Delphine Biscaye on Normalising Mental Health Awareness in Motorsport

As ROKiT Venturi Racing’s Team Manager, Delphine Biscaye is the operational lynchpin of the team on a Formula E race weekend and faces immense pressure from start to finish.

By multi tasking and balancing a host of different yet constant demands, she plays a crucial role in the operational running of Monaco’s only racing team.

The smallest mistake can separate the difference between victory and defeat and with such responsibility comes the need and expectation to deliver.

As we continue to shine the spotlight on Mental Health Awareness Month, Delphine shares her own experiences and explains why being open about mental wellbeing is so important.

“I’m responsible for the sporting side of the team and my job can be very stressful. I can’t afford to forget anything and if I miss a single deadline, it could prove to be race-critical,” she says.

“If I don’t send our official declarations in time, we could receive a penalty. If one number on our technical passport is filled out incorrectly, we could even be disqualified.

“Forgetting something is my main fear and because of the sheer pressure, being able to effectively disconnect from such a demanding environment is very important. It’s something I make a conscious effort to do.

“To be honest though, I’m not sure if I disconnect often enough, just because there is always something that I have to remember on my mind.

“I usually need at least two weeks to fully switch off when I’m on holiday but because of the calendar, finding the time to do that can be difficult. It’s a side to motorsport that can be forgotten.”

On a race weekend, the pressures of work ensure that Delphine’s adrenaline is high but like everyone else, her energy and stress levels fluctuate.

“At the start of a race weekend, you are supercharged and this is something that you try to maintain until the end of the race,” she explains.

“For five days straight, you try to be fully energised, focussed and strong – both physically and mentally – regardless of how little sleep you get.

“When the race is over though, all of that adrenaline and energy that keeps you moving starts to disappear and in the end, you feel exhausted and that’s when all of your emotions flow out.

“Most of the time, I only begin to feel relaxed when I board the plane to go home or actually get home but tiredness is still a very big factor for me. It usually takes up to three days to recover but sometimes, it can take up to a week to get back to normal.

“This is when your personal life starts to come back and although the work-related stress goes down, I find that the stress on the personal side goes up because you need to compensate for the week that you are not at home.

“There are different kinds of expectations that you need to meet, despite still being exhausted from the previous week. And by the time you’ve recovered, you’re getting ready for the next race. Then the stress starts to build, we pack, get ready and leave and then it all starts again.”

In the face of such pressure, communication is more than important and this is a cornerstone of ROKiT Venturi Racing’s team culture and working environment.

With stress and tiredness going hand-in-hand with motorsport, Delphine asserts that mental health awareness should be commonplace and that acknowledging and being open about personal difficulties must be normalised.

“I have been doing some training since the start of the year as part of my development to see how I can become a better manager and a better listener,” continues Delphine.

“I think I am quite sensitive to people’s emotions so if someone feels down, I try to find away to let them know that I’m here to listen if they want to talk.

“Listening is hearing what people have to say though, not comparing ourselves and offering solutions. We’re all different and the solutions we may present are not always relevant to another person’s way of thinking.

“Open communication is very important in our team culture and Jérôme’s door is always open and I’m always happy to listen.

“Stress and tiredness are normal in our line of work, and we shouldn’t feel ashamed or blame ourselves for feeling this.

“If we don’t feel great, we can say it and if we’re tired, too stressed or need help, we can admit it. It’s something that needs to be normalised in motorsport and that goes for every role.

“There is an idea that the more senior you are, the stronger you have to appear but no one is bulletproof and we need to acknowledge when we are down sometimes, and not be afraid to seek help when we need it.

“Everyone is different but in a way, we are all the same because we all need support and need to look out for each other and after ourselves. It’s natural to have fears, worries and stress, so why shouldn’t we talk about them?”