How to become a Senior Travel Coordinator in F1 – Qualifications, skills & more

We spoke to Haas F1 Team's Kate Mackenzie to find out what a Senior Travel Coordinator does, how to become one, and what skills you need for the job.

How to become a Senior Travel Coordinator in F1 – Qualifications, skills & more

Formula 1 teams don’t just arrive at a race weekend – they need people to make sure that flights are booked, paperwork is in order, and everything else is covered so they can take care of the task at hand.

The logistics of moving hundreds of people thousands of miles around the world (and making sure they all get to where they’re going on time) is not one for the faint-hearted, so we spoke to Kate Mackenzie – Senior Travel Coordinator at Haas F1 Team – to find out more.

What is your role?

I am the Senior Travel Coordinator at Haas F1 team and I manage all the bookings for the race team, including our Team Principal. Flights, hotels, airport transfers, cars, visas, immigration documents, passport renewals and during the pandemic, supporting with all necessary paperwork.

How do you become a Senior Travel Coordinator?

I fell into this role by accident. I started working in motorsport in 1999 for a Formula 3000 team, as a race team secretary and I did a bit of everything there. My family doesn’t have a strong interest in motorsport but a friend told me I should try it. I got sucked into it from there and have worked with many different teams since. I joined Haas F1 team in 2015 and I was one of the first employees to help get the team set-up. At that time, I wasn’t just doing travel, I was helping get the office set-up in Banbury and it was a really interesting time to get involved with things you wouldn’t usually.

What qualifications do you need?

Personally, I don’t have any qualifications for this job as it’s all been about the life experience and work experience gained along the way. A general interest and knowledge in the travel industry obviously helps but it’s a job that can be taught as you go.

Haas F1 team pitstop training

Haas F1 team pitstop training

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

What should you study in school?

Having good written English for all travel itinerary and a good knowledge of geography is good. I loved geography at school so there was a link.

What other skills are useful?

You need to be 100% organised as you’re dealing with several jobs at the same time and you need to be accurate with the work you’re conducting. Being a good communicator is key as you’re giving a lot of information to lots of people, many who are different nationalities. This has been particularly important during the pandemic where you need to make everything very clear.

How can I get work experience?

I think you should start at smaller teams and smaller formulas; it doesn’t have to be single-seaters or Formula 1. Having a general interest in motorsport can be useful as it can help you engage with other people’s roles in the team. I’ve worked with people who have experience in travel agencies as well and it does help but it is a very different job.

Do you get to go to races?

I’m doing more travelling since the pandemic because it’s easier being on the ground to manage all the paperwork needed with so many changes. Previously, I would go to ‘new’ races, which helps with the planning and logistics, as usually there would be recce’s beforehand. With back-to-back races, it’s better to be on the ground with the team than being back at base.

Nikita Mazepin, Haas VF-21, Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-21

Nikita Mazepin, Haas VF-21, Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-21

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

What does a normal day at work look like for you?

I don’t think there is such a thing! It goes through phases – there are days where you’re planning for future races but then suddenly, if there is a change of staff or something urgent has come up, you need to react to that.

What do you most love about your job?

The variety of what we do and the fact that every day is different. Even though I’ve done the job for a long time, I am still learning. With everybody on the team, there is such a good group of people here and it has a family atmosphere. It’s been great to get to know what people’s roles are other than just their job title. You’re learning and it makes you respect a lot more what people do.

This article was created in partnership with Motorsport Jobs. Find the latest jobs in motorsport, as well as jobs with the Haas F1 Team, on the Motorsport Jobs website.

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