Everything you always wanted to know about the Hyundai Press Officer. Some words with Nicoletta Russo.
Before we talk about your job, can you tell us about yourself? I understand you have a family tradition in motorsports. Can you tell us your story?
My dad Ninni has worked all his life in rallying, first as a co-driver in the 70s and then as Team Manager of the Lancia team in the 80s and 90s winning several world titles. So we can say I was born and raised in the WRC, the first rally I went to I was 6 months old in Greece. With this sort of personal history, I guess I couldn’t have worked in any other environment!
I started working with my dad in the 2000s when he was managing the WRC support championships and I was still studying. I worked as a freelancer with various PR jobs in WRC until 2013 when I joined Hyundai Motorsport as their Press Officer.
What is your job all about?
My role covers everything media related around the team. On event I take care of the drivers and senior management’s PR schedules, making sure everyone is where they need to be at the right time. I also manage incoming media requests and interviews as well as coordinating the PR suppliers (photographers, video crews, social media).
We see you next to drivers during interviews, can you tell us why?
What I do is mainly making sure they speak to everyone and point them in the right direction and manage time so all the journalists get what they need. I also record some of the interviews to have content for our press releases. Usually, the drivers know what to say but I am next to them in case they need any support.
What is the best part of your job?
I love my job, it gives me the opportunity to travel the world and meet lots of different people. Also, I have the privilege of working with some of the most talented drivers in the world.
Are there any downsides?
Of course, when you see your cars retiring it’s always sad and when a crew has an accident there is always a moment of fear and you wait with impatience to know if the guys are OK and no one got hurt. Unfortunately, this year we lost Craig and it was incredibly difficult both on a professional and a personal level. You know that working in motorsport these things can happen but unfortunately you are never prepared. He is watching over us now and we miss him deeply.
What was your dream job as a child?
I always wanted to work in motorsport because it’s the environment I grew up in so I can say my dream came true!
What can you tell us that the rally community doesn’t know about you?
My name sounds fully Italian but actually, I am only half Italian. I have double nationality as my dad is Italian and my mum is Portuguese and I speak fluently 5 languages (Italian, Portuguese, English, French and Spanish).
Text: Stéphanie Pichard