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24 September 2014

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A winning formula
Gill Hall checking the electronics of Toyota's Formula 1 car
Gill Hall from Newcastle is helping keep the Toyota F1 team on track.
As the world's top drivers prepare to battle it out at the British Grand Prix, one former pupil from Longbenton High school in Newcastle is making her mark in the traditionally male dominated world of Formula One.

BBC Tyne: Sport
BBC Sport: Formula One

Toyota F1 website
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The Toyota team is based in Japan.

It has only been racing in Formula One for one year.

The 2003 drivers are:
Olivier Panis from France and Cristiano da Matta from Brazil

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By Mark Batey

Behind the success of every Formula One driver is a team of highly skilled and experienced engineers, technicians and mechanics. Their job is to get the car into the driver's hands fully prepared for the rigours of the track.

Gill Hall
Gill is one of the few women working in Formula One.
A former pupil of Longbenton High School in Newcastle is lucky enough to be with the Toyota Formula One team as an electronics data engineer.

Gill Hall's job on race day is to look after all the electronics on the car - and there's a lot to do.

"It's a dream job for me", says 30-year-old Gill. "I've followed Formula One for years, and now I'm actually part of one of the teams".

She has to run the systems that communicate between the car on the track and the engineers back in the pits, checking every aspect of the car's operation. If something starts to go wrong, the pit crew will know about before the driver does.

Toyota Driver Olivier Panis putting in another hot lap
Toyota Driver Olivier Panis completes another lap.

Driver Olivier Panis values her calm approach: "She's really cool under pressure, and that's what the drivers need - she gets on with her job, and we can concentrate on the race".

Olivier Panis
Driver Olivier Panis, says Gill keeps cool under pressure.

Gill, a graduate of Northumbria University, is the only woman in the technical crew.

Team Manager Richard Cregan says she's had to work even harder than the men to get where she is. "She's probably had to be even more talented than her male colleagues are to take on such a responsible job".

But how long can she keep working under such pressure? During the race season there's no time for any social life.

"We're always either travelling abroad, preparing on race circuits, or packing up and coming home", says Gill. "There's no time for any social life - but I'm going to keep going for as long as I can".

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