History maker Moore: from delivery driving during lockdown to podium finishes

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Sarah Moore (on the far right) finished in 2nd position, while fellow Brit Alice Powell (centre) took the win.
Sarah Moore (on the far right) finished in 2nd position, while fellow Brit Alice Powell (centre) took the win.

If you’re a stickler for a timely delivery, you could do worse than a bona-fide race car driver dropping off your food shopping, writes Rachel Steinberg.

Sarah Moore made history on Saturday by becoming the first openly LGBTQ+ driver to stand on a podium during a Grand Prix weekend, finishing P2 in the W Series’ 2021 opener.

The Yorkshire native completed 20 laps at Austria’s Red Bull Ring in 32:08.544, just seven tenths of a second behind leader Alice Powell.

Brits Moore, Powell and the rest of the 18-strong international grid are now looking to best their times when they take to the same track on Saturday.

But just months before she was speeding through the F1 circuit, one of seven on this year’s W Series calendar, Moore was making the rounds as a delivery driver.

“It’s been nice to do it to be fair,” said the 27-year-old. “Lockdown one in the UK, as most people know, was a full lockdown, so everything was shut.

“People couldn’t go out, especially the elderly. Most of the time we were the only people that they would see during that day.

“You’d see them waiting by the window or the door when you’d turn up with their delivery and they’d want to chat to you because everyone was stuck at home.

“It was nice just to see people smiling and happy when you turned up at the door.”

Most of her customers didn’t recognize Sarah Moore, the person with their milk and bread, as Sarah Moore, the woman who grew up in a racing family and finished eighth in the inaugural season of the all-female championship.

Moore, whose income as a driver coach dwindled during lockdown, turned to delivery drop-offs both for her bank account and to cure a bit of pandemic-induced inertia.

“[The racing] It’s come up two or three times with customers. I think after this weekend it might come up in a few more conversations,” Moore predicted.

“They actually just have big respect for me, because in their eyes they see that for some reason when people get to the kind of level that I’m at, we think we’re kind of too big to ‘stoop down’.

“But for me I’ve always been quite a grounded person working for a family business most of my life.

“And I was self-employed before Covid. At the end of the day we’ve got to pay our bills and if it means going and cleaning toilets I’d go clean toilets if I needed to.”

Last weekend’s opener marked the beginning of a new partnership in which the W Series’ Saturday races will take place on the same tracks as their F1 counterparts over eight Grand Prix weekends.

The success of Netflix’s F1 documentary Drive to Survive has led to an enormous surge of interest in the championship and its drivers, and the W Series is hoping their own newly-released programme, the six-part Driven on All 4, will have a similar impact.

Moore binged the series in a week, though admitted the experience of being followed by cameras was “a bit strange. Sometimes they catch you on your bad days unfortunately, but they also catch you on your good days.”

The W Series cultivates competition by providing almost everything for its drivers, including their Tatuus F3 T-318 cars. Helmets, however, are not included.

Moore, struggling for funds to buy the recommended spec of protective gear for the new circuits, turned to the internet for help.

Over 150 supporters contributed to £3823 to the crowdfunding effort for her new lid, which features a rainbow across the top and back, a rose for Moore’s native Yorkshire, and cartoon animals to honour her mum and fiancée.

Just two days before practice and qualifying in Austria, the W Series drivers learned the championship was experimenting with a new team format with paired drivers and sponsored liveries.

Moore is racing under the Scuderia W banner alongside Spaniard Belen Garcia who placed fourth on Saturday, though the two haven’t had much time to chat.

The Brit might be willing to deliver food, crowdsource kit or muck out loos to keep doing what she loves, but nonetheless hopes the F1 partnership will ensure more women have the financial backing they need to stay on the grid.

She said: “The atmosphere when fans will be allowed in big numbers again will be unbeatable I think.

“The profile that we’ll hopefully get from being part of F1 weekends in terms of the fan support and moving on in our career in terms of not only support from fans but potential sponsors.

“You never know who you’re going to meet and that could help you further on in your career.”

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