Formula Careers takes a look behind the scenes of Alpine F1 Team and meets the inspirational ladies carving out successful careers in Formula 1.
Please introduce yourself!
My name is Kayleigh Egan, I’m the Performance Optimisation Section Leader in the Vehicle Performance Group.
How does it feel to work for Alpine F1 Team?
I love working for Alpine F1 Team, the team spirit is alive and well in Enstone and everyone is very helpful and friendly, working together to help make the car go quicker on track!
Is it an industry you always dreamed of working in?
I started watching F1 when I was about 10 and loved it, I really wanted to work in the industry but didn’t know what job I could actually do, so it wasn’t something I was pursuing.
What subjects or courses did you study for your role?
After my GCSEs I knew I wanted to go to university but at that stage didn’t have a particular career in mind. I did A levels in Maths, Biology, Physics and Chemistry to keep my options open, and when looking for a degree came across Motorsport Engineering – it was the first time I realised I could be an engineer in F1. So I went on to do an MEng degree in Motorsport Engineering at Oxford Brookes University, as it has a good reputation with the industry.
Did you do any work experience or extra curricular activities?
My degree included a year’s work placement, which I did at BMW MINI and I also spent a couple of summer holidays working for a different F1 team.
I worked throughout my degree to support myself in various non engineering roles.
How did you get your role with Alpine F1 Team?
When I graduated, I applied for a job at Enstone that required more experience than I had, but just in the hope my CV would be seen. Luckily a few months later I was contacted for an interview for a 3 month graduate placement and was offered the job – that was in December 2009 and I’m still here nearly 12 years later!
Tell us about your role and what a typical day looks like for you
I am responsible for a section within the Vehicle Performance Group – we perform computer simulations to investigate the effects of changing components on the car, helping to optimise the car setup ahead of a race weekend, and providing information and support to various departments about the performance of future cars, such as the trackside engineers, aerodynamicists, design office and production. We analyse data from the track, and are also involved in testing the brake systems.
No two days are the same but generally I am based in the office, running simulations or looking at data, from the real car on track or brake testing. Like most who are office based, I spend time communicating with colleagues to share information via emails, meetings and reports – it just so happens these are all about racing cars!
During race weekends we work closely with the trackside engineers, following the sessions as they happen in real time, looking at live data and sharing any findings.
What’s the best thing about your job?
The fast pace of development is very exciting and I love seeing everyone’s hard work on the TV on a Sunday afternoon!
What’s been your biggest challenge so far?
Big rule changes like 2022, balancing the priorities between the car on track racing with spending time working on next year’s car.
What’s your experience as a woman in Formula 1 been like? Have you faced any particular challenges?
Nothing any different from the challenges that the men face – nobody treats me any different because I’m a woman, it’s all about how good you are at your job.
What’s the best thing you did to get you to where you are today?
Studying for my degree – I wouldn’t have got my job without it.
What would you say to younger girls who aspire to work in Formula 1 one day?
Go for it, work hard at school to give yourself the best chance at either going on to study a degree or do an apprenticeship if you enjoy the more hands on side of things. Don’t let anyone tell you can’t do it because you can do if you put your mind to it!
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