The Formula 1 season is well underway and, with that in mind, helenahicks.com spoke to Rosanna Tennant, someone who knows what it’s like to work their way towards the top of the motorsport media career ladder from the bottom.
After a successful spell with the YouTube channel Pole Position, her role as a presenter quickly developed. Now, as a presenter and host for Formula 1 and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, she is becoming an increasingly familiar face. You may also recognise Rosanna from being the Formula 2 pit lane correspondent too...
“My role involves working with the team to come up with ideas in and around what they do at the factory and races,” she says. “That then crosses over to filming with the drivers and the Team’s Technical Partners, as well as Senior Management and team members from different departments. Sometimes I present those pieces and sometimes I take more of a producer role. Then when they want a live event hosted, I’ll host that as well.”
Therefore, Rosanna understands working with brands and what they tend to look for when it comes to generating content, something which is key when working for some of the biggest sports companies in the world.
“It’s all about making fun and engaging content, but never overstepping the mark, especially when you are working with global brands with rigorous brand guidelines. It’s all about attention to detail; things must always be well thought through.”
n addition, Rosanna also works for F1 in Schools and 4x4 in Schools, hosting events for them. Perhaps, though, she is best known for working directly for Formula 1, helping them with the content they produce.
“I present their social media and digital clips, and am also part of the team that creates content in the Fan Village over race weekends,” she says. “I’ll host things like the Formula 1 Fan Forum either on my own or with a co-host such as Johnny Herbert. It’s brilliant being able to engage with the fans and the Drivers - the Drivers are always in such good spirits because the fans are there. I also do interviews in the Formula 1 Paddock over the course of the weekend.”
These events are non-stop and require you to think on your feet, especially when hosting on stage for hours at a time without a script! All this is a good learning experience, according to Rosanna.
“It’s definitely been a great learning experience,” she says. “It’s made me better at live presenting, as you just have to go with it. The adrenaline is always quite high as you never know what might be coming next. Sometimes there’s a delay and you just have to fill a gap for ten minutes chatting to the camera or the audience!”
Unsurprisingly, this all equates to one busy schedule, but Rosanna sees that as a positive thing.
“With Formula 1 you work weekends so you’re away from home a lot, but I’ve always wanted to do this kind of thing so I appreciate every single moment. For me, being busy is great and I’m lucky to be able to say I absolutely love my job. I never feel like I’m dragging my feet to go to the office. The moment I feel like that I need to change career path!”
One of Rosanna’s iconic moments came when she interviewed Lewis Hamilton as he took her for a hot lap around Sepang International Circuit. The video was circulated all over social media and has had well over six million views.
“We did an interview, if you can call it that!” Rosanna explains. “It’s great to have the insight of what goes on within the Team. I’ve learned lots and it’s helped me develop a strong working relationship with Lewis, Valtteri and Toto.”
In 2016 Rosanna hosted Mercedes’ Paddock hospitality at Formula 1 races, which kept her in the sport’s environment on a regular basis.
“I was interviewing the team’s drivers on almost every race weekend,” she said. “It helped me stay close to the sport and the people within the sport. That obviously helps you keep abreast of new opportunities, you don’t necessarily hear about them first, but you do hear about them.”
Despite Rosanna working for one of the most influential names in sport, there are still restrictions with the content that can be published. With this, an eye for creativity is formed, which is why Rosanna is so successful at what she does.
“When creating YouTube content related to F1 you really have to think outside of the box as you don’t have access to much footage due to copyright laws,” she says. “At Pole Position, we were very limited with what we could show but we soon became pretty savvy making creative videos without track footage.”
Despite the challenges faced at Pole Position, Rosanna feels she learnt the tricks of the trade during her early days there.
“I was 25 when I started hosting Pole Position,” she said. “I knew nothing about motor sport and had to really summon up my self-confidence in the beginning. It was a steep learning curve. Some of the YouTube content at the time was quite aggressive and I made the decision not to follow that trend. For some YouTubers that works for their brand but that style wasn’t and still isn’t right for me. I never knew where Pole Position would take me; you never want to look back and think ‘I wish I hadn’t said that!’”