Being interviewed isn't something that happens everyday. It's not something most of us have much chance to practice, so it's quite easy to be unprepared and unsure of how best to handle yourself during an interview. It's very easy to end up seeming vague and incoherent in an interview, which nobody wants, and which doesn't impress too many sponsors.
Rather than go into too much depth, this article will just cover five key things to keep in mind in the few seconds you have to prepare for your next interview (when you win your next race!).1. Personal Presentation.
Most of us are very busy on a race weekend, in between driving and keeping the racecar running, quite often there isn't much time to shave or brush your hair. But this is the first thing people see when watching an interview. So, make that extra effort to have a shave on race morning (unless you have a beard of course!), and take a second to brush your hair (or even better, wear a sponsor's cap!). Also do your best to have a clean driving suit, and DO UP THE COLLAR!2. Think About the Background.
For some interviews you'll get to have some input into where it happens. If you do, make sure you select a suitable area - preferably in front of your car so either your name or sponsor's logo are clearly visible. Try to avoid busy or distracting backgrounds - nobody will be listening to what you're saying if there is a kid picking their nose in the background.3. Take a Second to Gather Your Thoughts.
If you have the chance, think about what message you'd like to get through the night before the meeting, or in the morning when you're getting everything ready. If you don't get that chance, and you are on the spot, ask the interviewing team to give you 30 seconds to have a think about what things you'd like to mention. Things at the top of the list should be Sponsors, People Who Have Helped, Worthy Competitors, What You're Hoping to Achieve.4. Repeat the Question in Your Answer.
This may not make much sense at the time, but will make more sense when watching the interview. Quite often TV producers don't bother with including the interviewer's question - they simply edit to show only what you've said. Sometimes this means your comment ends has no context or in the worst case makes no sense. You can avoid this problem by using a part of the question in your answer. This little trick also gives you a couple more precious seconds to think carefully about your answer. For example, if an interviewer asks: "So, what are your plans for the remainder of the season?", instead of answering "To win!", you could say: "For the rest of the season, I'm aiming to produce consistent performances, and take as many wins as possible." Which one sounds more like an F1 driver to you?5. Don't Stare at the Camera.
It's ok to know the camera is there, but don't stare down the lens. Look at the interviewer when you answer the questions. Also, don't use the interviewer's name in your answers. As in the point above, there is a fair chance the question won't even be shown on TV, so the viewer at home won't understand who you're referring to. (It's fine to use the interviewer's name off camera if you know it.)
So, that's it. Just a few easy to follow guidelines you can put into practice during your next interview!