Formula Careers takes a look behind the scenes of Alpine F1 Team and meets the inspirational ladies carving out successful careers in Formula 1.
I’m Ellie Slater, and I have been an Electronics Software Engineer with Alpine F1 since November 2020.
I have previously worked at Red Bull Advanced Technologies as a Simulation and Modelling Engineer, and at Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team as an Undergraduate Tyre Engineer.
Outside of work I’m a portrait artist and have been fortunate enough to have drawings signed by Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Daniel Ricciardo, and Max Verstappen.
How does it feel to work for Alpine F1 Team?
I feel really honoured to work for the Alpine F1 team. We have a huge heritage and even though we are not a championship winning team for now, the progress I’ve seen in these past years is staggering and I truly believe that we will get there one day. Also, witnessing a car you worked on win races is quite special!
Is it an industry you always dreamed of working in?
Actually no, growing up I always wanted to be an Artist. I did work experience in Interior Design and Architecture before spending a week with Team West-Tec. It was that week that sparked an interest in Engineering and Motorsport!
What subjects or courses did you study for your role?
I have an Honours Class I MEng Automotive Engineering (with Industrial Placement) degree from the University of Leeds.
For A levels I studied Maths, Physics, and Fine Art, plus Further Maths at AS level.
Did you do any work experience or extra curricular activities?
I did work experience in a few sectors, but my first experience of Motorsport was with Team West-Tec where I spent a week shadowing a Race Engineer. Between my second and third years at university I did a placement at Mercedes F1 as a Tyre Engineer, which was incredible!
Both dissertations I did at Leeds were related to their Formula Student team Gryphon Racing.
How did you get your role with Alpine F1 Team?
I applied for a couple of roles at Alpine F1 at the end of 2020, and after several interviews I was offered the role I’m currently in. I have a background in Vehicle Science so working in Electronics was very new to me, but I have absolutely loved it.
Tell us about your role and what a typical day looks like for you
I look after the HIL (hardware-in-the-loop) rig, which simulates the electronics on the car, including any sensors and CAN buses.
For every race I run simulations to validate the software that is on the car to ensure there are no issues and that the ECU isn’t overloaded.
I also keep the model up to date to ensure it is fully representative, and replace any hardware when necessary.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is that it’s in an area that was completely new to me when I started, so I’ve had the opportunity to learn a huge amount. I’ve been in the role for a year and still get to learn new things every day, which is what makes it so enjoyable.
What’s been your biggest challenge so far?
Realising that everyone has setbacks and that the most important thing is to keep pushing for what you want.
What’s your experience as a woman in Formula 1 been like? Have you faced any particular challenges?
The number of women is slowly growing in F1, which is great to see. I have been fortunate as everyone I have worked with has been very supportive, however it can be frustrating when people assume you’ve been given a job or certain opportunities purely to increase the number of women. Every person in F1 has worked hard to get to where they are; none of us would be here if we weren’t good at what we do.
What’s the best thing you did to get you to where you are today?
Work experience! All the experience I did helped me to realise what I wanted to do as a career; it’s just as important to figure out what’s not right for you as it is to find something you’re truly passionate about.
What would you say to younger girls who aspire to work in Formula 1 one day?
Look at all the roles available in F1. All the areas are so important to the team: Engineers, Technicians, HR, Finance, Marketing, the list goes on.
In addition, look for any experience you can get, most teams offer great work experience and apprenticeships.
For younger girls I’d suggest looking into volunteering at local track days, learning to code, and working on transferrable skills such as presentation and research skills.
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