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Why Naomi Schiff embodies how F1 will never be the same again

Why Naomi Schiff embodies how F1 will never be the same again

Why Naomi Schiff embodies how F1 will never be the same again

Why Naomi Schiff embodies how F1 will never be the same again

Sky pundit and former racing driver Naomi Schiff represents the new era of F1 in a way which very few others can muster.

Schiff first appeared as a presenter for Sky Sports F1 in 2022, and since then she has become a regular during grand prix weekends and has proved a smash hit with paddock veterans and TV viewers alike.

READ MORE: Mercedes star in car SWAP at Imola

Not only does Schiff provide fresh content with motorsport stars, but has recently been named in Forbes’ 30 under 30 in 2024.

Before television Schiff was a professional racing driver, beginning her career in single seaters at the age of 16, eventually retiring in 2019 after a stint in the all-female W Series.

Schiff represents a growing female F1 fan base

In a feature with Andscape, Schiff opened up on fashion, Lewis Hamilton’s influence in the paddock, and the growth in F1’s female fanbase.

“It’s an exciting time to be in this space. The Formula 1 audience is 40% female, so we have to cater to that, and I’m happy to be one of the few young women in the sport in a forward-facing role,” she said.

Schiff conveys a strong sense of self through her fashion, but she has not always been able to do so throughout her career.

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“I wish I could go back to being a racing driver in this era so that I could, you know, still evoke my sense of self and express myself in the way I wanted via fashion.

“But back in the day, that wasn’t possible. I think the only thing I had creative license over was my helmets, my fashion item to express myself in that sense,” Schiff added.

An unusual introduction to fashion

Schiff’s one and only championship came in 2014, winning the Clio Cup China Series- the first woman to achieve the accolade.

The championship win also had the unintended consequence, igniting her love for fashion.

“The team I used to race for in the past had a tradition of buying a gift for a driver who won a championship, so that particular year, I won the championship,” she explained.

“And so they were buying a gift for a woman for the first time. I remember my team’s boss asking his wife for advice, and they got me a stunning Louis Vuitton bag, but at the time, the Neverfull was like the bag.

“It was like the bag everyone wanted, so I politely exchanged what they had given me for a Neverfull.”

“I still use the Neverfull today. It’s just like a staple piece that never gets old. It’s timeless. That was one of my travel go-to’s for the F1 weekends, but now I always bring my whole life.”

Hamilton ‘pioneered’ self-expression in F1 paddock

Schiff remembers a time in F1 where self-expression was difficult, and credits seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton with pioneering and celebrating originality in the F1 paddock.

“In the past, I didn’t think I could maintain my own sense of style while driving. There was a sense of needing to conform, needing to fit in, and that’s thankfully really evolved.

Lewis Hamilton’s been the pioneer of that change because he’s made his entrance into the Formula One paddock essentially a runway show.”

READ MORE: Verstappen gives 'unfair' verdict amid Newey Red Bull departure

Lewis Hamilton at the Miami Grand Prix

“As with everything, change always comes through resistance. There was a lot of criticism, a lot of question marks and people saying that he needed to focus on driving, not what he was wearing.

“So that can make an environment like this intimidating to do your own thing over time, but thankfully, he’s persisted. Now, it’s an environment where you can wear whatever you want.”

READ MORE: F1 boss provides reason for Ricciardo REPLACEMENT

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Lewis Hamilton Ferrari Angela Cullen Sky Sports F1 Naomi Schiff Forbes
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