Meet Ariana Bravo, the face of ‘Track TV’
Just two years ago, Ariana Bravo posted her first Instagram Live video. Now, she’s travelling the world as an F1 presenter, reporting on the sport she grew up with as a child. It has been a meteoric rise so far, kick-started by a Dare to be Different (now Girls on Track UK) event, and sent into overdrive by an out-of-the-blue email from Formula One Management (FOM).
Ariana features in the latest edition of Revolution and explains how she was working in internal auditing until the microphone came calling but has now left that job for a career in presenting. Here’s a glimpse into what she had to say.
What first made you interested in motorsport?
“My dad is a big F1 fan, and when I was younger I would watch the races with him. We had a massive Scalextric track in the loft, so I spent a lot of time doing mini-tournaments with my older brothers. I never followed the sport that closely, and it was only when I got older and revisited my interest that my love for it really blossomed.”
When did you first think you could turn that into a career?
“When I went to university I studied economics, which I absolutely love, but I also liked the idea of presenting. It always felt too daunting to take the leap and I didn’t have the confidence to go after it, so I went into a consulting job when I graduated and did that for four years. I loved what I was doing, but something was niggling in the back of my mind so I also joined a few motorsport community groups and that’s when I started to explore if and how I could make it happen.”
So, how did the big break come?
“I started a generic Instagram account, just F1 news stories and updates, and that became a platform to showcase myself presenting on camera. In 2019, I went to the Singapore Grand Prix as part of an extended holiday and recorded some short live feeds – a weekend preview and recaps of qualifying and the race – and continued doing that at home when I got back. After nine months, I was contacted by Formula One Management (FOM). They said they had seen my videos and asked if I’d be interested in doing some work with them. It came from absolutely nowhere and I was stunned. Speechless. It was a very surreal moment.
Where did it go from there?
“I went to a Dare to be Different event at the Williams factory and met a girl called Steph Turner. We became friends after the event and six months later we decided to launch a podcast. We’re both mixed race, and diversity and inclusion have always been really important to both of us. At the time, Black Lives Matter was gaining momentum and we wanted to give people from underrepresented backgrounds in motorsport a platform to talk. We had guests from all sorts of different positions, sharing journeys and experiences, positive and negative. We were going to call it ‘Driving Diversity’ but just before we launched, we noticed the launch of the Driven by Diversity organisation, led by Lindsay Orridge. We got in touch with her and joined forces. Around the same time, FOM invited me to do some work on Track TV too. I jumped at the opportunity, went out to Austria and have since done quite a few races. I was also contacted by Autosport and asked if I’d be interested in hosting their F1 race podcasts. That was another big moment because it is such a big name in our industry and I’ve always been a fan of their coverage. It made it all very real.”
What has been the biggest help in getting you where you are?
“There have been a number of factors. Driven by Diversity and Lindsay and Steph have been especially important on my journey. Girls on Track UK also played a massive part and I cannot sing its praises enough. It is so much more than just a Facebook community. It provides valuable networking opportunities, fantastic events and there are so many people willing to help. It is just incredible. At that Williams event, they had little Post-it Notes and asked everyone to write down their name, email address and what they want to do. That was the first time I put pen to paper and wrote ‘I want to be a presenter in F1’. Steph had taken a picture of it and when I got the F1 gig she sent it to me. That was a full-circle moment.”
Read the full interview with Ariana in the September edition of Revolution and follow the presenter on Instagram: @arianabravoF1