In a world mainly dominated by men, having a woman on your team is rare, especially as a Chief Mechanic in a high-profile championship. That is the case though for Superleague Formula by Sonangol team FC Porto and its driver Tristan Gommendy.
The French drivers car is looked after by Hitech Racing, one of the few racing teams with a woman as a member of its squad, Briton Sara Morgan being Chief Mechanic for Gommendys car, making her unique in the paddock. In one of the few moments of peace the drivers enjoy prior to a tense one-hour qualifying session, the Frenchman, in between signing autographs for the fans, explained his relationship with the pit lanes only female Chief Mechanic.
Sara is a very reliable person. She does an excellent job of managing the team and is responsible for the car being at its best on track and able to fight at the front, says Tristan. From the very beginning she really surprised me. Not every driver has the luxury of working with a woman and having that female perspective in the pit lane.
Working with the only female Chief Mechanic in Superleague Formula by Sonangol, Tristan, unsurprisingly, has a couple of unforgettable stories to tell!
The first time I got in the car and Sara started to help me fasten my safety belts the situation was a little awkward! laughed Tristan. As professional as she is, the first step was to pull the part of the belt situated between my legs! She stopped for a few seconds and looked at me and I think she was wondering whether to ask if it was ok. Before she had the chance to speak I just said no, no its fine, just do your job! While that moment was a little bizarre, the truth is that we are both just doing our jobs.
Sara, meanwhile, has become used to her unique position in the paddock and remains completely dedicated to racing.
I have been involved at race meetings for some years and so Im used to being the only woman in the pit lane, she explained. I really enjoy what I do and I dont have any kind of problems with it. I have an excellent relationship with my mechanics, who do everything I ask of them, and also with Tristan.