The Grand Prix. The World Cup. Wimbledon. (To name a few.) It really is the summer of sport this year and from our living rooms, we all get to watch hundreds of (lucky) athletes competing across the world. However, they aren’t there alone. One of the most globetrotting sports has to be Formula One and every driver needs a team. In honour of all of this sport, we post the first of a three part series. Here, we look at becoming part of a highly desirable F1 industry, with the possibility of jet-setting to countless paradisiacal destinations, whilst engaging in a career you are passionate about.
Race teams consist of many engineers. For you undergraduate engineers, you should be gaining as much experience as you can whilst you are still here (as all of you should). If you can volunteer at a race team or at a garage or secure a placement in a similar environment, expanding the complex knowledge being learnt at university for the highly advanced vehicles of today, this ‘hands on’ experience will prove very beneficial. Emphasis of working in a team is important as are the qualities associated with teamwork.
Race Engineers nowadays can expect to analyse on board telemetry to subsequently improve performance through effective engine calibration, suspension adjustment, aerodynamics and other technical variables. Mechanical engineers are in the best position to move forward in this field but relevant experience supersedes this, as does a Masters in Motorsport Engineering. It’s worth acknowledging that some F1 teams have preferences on where they like their candidates to have studied.
McLaren detail the role of the F1 Aerodynamicist; requiring graduates from Aeronautical or Aerospace Engineering degree courses. McLaren, who also recommend graduates to get involved with motorsports project work, highlight the significance of technical capability over knowledge. Practicing your skills is imperative. They suggest that the best and most accelerated way to get to become a Aerodynamicist is to enter the entry level role of a Wind Tunnel Engineer. It is here you will pick up the directly applicable knowledge and experience to give yourself the best chance of progressing up into such roles. McLaren also give insight in how to reach other career destinations with their organisation including Software Quality Assurance (SQA) Engineering, Transporter Drivers and Vehicle Dynamicists.
Williams again accentuate the notion of teamwork and cite their employees as their greatest assets. They look for many personal traits on top of the technical skills; commitment being the most desirable. As aforementioned, voluntary experience and personal projects to add to your portfolio could be just what you need to evidence your commitment.
As ever, building your own personal network is essential, especially in this industry. As you can well imagine, many jobs with these prestigious automotive companies, including those actually working closely with the grid, are not advertised. Recommendations from employers inside the industry, once you are part of it, allow those excelling to progress and reach where they desire.
These links provide more useful information to those looking for the fast paced route into the fast paced industry, including details on designing roles.