Sky F1 pundit Naomi Schiff admitted she was “very surprised” to be offered a role with the channel, due to her not having driven a Formula 1 car before – though she can still relate to the driving experience through the multiple series in which she has competed elsewhere.
The former W Series driver has also got team manager experience on her CV to bring to her role on Sky, having first moved into TV after not automatically qualifying to retain her W Series seat for 2020, having also worked on stunt driving projects alongside her racing career.
Having begun to gain broadcasting experience with the all-female single-seater series, Schiff began working with Sky F1 as a pundit on race weekends and presenter on their post-race show, Any Driven Monday, last year.
She admitted her surprise at earning a role with the channel initially, but she explained that her racing experience enables her to be able to offer a driver’s perspective on a race weekend – with similarities from what she has experienced in her own career to date.
“I did that for the whole season with W Series, really, while still kind of working a little bit in the office,” Schiff told Jodie Kidd on the Kidd In A Sweet Shop YouTube channel when discussing her transition from racing into television and working for W Series.
“And then I was like, ‘okay, I think, ideally, I’d like to do the TV stuff and not the office stuff’, because I wanted to use the time in between to maybe do more stuff again, like stunt driving, and more stuff focused on my career.
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“So we kind of had a discussion, and I was very surprised to have a call from Sky.
“Weirdly, I didn’t ever think that they would consider me as a pundit because of the fact that I’ve obviously never driven an F1 car, but I was so delighted when they suggested it because I was like, ‘this is kind of going to fill the void in my life of not being a driver anymore right now’ – and I can still speak from a point of experience.
“Whether it’s an F1 car or a Formula 3 car or a KTM GT4 or a Ferrari Challenge car, like whatever it is, I’ve driven so many different cars and racing at the end of the day, is racing, and drivers are drivers.
“Yes, the pressure is higher and, yes, the equipment is quicker and more technologically advanced, but it’s the same thing.
“I might not be able to talk about the absolute minutiae of when you do this in this car, but I can definitely speak about why a driver has chosen to do something, how they might be feeling in a moment, why they’ve had understeer or oversteer in a moment – so I was really glad that they gave me that opportunity.”
Schiff will continue in a full Sky F1 line-up that is made up of: Jenson Button, Nico Rosberg, Martin Brundle, Damon Hill, Karun Chandhok, Anthony Davidson, Natalie Pinkham, Ted Kravitz, Danica Patrick, Simon Lazenby, David Croft and Rachel Brookes.
Johnny Herbert and Paul di Resta have both left.