Interview With Holly Samos,

Thu, 9 March 2006, 09:23

It’s go, go, go, as the 2006 Formula One season races into action, with Five Live’s new pit lane reporter, Holly Samos, ready and waiting in pole position to bring listeners all the excitement. Lets take a pit stop with Holly before she speeds off to the opening race in Bahrain.
How do you feel about becoming Five Live’s new pit lane reporter?
“I’m over the moon. Anyone who has come into contact with me knows that I love
travelling, adore radio and love Formula One, so this is the ideal job. I’m so excited
about the new gig that I keep having to pinch myself, and I don’t really think it’ll
sink in until I’m in the fray of the paddock and pit lane at the first race in Bahrain.”

So you’re a big Formula One fan, then?
“I first became a fan back in 1993. I always used to stay up overnight and watch the
first race in Australia, and my Sundays were pretty much routine: the TV and radio on,
watching the race, beer in hand.”

Have you ever been to a Grand Prix?
“When I was 22 I went out with a boy who worked in TV as a sound recordist,
and he was due to work at the Monte Carlo Grand Prix. I hot-footed it over to
Nice, got the train along the coast to Monaco and enjoyed my first Grand Prix
from the top of his TV truck in the blazing sunshine – not quite being able to believe
the noise, colour and glamour of the sport.I was hooked from that moment on.”

How does it feel to be part of such a male-dominated sport? Does it faze you?
“I worked with Chris Evans, John Revell and Dan McGrath on the Chris Evans
Breakfast Show for five years, and was pretty much always the only girl, so I’m
used to working in the midst of men! But whenever I’ve been to a motor sport race,
people treat you well – whether you’re a man or a woman – if you’re respectful and
polite, so hopefully Formula One will be the same.There are actually quite a few
women working behind the scenes in Formula One.”

What do you think your biggest challenge will be?
“At first, it will be recognising who I should be interviewing and not getting the drivers
mixed up with the mechanics! My job will involve getting information and any
exclusives we can muster, so I figure I’ll become a James Bond figure (but ladylike!),
doing some detective work to figure out the gossip from the truth in the paddock.”

Do you have a favourite driver or team?
“I’m really looking forward to seeing how Honda fares. I have a lot of faith in that team and I reckon Jenson Button could do well this year, especially having the inbuilt competition with Rubens Barrichello. I think it will push Jenson a lot, as Rubens will do very well if the car is good. Michael
Schumacher is a legend, and such an experienced fast driver, so I’m looking forward to watching him up close and I hope it won’t be his last season.And full-on support for our other British driver,
David Coulthard, at Red Bull.”

Which driver are you most looking forward to meeting?
“Michael Schumacher – just because he’s so seriously good at his job. I had a dream
about him the other night, actually.We were playing backgammon until the early hours, then he realised he hadn’t slept for his race the next day! God knows what that meant – I think I just fancied a game of backgammon and, because I’m thinking about the forthcoming season, he was my
playing partner “I’d also really like to meet Jarno Trulli, as he has such an interesting life outside of the circuit. I’ve always fancied popping down to his vineyards in Italy!”

Which race circuit are you most excited about?
“I’ve only been to a few races in the past and the majority were European, apart from China last year. I’m excited about going to Melbourne – by all accounts, it’s a great city, the weather is good and
everyone I know who’s been seems to enjoy themselves there.”

Which driver or team should we look out for this season?
“As we know with Formula One, there are always contenders for the first few races. Based on off-season testing, I would have to say the early season battle will be between Renault, Honda and Ferrari. I would also have to put McLaren up there. However, they have had severe reliability issues of
late to do with the engine and performance, and there’s not an overnight remedy.“I think Williams, with either Nico Rosberg or Mark Webber, could be the dark horse. You never really know, which is the beauty of the sport.The cars have all got V8 engines this year and tyre changes are back
in the pit lane stops, so it’ll certainly be exciting. Michael Schumacher is a highly
competitive individual and certainly won’t want a repeat of last season.”

Who do you think will come out on top at the end of the season?
“Michael Schumacher is going to work really hard to become World Champion again. Fernando Alonso is young and fiery, and will want to leave Renault on top again before he moves to McLaren in 2007, and the fire is in the bellies of the Honda F1 duo. Button’s also got something to prove after 102 races and no win, and Barrichello will now be out of Schumacher’s shadow.”

Do you think Jenson Button has a chance of finally winning his first Grand Prix this season?
“If I were Jenson Button, I’d want nothing more than to win a race this year. He’s young and has some good experience under his belt, so I’d put money on him winning one. Barrichello has entered over twice as many Grand Prix as Jenson, so his experience will be invaluable to him, but I love those horses that come from the back to win.”

If you had a chance to become a Formula One driver, which team would you drive for and who would be your ideal team-mate?
“Always being somebody who enjoys life to the full, the only option for me would be Red Bull.Those guys certainly know how to party. As for a team-mate, they would have to be under 35, very fit and a millionaire – in fact, any of the grid would do for me!”.

Sport On Five – Five Live Formula One Sunday 12 March 11.25am BBC RADIO FIVE LIVE

BBC Press Office

Photo Used With Kind Approval From BBC Copyright BBC

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