One fine day, Formula One will come to me. One fine day, it takes me in its arms and won’t leave me anymore.
We all can sing these lyrics. How did your passion start? When? Was it by chance? Was it thanks to a friend, a sibling, a neighbor? Whatever it is, it is linked to a precise memory which will have marked you forever.
Mine started in 1997, during a race weekend, sitting on my dad’s lap. I was ten years old. There was a yellow helmet in a yellow car. It attracted my attention. He was German, driven for Jordan, his name was famous. You know his first name, do not you?
What is your story? I am sure it is different.
For some people, this passion is much more. Working in Motorsport is a dream. For another people, it is an unexpected way that they will never forget. For Deeksha Nanda, the initiation took place during the 2011 Indian Grand Prix with Sahara Force India. In this interview, she tells us her experience, her activities, her philosophy and her memories. This twenty-two-years-old-young-woman has got her recipe against the boredom. Her life is racing! First question…
1- What is your story with Formula One?
In Oct, 2011 I was approached by the BSL team to be a part of their first ever India GP. They were handling the PR for the Sahara Force India Team and I was asked to assist them. Having never been a part of events or a GP ever before, I was prompt in saying yes as my enthusiasm was sky-high. Team BSL opened up a whole new avenue of interest for me, one that I never knew I had (for which I am immensely thankful). My job profile entailed me to interact with the guests and ensure that the functioning at the paddock club went off smoothly. They say, do what you love the most and you will never have to work a day in your life. I have to admit, the 3 days I spent at the circuit with the team were one of the most memorable times of my life.
2- What is the most outstanding image that you will keep of your first Grand Prix or Motorsport event attended?
My first ever outstanding image…..it was when I was standing outside the paddock club, seconds before the qualifying round was to start…I can still hear the roar of the cars before the green light. That sound, that kind of power, it was all just such an adrenalin rush. I remember everyone scurrying to fetch ear plugs for themselves but I just stood there, in total awe of the sight on the track. That is one of the most heart thumping moments I have ever had.
3- “Living the dream”: this quote is very famous in Motorsport. As far as you are concerned, are you living the dream?
At 22, I can proudly say that I’ve collected a few feathers in my cap…having worked as a fashion writer for Vogue, India, a travel writer, to now handling corporate relations for a business school..It has been a long but very interesting journey for me so far. It has taught me a lot, showed me a lot and made me meet some wonderful people along the way. Life is too short to not follow your instincts and your dreams. The beautiful thing about it also is that even a wrong turn can lead you right back on the right track.. So at the cost of sounding bold, I’d definitely say currently, I am living the dream.. My dream. Who knows, a few years later, I may have new ones.
4- According to you, are both of “Motorsport” and “Raison d’être” inseparable?
Everybody has something unique that makes them want to do something with their life..their own Raison d’être…It could be anything from being a great painter, to a good dancer, or a Motorsport title. It is for this reason that I strongly believe, that the two are inseparable. You cannot be a successful driver unless and until you live, breathe and love the sport and everything that comes with it..if you don’t, then you’re just another average person.
5- What could you tell us about your job?
I currently work as an Assistant Manager at the Infinity Business School. It was founded by one of India’s leading Investment Bankers, Mr Neeraj Batra in 2001 as a Citicorp Investee. Currently in its 12th year, the school has produced some fantastic global managers and leaders working in esteemed organizations. I handle the Corporate Relations for the school. So literally, I network with various leading company Heads and bring them on board to hire their future employees from our school.
6- Which memory will you keep about your first working day in Formula One?
Oh, this one is easy. It was a long working day for all of us and our feet were ready to fall off. Just then, someone from Team BSL offered to take me down to the garage and I suddenly felt this new surge of energy pass through me. I was like an excited 3 year old in a candy store, gazing at the cars being assembled and the machinery around. It was a whole new different world in there and I could feel myself feeding off the energy in that space.
7- What do you prefer in your job?
My current job is a dream..all my life I have hated monotony and a conventional desk job. This one gives me all I want and more; freedom to meet new and interesting people every day, learn a lot along the way, interact with eminent people in the corporate industry, travel, all whilst being in a cerebral environment. I am blessed to be a part of a working team with whom I am close and have a lot of fun.
8- Could you tell us some funny anecdotes about your experience in Formula One?
Gosh, this happened on the day of the main race. I was standing downstairs, near the garage while everyone was busy admiring the cars of the different teams and getting pictures clicked with the pit babes. I was busy minding my own business when suddenly a bunch of people asked to click pictures with me..haha, I was dumbstruck for a moment there. I even told them that I wasn’t a pit babe and yet they insisted. So I said “what the hell, sure why not” and with a big smile on my face, agreed to pose with them. The second funny incident was when I saw my pictures in a few papers from the race. The tag-line read- “Indian model poses at the first ever Indian GP”. I went for the GP as a regular girl and returned a model.
9- What are your best memories in Formula One?
All the wonderful guests I met, who travelled from across to be a part of the India GP, their warmth and love and of course working there in person. BSL along with Sahara Force India were a dream to work with. Having interacted with all of them at a personal level, having a lot of fun for 3 days and working really hard…I do find myself missing that every now and then and wonder if I’ll ever get a second chance to be there and experience it all over again.
10- What is your favorite Grand Prix destination? Why?
Oh it is so hard to choose..my top 3 would be Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Monaco.
11- What is the Grand Prix where the parties are the best?
The Amber Lounge party in Singapore along with The Podium Lounge after parties, have been known to be one of the best places to party. This year though, I am hoping to go for the GP in Belgium, Germany and Brazil. I’m quite sure the parties in these places are going to be as famous as the others, especially in Brazil. The south Americans do know how to party well.
12- What is your motto for Formula One?
A quote that has stuck with me and I apply that to my life too, is one by Ayrton Senna. He said “Being a racing driver means you are racing with other people, and if you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver.”