Motorsport Jobs: What's it like to work in Formula 1?

Formula 1 is extremely competitive off-track as well as on it, so trying to find a job in such a challenging and demanding industry will always be a struggle.

Motorsport Jobs: What's it like to work in Formula 1?

It may look out of reach for the vast majority, but with hard work, passion and a slice of luck anybody can achieve the ultimate goal of a Formula 1 job.

But what is it actually like to work in F1? Adam Arbon spoke to an aerodynamicist about life away from the race track.

How did you get into Formula 1?

During my PhD, I contacted a friend of mine who was working for a team back then, asking whether they did any kind of internships for students. She asked for my CV and she forwarded it to the head of aerodynamics.

Then I had an interview with him and a few months later I started my non-paid summer internship in the aero department. Entering F1 is the most difficult step. After that things can get a bit easier especially if you know the right people.

What has been your biggest challenge whilst working in F1?

The job itself is a big challenge, but if I would need to choose one, it would be the everyday challenge to find performance. Each of us is responsible for an area of the car and we have targets to meet at short periods of time.

This is the beauty of the sport too though. You push yourself every day to improve and bring more performance. It's not rare to be lying down in bed and still thinking 'how I can improve my design?', analysing stuff in my mind and taking decisions on how to move forward.

Check out Motorsport Jobs today

What advice would you give hopeful prospects about working in F1?

Learn the fundamentals first, then keep working hard, gain experience and never give up. Entering F1 is not easy, so one should always look around for opportunities in other industries too. You can gain very good experience in automotive or aerospace and, if you keep pushing, the opportunity will come at some point.

It is also very important to network and know the right people as these are the ones who could really help in the end. Nowadays, LinkedIn is very useful for job opportunities. Keep in mind though, that F1 is not a nine-to-five job and needs a lot of sacrifices to succeed.

What is the best thing about working in F1?

The best thing is that you can see your design from computer to the track in a few weeks.

Is career progression possible in modern Formula 1?

Career progression is possible but as in most of the jobs depends on performance/experience, timing and of course politics sometimes. F1 is a competitive environment and all of us want to go higher, but this can't happen for everyone within a team. This is why people tend to look around (other teams).

This is one of the most usual ways to progress in case this is not happening in your own team. I have to mention though that you need to be patient and work hard.

What does the future hold for you, working in such an industry like motorsport?

I want to stay in F1 and see what I can achieve. I am still learning every day and need to get more experience. Of course, getting more and more responsibility is the usual progression, but my target is to become a good team leader in the long-term.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H in the team photo
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H and Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H in the team photo

Photo by: Sutton Images

shares
comments
F1 2018: Launch dates, calendar, line-ups and testing schedule
Previous article

F1 2018: Launch dates, calendar, line-ups and testing schedule

Next article

Formula 1 tweaks grid penalty system for 2018

Formula 1 tweaks grid penalty system for 2018
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021