On December 1st, 2021, ATRL’s Kristina Agresta sat down with 3 of the women of FSeries (Keira, Charlotte, Dornie) to talk about their journey with the channel and their thoughts on the 2021 season.
In case people don’t know who you are, can you tell us a little bit about your background in motorsport? How did you end up in FSeries and what is FSeries about?
Keira: We are FSeries, a group of female Formula 1/motorsport content creators. We all started out individually, back pretty much in the first lockdown. We were the first kind of girls that we knew of, so around when Alonso got signed for what was Renault, now Alpine, we thought, “Oh, let’s just have a chat about this.” And then it went from there. In January, we set up our own channel, started posting weekly, and it just grew from there. We make Tiktoks, tweets, YouTube videos, we’re on Discord as well – we just have a chat about all things motorsport.
Charlotte: We were in a massive group chat on WhatsApp, about 60 other content creators, and there were only five girls in there. So it was like, oh my god, we’re literally 55 to five. Since we started, we’ve seen so many other girl groups come out and so many girls following us. On our Tiktok the other day, we’ve actually had a massive growth of female followers, which is absolutely amazing because it shows that they are out there. You just have to find them and they have to find you.
When we created Along the Racing Line, I was thinking about how you were women who are creating content – and sometimes you did talk about that – but most of the time it was more “We’re here and we know just as much as you guys. This is our content, read it, listen to us”.
Keira: I think that’s one of the things we always try to say. There’s a lot of girls that will just want to push that they are a female in motorsport, but we’re just in motorsport and we happen to be female. I don’t think in any of our videos, we really bring up the fact that we are females.We don’t think we really think about it much of the time, but we are just here. That’s how we want it to come across.
You guys are going to celebrate the one-year anniversary of your channel soon. Congratulations on that milestone! What are some of the biggest takeaways from your first year? What have you learned?
Keira: I personally think it’s just learning to work as a group. We all started out individually, other than Charlotte who did have a joint channel. So actually learning to work in a group, which at one point was a group of six people, was quite a big thing to work out who’s doing what, what responsibilities for who, but actually we worked that out quite quickly. We had Dornie and Steph on editing then Charlotte and I on Tiktok, graphics, Twitter, etc. We understand what each other’s roles are. I think that’s one thing that I never thought I would understand, probably from the trauma of having to work in groups at school that just never used to work. But actually, it works great. We know what we’re doing and it just gels quite nicely.
Dornie: One of the biggest takeaways is it’s hard work, and especially being we had been a group for a year and had had a channel for over six months before we all met in person together. It’s just so much hard work and trying to coordinate things going on. We all have different passions within motorsport as well, which is so good, but it means that we’re trying to cover such a wide variety of motorsport in such a short period of time. It is not “Whose voice is shouting the loudest?” and it’s not “Listen to us because we’re female”, but it was just trying to find our rhythm in an environment which is highly populated already. You’ve obviously got really big creators and big names within the community, and it was trying to figure out how we slot into that and in a way that we can be happy and we enjoy it.
How was that like meeting in person for the first time? Was it nerve-racking? Were you afraid that you weren’t actually going to like each other in real life?
Charlotte: We’ve been through so much as a group already – we were talking since May or June 2020. We’d known each other a year, a year and a half, before we actually met. I think it was just more of time to work out what each other likes in person and like how we act and stuff like that. But, it was really nice. I think we would meet up more if we’d have that chance to. We filmed three videos on that short weekend that we had together and a lot of people have really liked the in-person content because they’ve actually seen us gelling. One of the comments that really stuck out to me is they think that we gel so well in person. We know when each other is gonna talk, like I know now that Keira’s gonna jump in after me or I’ll wait for Dornie to finish then I’ll go and it’s really nice to learn the patterns of your group. Also I just like the fact that our content isn’t always so serious. We can have it we can have a really serious topic, like next year’s regs or a certain driver or the title battle, but then we can go and play the “Would I Lie to You” game, or like for Halloween, we did a murder mystery. It still works because it’s still us. And I think that’s one of the key things that worked with us is that we all work so well together and we communicate so well. That comes across in the videos as if we’ve been friends forever.
Dornie: I feel so grateful to have met a few other girls who you get on with on a personal level, like our personal lives and everything exclusive of motorsport. We all get on and we all obviously like motorsport. We’ve all got drive and ambition within content creation and the community. I’m just so grateful and it’s so nice to have met these three other girls who all kind of share the same goals in all aspects of our lives.
That’s the thing I’ve noticed most about your content. You all really connect well with each other. I love your more creative videos. I think that’s sort of the most interesting part about FSeries’ position in the F1 Youtube space is you do stuff that no one’s doing right now. Like, who would think to do an F1 themed beer pong video? How do you come up with these out-there creative ideas?
Keira: How do we do it? You know, I don’t even know. Obviously, the in-person ones were kind of extras and we thought of almost generic things. I’ve actually always said, I like to take things that the Sidemen do but put a Motorsport spin on it. The Sidemen are the biggest UK content creators by a mile. I always looked at the Sidemen and said “I think we could do that, but make it motorsport”. They’ve done a fear pong, we’ve done a beer pong motorsport. It’s quite a universal thing as well, because we’ve got followers from all around the world, and some people don’t speak English, some people understand English a little bit, so we want something that’s going to be quite easy that someone can understand and then they can enjoy. In terms of our other videos we obviously do when we aren’t together, we quite simply have meetings every now and then to discuss the next set of videos when we’re going to film and they just tend to come off the top of our head. Very rarely do we sit there and struggle, we will really just think of things like “What is topical at that time? What might be topical in a month’s time?” But we don’t actually struggle too much. I feel like when you are in a group, you just bounce off each other and you think of something and maybe someone says “Well, can we do something on this?” And then you’ve got it. We’ve never really struggled with video ideas.
Charlotte: I think it’s just chatting and looking at other people’s videos, really. Like Steph was like, “Oh my God, we are going to do murder mystery. I found a game. We can get some other creators on. It’ll be like a really big episode. And we’re gonna do that.” And I was like, okay, yeah, that’s actually really fun. Or like, Secret Santa. Secret Santa is so basic, but I love it! Because obviously, it means that we get to send gifts to each other. And it doesn’t have to be motorsport! We’re doing Secret Santa again this year and you can really choose something for that person and sometimes it’s joking and sometimes it’s not. But that’s why it works – because it’s mainstream, it also can be adapted. Like Keira said, you can do Secret Santa Formula 1 edition, or Would I Lie to You Formula 1 edition. It can be adapted. As long as you have a mix of generic, more popular videos outside of the niche of Formula 1, and you have the specific videos that are on Formula 1, I think that’s a really good balance. It helps you build an audience that you might not have built before if you were just focusing on each driver and each team all the time.
Has the pandemic pushed you to create better content?
Dornie: I think that’s true to say that everyone bar Keira wouldn’t probably be making content if there hadn’t been a pandemic. For me, Char, and Steph, content creation was very much a pandemic, past-the-time vibe. It’s also how we all met each other. If there wasn’t a pandemic, we’re living in different parts of the country, I don’t think we would have met each other organically. If it’s pushed us to keep better content, I’m unsure, but it’s definitely pushed us to create different types of content. If we had met in person, and we were always filming in person, our videos might be a bit different. It might be more podcasting or it might be a bit more of the creative side of videos that we do, just because I think we would enjoy it more and we have more flexibility. But I don’t know about better content. It’d still be good and still enjoyable, but I don’t know if “better” would be it.
Charlotte: With posting the FSeries videos on our own individually, we did sit there and think “Actually this is going really well on all of our individual channels. Why don’t we make that main channel?”. That really helped because we already had a base audience. I feel like our Twitter, it grows and then like all sudden, it’ll grow really big. I think having the base channels were actually really helpful for us to create and do well on this big channel.
What are your biggest aspirations for not necessarily the channel but just FSeries in general? Are there any big things you want to do or any goals you want to achieve?
Keira: I think it’s looking at the future of what technology and what social media is going to be and adapting ourselves to that. YouTube can be very difficult, it’s a lot of effort for a little payout. On TikTok with a 30 second video, it could go viral. It’s pushing ourselves more on different platforms as well, to solidify ourselves. When we first started on TikTok, we weren’t entirely sure what to do. Now I feel like we’ve went to the niche, we understand what we’re doing, getting a bit more of a schedule with it. I think people are enjoying that more and liking our content. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of girls we had following us after like a specific video, which is just quite simply a relatable one about females in motorsport. Just pushing forward, making sure that we are on top of the motorsport community, we’re getting out the right content on Twitter, TikTok, and making sure that we are making fun stuff.
Dornie: For us, FSeries isn’t a name or a brand or kind of something that we have a goal for. FSeries is just what we call ourselves as a group of people who enjoy motorsport and get on. It’s our adventures of what we’re doing under the title of FSeries. The YouTube channel was never created to be the biggest and best YouTube channel. It’s very much just a journey of what we’re going through in each of our lives and taking a community with us to share in this experience.
Charlotte: If you look at Steph, she’s not here, because she’s now working with Formula 1. It’s not down to FSeries, but it’s down to her being so vocal. Obviously, she’s got her own channel and that’s so important as well. It is like what Dornie said, it is the four of us, all having different adventures that we’re going and doing. But also, I just think it’s really important that FSeries has allowed so many people to spread their opinions and get involved as well. I don’t think we set out to be like, “Oh my God, we want you all to go and follow us.” But when we were talking before, you [Kristina] were saying how you were really excited because your group is all girls and we are sort of similar. It was really great to see that other girls are looking at us and thinking “I can do that”. It’s nice when we hear that, because it’s kind of like, all the effort that we put in is like working and it’s going really well. Just as a group as a whole, I’d love to still have that platform and be visible for other girls that want to get involved and want to be like us.
Keira: I went to the Formula E London E-Prix event. I was sitting with loads of journalists, because that was predominately who was there. There wasn’t a lot of digital media there, although FE is better with digital media compared to F1. But there’s lots of journalists I was with and met and they were like, “Hi, how are you?” And then someone will introduce me like “Hi, this is Keira” and then they’ll go “from FSeries.” And then they go, “Oh, I know FSeries.” It’s so great because if you were to look at stats and numbers, my personal channels are greatly higher than FSeries. But it’s not about that. It’s the fact that our name is out there. And that’s what I think is just so much more important. People know the name. And now hopefully people can know the name, know what we’re doing and then take interest in our content. She was like, “Oh my god from FSeries!” and I was like “Yeah, how did you know?!”
Speaking of other series, that’s another big thing I think is so wonderful about you guys is that you don’t stick to just F1 content. You are very vocal about F2 and the other feeder series. So I want to ask you a little bit of a controversial question about Formula 2 and Formula 3 this year. Do you feel like the large breaks in the calendars for F2 and F3 have affected not only your interest in the season but also the drivers’ performances?
Keira: Oh my god, I could talk about this for so long. I am such a feeder series fan! I’ve got all the girls into the series, I was the one that took away their social lives on the weekends. Obviously, the feeder series are building themselves up every single year, and last year it was at such a high. Especially last year going into this year it was going to be peak level. Nobody had watched that much F2 and F3 before. I was so excited until they decided to change the calendar up. If you were to look at the fact that they’re trying to split F3 and F2, it’s not the worst thing, but it’s the gaps. It’s ridiculous and it’s such a shame. But obviously, they have realized their mistakes, and they are going to revert back next year. But this year has been a real loss. I don’t think it’s good for the drivers either. If they’re not going like Liam Lawson – for example, he’s going off to do DTM as well so he’s still racing. But a lot of these drivers have only got their simulator to prep. And maybe some of the less fortunate drivers don’t have the simulator. Some of the drivers don’t have a team connected to them. So it’s upsetting because I got so many people into Formula 2 and Formula 3 over the winter, and I almost feel like I’ve let them down because it’s not been as good. But hopefully, next year will be a bit better.
Charlotte: I generally think that Formula 2 is much better than Formula 1. Like last season, when Keira was like in the groupchat she was like, “You are getting up to watch Formula 3 at half 7.”
Keira: I was getting these girls to watch Formula Regional! That’s how low we were going!
Charlotte: I was sitting there watching Jamie Chadwick in Formula Regional! And I really enjoyed it. Obviously, it was in the pandemic, I had so much more time. I think honestly, I think I’ve watched one Formula 3 race this year and it’s because my boyfriend was watching it and it woke me up. That’s literally the only reason. I will watch F2, because that’s one of my favorite series. But like Keira said, it’s just the gaps. I know F3 is finished, but I don’t even know who was in it this year. That’s such a shame because they built up such a good platform. People were picking their favorites and picking their teams and this year, it was like, “You can watch Formula 2, but we’re going to have a four-month gap”. I can’t get attached to any of these drivers now, because I feel like I’ll just forget about them in that gap. And also the fact that they pay so, so much money. We’ve seen so many announcements that drivers are being replaced because they don’t have the funding. In my mind, it feels like if it wasn’t as big as a gap, they probably still have a bit more funding than they have. I’m very happy that they’re changing back to no gaps next year.
Well, how do you guys feel about Richard Verschoor? Not being able to continue for the last two rounds, even though he has been such a great talent this year?
Keira: It’s horrible to see. Richard has been pretty much going race by race a whole year anyway. He was never signed on to do the whole year. I know a Formula 3 season is like 1.5-2 million euros a year. So I could say probably Formula 2 has gone up to like 3 million. I’m sure Callum Ilott did give a figure, but I can’t quite remember. But it’s about 3 million for a season. And it’s just absolutely ridiculous the price on that, especially when the reliability is so poor from the engine and chassis manufacturers. It’s a shame to see people like Richard and Lirim, who stepped out as well. You see the same kind of drivers stay, which really should not be here anymore. But you always get that in Formula 2. Like how long did Sean Gelael stay for? His dad is literally the KFC man so it’s just what happens. It’s really a shame to see and something does need to be done. But as fans, what can we do? Just shout about it? We’re not the people that can really do anything. But I will still continue to shout because I want my thoughts known.
Dornie: It’s such a shame that the over-monetization and the fact that Formula 1 and Liberty are trying to have 30 races a year at this point! The fact they’re preaching F1 too much is almost at the detriment to the junior series categories. They’re almost forgetting that we need to have good junior series and good junior categories to be able to find the F1 stars of tomorrow so they can continue to have this. I personally think it would be a really sensible choice to almost strip Formula back, just keep it sensible! Try and build F2 and F3 into those and balance that out because then you’re going to create fans for life and you can watch them all the way through and get attached to them as we all did in 2020. For them to take a little bit of a step back from F1 and stop pushing that as much and put a little bit more focus on the junior categories, I think that in turn would also help with the funding and all of those problems that come with it as well.
FSeries can be found on Twitter and TikTok at @FSeries__.
Article edited for length and clarity. Interview was recorded December 1st, 2021.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kristina developed her love of motorsport through years watching Top Gear with her dad every night. She specializes in Formula One and it’s feeder series F2, F3, and F4. Her favorite teams are Williams & McLaren and supports Prema & ART Grand Prix in feeder series. Outside of motorsport Kristina spends her time supporting the Washington Football Team and studying film. You can find her on Twitter as @agrestaP1.
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