Francisco José Fernández Díaz is director of Motor1 (Spain) and has worked in automotive sector for more than 27 years. He talks to Mario Cipriano about his passion for cars, for educating the public and his experience as a driving instructor.
Could you tell us about your career so far?
I have been linked to the automotive world for more than 27 years. My first contact was within the world of competition in Spain, specifically with national championships organised by Renault. From that moment on, thanks to my role as a pit-stop mechanic, I began to contribute to a national radio programme. From there, I went through different specialist media, until I became director of the magazines Altagama and Cars 2000.
What motivated you to pursue a career in the journalism and publishing industry?
I think the automotive world needs specialists who can advise the final user on one of the most important purchases of their life. Buying a new car represents an important financial outlay and not everyone knows which model is best suited to their needs. This is where we have to do a quality prescriptive work, contributing in providing the right information and taking care of even the smallest detail.
At the beginning of this year you moved from the magazine Altagama to Motor1. Why the change after so many years with the publisher GrupoV?
At the end of last year, I decided to change the course of my career, since I had been working on the same title for more than eight and a half years and I felt that I had reached the top. I wanted to continue growing professionally and I chose to start a new career in Motor1. I like to learn and the digital world, for me, is a new challenge.
Motor1 is growing internationally. What are its short term and medium term goals and what makes it unique?
Indeed, Motor1 is an international platform that belongs to the Motorsport Network. Our goal is clear: within the shortest possible time, we want to be among the five best websites, which specialise in motoring, in Spain. We look to differentiate ourselves by the quality of our content, both in writing, video and photography.
You also work as a professional photographer specialising in cars and motor sports. Is your passion for motors something you’ve always had, or did it develop with your career?
My hobby for cars started at an early age. I remember when I was five or six years old, when the re-transmissions of the races of F1 finished, I said to my father that I wanted to be a pilot. The problem with this industry is the need for stable economic support. In Spain, there are very good people who fail to excel because of lack of founds or help. And it is a pity.
What advice would you give to someone who would like start working in the field of motor journalism, considering the current economic and social situation in Spain?
The best advice I can give anyone who wants to start working in this sector is to keep learning and be humble throughout their life. Learning and trying to improve – constantly – are indispensable tools, whatever you do.
What aspect do you value when receiving a press release? What in your opinion makes a press release a good source of information?
Again, I speak about quality. If the press release provides good information, I consider it as a basis for an article and I try to find out more by requesting additional information. It is important that the press release is written by a professional who knows what he, or she, is talking about, so we can prepare “quality” content.
And finally, in your professional career, what is the most memorable story that you have reported on?
I could tell you a lot of stories, but I think the most curious one to have taken place in the years that I worked as both a journalist and a driving instructor is the most memorable. The lack of training or information available to the general public is at times comical.
I remember when some of my students would ask questions after the theoretical talks based on what their brother-in-law, neighbour, friend, etc. were right when giving advice on the maintenance of their care. They would make it seem as if they were tried and tested mechanical engineers, when this couldn’t have been further from the truth. At first, it is funny to hear, however, the “disinformation” is so widespread that its results are alarming.
- Francisco José Fernández Díaz was interviewed by Mario Cipriano. Photograph credit: Francisco Fernández