Lauren O’Donoghue

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!

I’m Lauren and I’m an Aerodynamicist at Alpine Formula 1 Team. I joined the team in 2019.

How does it feel to work for Alpine F1 Team?

Every day is different with interesting challenges. This means that the work is very fast-paced and I never find myself completing the same work.

 

Is it an industry you always dreamed of working in?

I have always wanted to be a Formula 1 Engineer since the age of 13/14, where I first developed my interest and passion for the sport and furthered my knowledge in science and maths subjects at school.

What subjects or courses did you study for your role?

I studied Aeronautical Engineering with a placement year and then I studied MSc Race Car Aerodynamics.

Did you do any work experience or extra curricular activities?

I completed a placement year at GE Aviation during my undergraduate degree. I also took part in Formula Student at University.

During school, I completed work experience at the Whittle Lab within Cambridge University working on Rolls Royce engines.

 

How did you get your role with Alpine F1 Team?

I applied for the position of Graduate Aerodynamicist. I went for an interview which involved both motivational and technical questions.

Tell us about your role and what a typical day looks like for you

My day involves developing new ideas, drawing them in CAD, running them in CFD, analysing CFD results, creating wind tunnel test programs and analysing wind tunnel results.

I also collaborate with colleagues in meetings where we share ideas and discuss what we’re working on. As an aerodynamicist I also spend some time on the experimental side in the wind tunnel.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The best thing about being a Formula 1 Engineer is that the improvements I make are incorporated into the final design of the race car which is a unique and rewarding experience for any Formula 1 fan.

This is a different experience to other engineering industries where there is a longer lead time such as the aircraft industry.

Also, the nature of Formula 1 being a competitive sport means that we are able to continually develop and improve small aspects of the car to ensure that we are adding as much performance to the car as possible.

What’s been your biggest challenge so far?

The biggest challenge is probably when you find a gain in CFD but it doesn’t materialise in the wind tunnel.

What’s your experience as a woman in Formula 1 been like? Have you faced any particular challenges?

While it’s true that there are a lot less women, my opinion is still heard.

What’s the best thing you did to get you to where you are today?

Completing an MSc aerodynamics degree allowed me to differentiate myself from other candidates and gave me the technical knowledge I needed to succeed.

What would you say to younger girls who aspire to work in Formula 1 one day?

Focus on choosing the right subjects and focus on cultivating your passion for Formula 1, including the technical and engineering sides of Formula 1.

 


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