everyone knows is how much a volunteer can be part of the effective realization of the whole event. Some people can be hired from 3 weeks before the actual event starts! The members of the Accreditation Centre are the first ones to take action because at least two weeks before the event workers have to start defining the structures and facilities for the street circuits and the various grandstands. Therefore, it is necessary to provide those who are actually in charge of the operations with the necessary pass to begin carrying out their work.
We have been selected for two different roles: Media Centre Support and Runner Broadcast. We both began this experience from Thursday. Our job was to help people who worked mostly for press and television to set up their stations the day before the actual start of on track-events.
Runner Broadcast – Marianna
As Runner for the Broadcast team, I had the chance to work closely with people from Formula E itself. My duty was to fulfill the requests for my team and to help them with their daily tasks. The atmosphere was great: everyone was kind and friendly, even when in a rush. I learnt a lot and I enjoyed every second.
My duties were varied: the most exciting one was definitely to help journalists and cameramen go from the paddock to the podium, driving a buggy. Probably not as exciting as a Formula E car, but I’m not sure about it!
I was really lucky and I could go to the paddock often, observing the teams working on the cars and spotting the drivers, but I had more mundane tasks too. As the only Italian speaking person in the team I helped with translation and I run some errands for them. I know a lot of my fellow volunteers sometimes felt frustrated, but it’s important to understand that even the most boring parts help the event come to life.
Media Centre Support – Imma
My role took place in the Media Centre, inside the “Salone delle Fontane“. Here, all journalists from media outlet, accredited photographers, and teams’ content creators could carry out their work peacefully. Luckily, the place was equipped with air conditioning, which allowed us to endure the scorching heat in Rome during those days without feeling unwell.
My main responsibility was to make the journalists’ workplace as comfortable as possible. We handed out the keys to the lockers at the entrance, and on Saturdays, we collected photographers’ signatures to provide them with stickers for access to the grid. We also helped the staff for the Top Three Drivers press conferences to set up the stage. One of the most exciting parts of the day was the opportunity to attend them. Indeed, experiences like this do not come around every day.
You could tell that the heat was taking a toll on the entire staff, including both Formula E and team members, but everyone remained very friendly, and there were no issues whatsoever.
Media Pen and interviews
We are used to Formula 1 drivers being quite inaccessible due to the exclusivity and cost of paddock access. On the contrary, I also had the opportunity to attend post-race interviews of the drivers at the Media Pen, an area adjacent to the Media Centre. That area was entirely open, not to mention it was outdoors, and with temperatures reaching 40 degrees, it was really challenging, even for the drivers themselves, who were accompanied by staff with umbrellas.
In conclusion, this experience allowed me to meet many people with whom I bonded deeply, including my fellow volunteers, the staff, and especially some journalists. It is truly the perfect place for someone like me who aspires to work in this field in the future, as it provides insights of the background.
Our Last Thought
As we said, to be a volunteer during an E-Prix is an incredible opportunity. You get to meet a lot of professionals working in the field and you see first-hand all the effort behind the success of the event. Also, to be part of the E-Prix is a great way to spend the race weekend and experience the atmosphere of the circus, surrounded by people who share the same passion: motorsport.