Nicki Shields on her motorsport journey and changing the narrative

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Nicki Shields on her motorsport journey and changing the narrative

The Formula E expert, and F1 Academy Lead Commentator, looks back at her path into the world of racing ahead of International Women's Day.


If you've watched the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, you'll be familiar with Nicki Shields. Bringing expert analysis and a scientific background to her role as lead presenter, Nicki is an essential part of the broadcast team.

Nicki - like many - became obsessed with racing thanks to her father: "I'm so happy and thankful that my dad gave me the motorsport bug," she told "He took me to race tracks, to karting days, and we spent Sundays watching the Grand Prix or British Touring Cars."

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As well as her dad, the love for all things four wheels runs in the family. With one grandfather previously working as a chauffeur for Rolls Royce, and another who bought himself nice cars, it was undoubtedly a family affair. 

Life as a working mum in motorsport

However, now a parent herself to three beautiful children, Nicki is looking forward to changing the narrative: "I'm really excited when the boys grow up, and someone says, why do you love motorsport? They're gonna say 'because of my mum' and I'm going to be so proud of that moment."

Nicki has been an inspiration to mums everywhere, using her social media to document her return to work after welcoming her sons in 2019 and 2022, as well as a daughter last year. She reveals that her honest accounts of being a working and travelling mum have helped others who found it daunting and even questioned if it was possible! 

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After the realisation as an early teenager that becoming a Formula 1 racing driver might be a near impossible task with her lack of experience, Nicki focused on a degree in Biological Sciences. 

"My A levels were in chemistry, biology and economics," she continued. "I just loved science, particularly environmental sciences. Then I did my degree at Bristol University and spent a lot of time specialising in environmental science, which obviously works extremely well now, given that sustainability was a large chunk. It was ahead of its time, and sustainability wasn't a word mentioned back when I was at university!"

Having that knowledge is also why Nicki is such a valued member of the Formula E family. As well as her fun and engaging personality shining through in her interviews with the drivers or team principals, she also has, as you might expect, an intimate understanding of the all-electric championship.

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"Now motorsport and sustainability actually kind of go together, which never would have been back then," Nicki adds. 

Formula E since day one

From her first meetings with Formula E almost a decade ago until now, Nicki has experienced the Formula E championship since its inception. Describing her journey with the series as "very special", there's also a chance to reflect on how far Formula E has come. 

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"Going into the first race around Beijing, there were many question marks over whether it would happen. And it did. It's been an amazing journey to see it progress in terms of the quality of the manufacturers, the quality of the drivers and the teams, the tracks we go to and the locations.

"I mean, Cape Town… what an amazing place to be. What a great way to showcase what Formula E you can do with it with the GEN3 car on the fastest track. We're talking about the most pioneering technology, not just electric cars, but in a race car."

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In addition to her presenting work, Nicki has always jumped at the opportunity to put herself out of her comfort zone. From becoming the first female member of the media to drive a Formula E car to appearing in the commentary box, it's clear that she's ready to tackle any new experiences or opportunities that come her way - now joining the F1 Academy as a Lead Commentator! 

Girls on Track Ambassador 

It's also the advice she would give any young woman, or individual, who wants to follow their dreams and work in the world of motorsport. As an ambassador for the FIA Girls on Track programme, Nicki is always helping inspire and help the next generation. 

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"You can do it," she says. "If you want to do it, you can do it. Take control of your own journey. No one is going to do it for you. Don't be put off by what you see others achieving, especially on social media. If you lack confidence, build it up and try to find a mentor.

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"Making your contacts and gaining experience always help. So focus on building these up. Start going to race tracks or events. Social media can be an incredible tool to get to know the motorsport community, when used in the right way. 

"Working in motorsport doesn't come easy. It might look like it on social media, and yes occasionally people have been really lucky with the jobs that they've got. But actually, 99.9% of the time, it's hard graft that will get you there."