Mark Herrick

Travelling Composite Technician, Formula 1 Team

What do you do in your job?

My role is to keep the carbon fibre parts of the car in good working order. At the factory this involves repairing parts returning from events ready to run at the next race in what is known as turnaround. Upgrades are normal between races and are done at the factory time permitting. Bigger teams will have a large amount of factory staff constantly producing new and upgraded parts. Composite technicians will take different carbon components and fit them using a variety of tools before bonding them together. A front wing for example will start as a big kit before everything is put together to form the finished part.

When I am travelling we are responsible for making sure all bodywork and wings are in the best condition they can be in order to extract the best performance and keep the car looking at its best. Any damage from running sessions needs to be repaired either during the session or after session. It is a high pressure situation as you are always against the clock.

We also manage stock of composite components when travelling including the tools and consumable materials we need to do our job trackside. The travelling members of the team are also part of the pitstop crew and pitstop’s are practiced from Thursday right through to Sunday before the race.

Being trackside we also have to set up the garage on a Monday and Tuesday before the race and then pack everything away straight after the race on the Sunday ready to return home or head to the next race on the Monday. The car is built on the Wednesday and Thursday ready for Friday running.

 

What did you want to be when you were younger?

I wanted to work in Formula 1.

 

When did you know you wanted to work in Formula 1?

When sat with my parents in 90’s watching F1 and admiring the sport, adrenaline and excitement as a fan. I wanted to be the other side of the track and centre of the F1 bubble.

 

What’s the best thing about your job?

Travelling the world doing what I love surrounded by the fans and the atmosphere F1 enjoys.

 

What subjects and courses did you take?

Maths
English
Science
Geography
Business Studies
Design Technology
R.E
German
ICT

 

Did you do any work experience?

I did work experience at a college in the IT department as when I was going through school a road into F1 was non existent and was thinking that a career in IT would be more realistic. On leaving school I was due to go to college studying IT but changed my mind last minute as an opportunity for an apprenticeship building boats became available. I wanted to start earning and learning, get a trade under my belt and I thought the hand skills would suit me better in the long run.

 

What has been your biggest challenge?

To stay positive regarding my dream to go racing in F1 when there was little or no easy access routes into an F1 career thus making it frustrating.

 

What was the best thing you ever did to help you get to where you are today?

Staying positive and always believing that I could do what I wanted in life and not get stuck in the rut of 9-5 and not enjoying my work. I kept searching for information and entry into F1, writing to all the teams, searching their websites for trainee jobs or anything to get a foot in the door.

It was when a new F1 team started near where I was living I got my opportunity. I found an email address for the new team and sent in a CV stating my love of F1 and that I would do anything to get into the sport including sweeping hoping that I once I was in I could show my determination and get an opportunity to start a career in F1. I sent an email in September but it was not until one evening in the following February I got the call to have a chat about a position within the team. It was a trainee position learning composites, the hand skills I had gained from my apprenticeship had lead me to this and the rest is history.

 

What would you say to inspire someone to follow their dreams?

Never let anyone tell you you can not achieve something, if you have a dream and it burns strongly enough follow it. If you want it enough chase it, it will not come to you. Do not let the obstacles you encounter put you off, push through the challenges, it will make the end product so much more satisfying.

You do not have to have a degree or be super intelligent to get into all aspects of F1, there are many avenues but its knowing where to look. Social media is a great way of connecting with people if done right. Put the time and effort into writing to teams, Motorsport colleges and the people you network with. It may mean moving away from home and leaving behind what you know to pursue your dream, sacrifices have to be made.

You do not have to have a degree or be super intelligent to get into all aspects of F1, there are many avenues but its knowing where to look.

Your working life is long, spend it doing what you want to do and can be proud of, you will thanks yourself for it.

 

Any other comments or advice?

Try try and try again, F1 is a competitive market, work as hard as you can to achieve your goals, don’t give up after lap 1, I want to see you at the end of the race!

I look forward to seeing you in F1.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  No part of this case study may be reproduced without prior written permission.

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