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Thursday, December 13, 2012
MEET the Suffolk girl rubbing shoulders with the stars and living life very much in the fast lane.
Having worked with the likes of Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs at Manchester United, Ipswich-born Jo Sinclair switched gears and is now an integral cog in the wheel at Red Bull Racing.
As head of sponsorship, the Leeds University Media and Management graduate works with major global companies and brands – keen to be associated with the ever-growing Formula One team – and is currently revelling in the Milton Keynes-based outfit’s third successive Drivers’ and Constructors Championship title win.
However, work at the team, both on and off the track, is never done.
The latest string to her bow has seen the team Jo heads, secure a title partnership with Infiniti – the luxury car range from Nissan – meaning from next season, world champion Sebastian Vettel and team-mate Mark Webber will be competing for Infiniti Red Bull Racing.
In the workshop meanwhile, mechanics, designers and constructors are working around the clock to prepare the team’s new car, ready for testing in February. The new season starts next March, in Australia.
Jo, a former pupil at Finborough School and Ipswich High School for Girls, travels the world with the team and, having toasted another title less than three weeks ago, took time to reflect on another memorable season.
“I would say the campaign just gone was a lot tougher than the 2011 season when we were winning every other race,” said Jo, who was Global Sponsorship Manager at Old Trafford for just over five years.
“This year has been a fans’ season and we did not earn as many wins as we would have hoped, but that shows the FIA are doing a good job keeping everyone on a level playing field.
“I have been able to see the strain on the team’s faces as they have competed this season and that makes this latest win more special. Being part of it makes you feel every moment.”
Despite not winning any of the season’s final three races, a run of four successive victories by Vettel put Red Bull in the driving seat and his sixth-place finish at Interlagos, in Brazil, saw the German clinch his third-successive title ahead of arch-rival, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, on the final day.
“We went to Japan and managed to make a few upgrades on the car and (Vettel) got the win,” said Jo, who has worked with Red Bull Racing for three seasons.
“We came good at the right time, made the right upgrades and the last few tracks suited our car more.
“To win our first Drivers and Constructors’ Championship in 2010 was amazing as it was all about the initial joy of winning at last.
“In 2011, the novelty had worn off a little but this year was the hardest to win.
“When we (Red Bull Racing) started we came into the sport and had a bit of fun and were renowned as the party team that ran massive promotions, but it just goes to show what can be done with hard work.
“We have only been in the sport eight seasons, whereas Ferrari and McLaren have been involved for 50 years.
“We are now competing with the top teams.”
It’s not all hard work however for the now self-confessed F1 fanatic, who grew up as a big football and rugby fan and only ever took a passing interest in motor sport before.
“My favourite destination this year has to be Austin, Texas,” explained Jo, whose twin brother Simon is head of sport at Framlingham College and a lead coach for Northampton Saints.
“It is a bit of an unknown and they all love their NASCAR racing over there. No one knows much about F1.
“But it is a fantastic destination and the circuit and facilities were brilliant.
“Then there was Monaco where we have our floating ‘Energy Station’ which we drag into the harbour.
“It is one of the most exclusive places for parties if you are part of the creme de la creme.
“I managed about three hours sleep a night there and we would have anything up to 1,500 people on the station.
“We won the race again too – our third in a row – which was crazy so the Sunday night after-party saw plenty of Dom Perignon flowing.
“I didn’t sleep that night.”