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Formula E team Maserati MSG Racing's Director of Communications Lizzie Brooks

Formula E Exclusive: Lizzie Brooks of Maserati MSG Racing on ‘fostering real change’ within motorsports

The Monaco-based team has partnered with LGBTQ+ initiatives such as Racing Pride and Queer Circle

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Lizzie Brooks, Director of Communications at Maserati MSG Racing, spoke to FormulaNerds on the necessity of diversity, representation, and active allyship within the world of motorsports. 

Maserati Formula E car on track
Maserati MSG Racing ran its Pride livery year-round in Season 9. (Image credit: Maserati MSG Racing)

“For a lot of people, if you can’t see it, you can’t be it.”

Speaking to Lizzie Brooks, there’s a sense that she is someone who fundamentally believes in the importance of what she does. Diversity and inclusion can often be reduced to buzzwords; targets to be achieved, with little understanding or belief in their relevance. But not so with Lizzie Brooks and Maserati MSG Racing. 

Diversity, inclusion, and equality are – thankfully – becoming increasingly spoken about within motorsports. With drivers such as Formula 1’s Lewis Hamilton spearheading the discussion, and initiatives like We Race As One and Racing Pride, the oftentimes glaring lack of diversity in motorsports is no longer being swept under the carpet. 

Formula E prides itself as a forward-thinking platform for change. It’s in the racings series’ DNA, as its position as a promoter for sustainable technology. And whilst all the teams on the Formula E grid are, by the nature of the sport, committed to sustainable action, there is one team that stands out from the crowd in this regard. Maserati MSG Racing. 

An active ally

Front and centre on the team’s livery are the colours of the Pride flag. In Season 9, at every race, in every location, the team has run with these colours. It’s a visible, ever-present statement of allyship. Maserati MSG Racing has been staunch in its commitment to being an ally. The team reasserted its position as an ally early this year, in the wake of the FIA’s new rules on political statements. Despite coming under some pressure for its Pride livery, the Monaco-based team remains committed to its position as an ally. 

During the London E-Prix, FormulaNerds spoke to Lizzie Brooks about Maserati MSG slRacing’s support of the Pride movement. Why is it that the team remains such a firm ally?

For Lizzie Brooks and the team, it seemed a no-brainer. “Why we do it is for the same reason that we support female empowerment or for the same reason that we support mental health,” Brooks shared. 

“We love to use our platform for good. For us, racing for a sustainable future is not enough.” 

“Every other team on the grid is doing that,” explained Brooks. “And this is not about differentiating ourselves. If every team did what we do, we’d be delighted. The more the merrier. This is actually about the fact that we have a platform, and we have a unique platform. We actually have an incredibly engaged audience and we want to use that in the best, most socially responsible way.”

The Necessity of Visibility

“Everybody talks about sustainability, and normally when people talk about sustainability we’re talking about environmental sustainability,” said Brooks. “What we like to talk about is social sustainability, so fostering real change in order to create better people and to create a better social dynamic.” 

“One of the ways in which we want to do that is to showcase that your gender, your sexual orientation, your background, where you’ve come from, how you’ve learnt things has no bearing whatsoever on your ability to do your job. And I think fundamentally, for a lot of people, if you can’t see it, you can’t be it.” 

The front wing of the Maserati Formula E car
Image credit: Maserati MSG Racing 

“So if you don’t have those role models, if you don’t have spaces where you feel safe, you’re not going to even begin to think that there’s a possible career for you,” explained Brooks. “And I think that’s why we want to continue to use our platform to showcase that we are for anyone, anytime, anywhere in the world. And I think that’s really essential.” 

The need for visibility is compounded by a lack of representation in motorsports, felt by a myriad of minority groups. For example, a report by the Hamilton Commission estimated that less than 1% of the workforce in Formula 1 comes from Black or other minority ethnic backgrounds. Also underrepresented in motorsports are women, with only 1.5% of race licence holders identifying as female. 

Diversity = Innovation

Lizzie Brooks pointed out that whilst Maserati MSG Racing believes that promoting social sustainability is “fundamentally” the “right thing to do as human beings”, there’s a tangible merit to inclusivity. 

“Selfishly – or not selfishly, cleverly – there is performance to be found in having the most diverse workforce possible,” Brooks elaborated. 

And the numbers agree. Studies have found that diversity within the workplace leads to greater company performance. A report by Forbes stated that diverse teams deliver 60% better results and improved decision-making. In the world of motorsport, where strong performance and strategy are the hallmarks of a successful team, the merits of diversity make themselves abundantly clear.

As Lizzie Brooks explained: “You’ve got eight people in the room and they all come from the same background. They were educated in the same place. They have the same gender, the same sexual orientation, the same habits. They’re going to come up with the same solutions.” 

“Now in a racing team, just like in a bank or in a supermarket, you need innovation,” continued Brooks. “It’s incredibly important for us to have the best possible innovation, and that comes from diversity of thought, which comes from diversity of team.”

“So for us, A: it’s really important and it’s the right thing, and B: there’s performance there too.” 

Fostering a diverse culture

Recognising the need for diversity, equality and inclusion is one thing. Fostering a wave of change is a different task entirely. For there to be true equality and inclusion within any industry, there first needs to be a cultural change. Individuals of underrepresented backgrounds – whether race, gender, sexuality – must feel as if they are truly welcome in a given workplace or situation. 

Lizzie Brooks shared with FormulaNerds the work that Maserati MSG Racing does to promote this diverse culture. It’s an initiative that stems beyond the team’s Pride livery. It even goes beyond the work with partners such as Racing Pride, which Maserati MSG Racing promotes. 

Alongside the work done to promote diversity within motorsports as a whole, Maserati MSG Racing appears committed to fostering inclusion within the team and among its staff. “It’s just all about learning and growth,” said Brooks.

Full commitment

There’s not a lot of song and dance about the work the Monaco-based team does behind the scenes as an active ally. Lizzie Brooks discussed the team’s partnership with Together Band, and the creation of a limited edition Pride Together Band — a wristband made from recycled ocean plastic and confiscated illegal weapons. Proceeds from this initiative went towards a London-based community initiative called Queer Circle, an LGBTQ+ charity providing a home for queer art. 

“We do lots of different things to walk the walk, as well as talk the talk,” said Lizzie Brooks. “It’s clearly something that we don’t shout about, because people do it for the kudos. We’re not doing it for the kudos. We want to find that balance between educating people and showing support, but also being really authentic in our actions as well.”

Referring to the team’s Pride livery, Brooks said, “We have visibility, but we’re not doing it for the sake of doing it.” 

The team has even “come under pressure” regarding its Pride livery. But Maserati MSG Racing remains “firm” in its beliefs, said Brooks. 

“It’s not political, it’s human rights,” Lizzie Brooks stated. “And if people are fighting with rainbows, they’ve got bigger problems.” 

Featured Image Credit: Maserati MSG Racing 

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