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Woman Spotlight Wednesday: Stephanie Carlin

Written by Ramiza Donlic, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Women have played an influential role throughout the history of motor racing. Many have taken to the wheels of motorsport machines, while numerous figures have worked tirelessly on the sidelines in various roles, shaping the racing world to the present day. Woman Spotlight Wednesday aims to take a look at the tales of these superwomen, who have surpassed various hurdles to reach where they are today.

Today´s article dives into the tale of Stephanie Carlin — a well known figure in the world of motor racing, having worked in several Championships, before taking a prominent managerial position.

Image credits: McLaren

She began her career in marketing and press, before being promoted to commercial manager at the team Rodin Carlin, owned by her husband Trevor Carlin, in 2011.

She ascended to the deputy team principal for Carlin in May 2022, with an oversight on managing the technical activities across several championships — in F3 and their F1 Academy Teams, as well as becoming the Team Principal of Team X44 in Extreme E, the team founded by Lewis Hamilton, in September 2020, taking part in the electric rally racing series.

Farewell Rodin Carlin

Last week it was announced that Stephanie Carlin will leave Rodin Carlin and take up the position of F1 Business Operations Director at McLaren Racing from January 2024.

Carlin will report directly to Team Principal Andrea Stella and will take care of a variety of activities related to F1 operations, as well as their participation in the 2024 F1 Academy season.

Her new role at McLaren occurs as the F1 team is looking to sustain their good performance in the 2023 season. The UK-based team finished fourth in the constructors championship with Norris and Piastri earning 302 points throughout the season for the team.

Lando Norris is already acquainted with Carlin, having raced with the team in 2015 in the MSA Formula Championship (now better known as the F4 British Championship). He spent two years in F3 with the squad, winning races in British F3 in 2016 before securing the 2017 FIA European championship. He then went on to secure the runner-up spot with the team in F2 in 2018.

Early career

After graduating with a degree in Political Science from the University of Nottingham, Stephanie started her career as Assistant Press Officer at the Society of Motor Manufacturers, before moving to the role of Press Officer at A1 Grand Prix, a global motor racing championship in its inaugural season.

After a brief time at Hyundai Cars UK as Senior Press Officer confirmed her desire to continue working in the industry, she then joined Carlin as PR Manager, overseeing all media and PR functions within the company’s teams.

In 2011, Stephanie was promoted to Commercial Manager for Carlin, overseeing all commercial aspects of the team, including driver contracts and sponsorship proposals and branding, including the team's transition into IndyCar back then.

In May 2022, she stepped up to the overall deputy team principal role, taking up specific responsibility for running the squad´s efforts in multiple series — including restructuring the team, staff deployment, staff training, liaising with team managers, and senior engineers to facilitate best practices across the company's various teams.

This position allowed her to continue overseeing all media and PR functions for the team, as well as assisting with driver negotiations, being solely responsible for all driver and sponsor contracts.

Carlin on the podium with Jehan Daruvala (left), Liam Lawson (middle) and Theo Pourchaire (right); Image credits: FIA Formula 2

In 2023, she continued as team principal when Carlin tied up with New Zealand car manufacturer Rodin.

Alongside her Formula 2 exploits, Stephanie also took up a role in Extreme E. As part of X44 Racing's review into expanding opportunities for marginalized groups and creating a more inclusive environment, X44 Racing partnered with junior motorsport heavyweights Rodin Carlin.

Therefore she also served as Team Principal of Team X44 in the Extreme E Championship, through a technical support agreement to staff and led the team, on behalf of owner Lewis Hamilton. These appointments saw her become the first and only female team principal in the respective categories.

Throughout the last year, the team participated in British F4, FIA F3 and FIA F2, alongside GB3, and raced in F1 Academy and Spanish F4 for the first time.

Carlin is one of the most successful racing teams outside of F1, having claimed over 470 race victories and 30 titles since 1999, across a multitude of junior racing series such as F4, F3, F2, IndyCar, ELMS and Asian Le Mans Series. It has helped promote more than 30 drivers to F1.

Business Operations Director for McLaren

Stephanie Carlin will join McLaren with over 17 years of experience in motorsport. As Business Operations Director for the McLaren Formula 1 Team, Carlin is responsible for a wider range of activities such as F1 Driver management, including reserve drivers, and out of cap programmes.

Additionally, she will also have oversight on McLarens first involvement in the all-female F1 Academy, where Bianca Bustamante will drive for the team, with support from Cisco.


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