Please introduce yourself:
My name is Leonie. I am an 18-year-old motorsport fan from Germany who dreams of working in F1- preferably at McLaren Racing – one day. To pursue this dream, I will do my absolute best and never give up!
What are you currently studying?
I am a hardworking secondary school student yet to graduate in early 2022. I take the advanced courses (A Levels) English, Mathematics and Biology. Looking back, I should have probably taken Physics instead of Biology, but it’s too late to change now, so I don’t worry about it anymore.
My basic courses are German, Geography and Social Studies, History, Religion, PE and Arts. Former ones were Physics, Chemistry, French and Music.
To add, I organise and manage class matters, for example by collecting money through fundraising and being class representative. Other extra-curricular activities include private tutoring in English, Mathematics and French and participating in the school’s medical service as a trained first aider.
Tell me about your journey so far:
I have done work experience at Opel Automobile GmbH in the area of vehicle simulation. There, I’ve learned about different CAE methods in various numerical disciplines, such as crash, noise & vibration, durability, CFD and so on. Furthermore, I got to know the different types of powertrains and learned about how to optimise them, visited the engine test bed, etc. It was extremely interesting and good to see how open everyone was towards a girl showing interest in a male-dominated industry!
I have an upcoming work experience at BMW Group in June this year. This one will be all about the non-technical sides of the automotive industry, but mainly project management and assistance.
Speaking of that, you might have noticed that I am yet to decide whether to start a career in engineering or rather management… So I ask you, why not both?
My plan is to study Business and Engineering as an Integrated Degree Program at Porsche, Daimler or BMW. Integrated Degree Program means that you will earn two degrees: your Bachelor of Engineering/ Science (depends on your subjects) as well as the qualification of your industrial training! This way, you gain valuable experience right from the beginning. Another advantage is, that because of your parallel apprenticeship, you earn enough money to pay rent, tuition fees (but these are normally included), etc.
After completing my Bachelor’s degree, I will probably go for my Master and afterwards look out for a Graduate Scheme or a one year fixed term contract within one of the F1 teams. I don’t know what time brings, but this would be a dream coming true and I will do anything that it takes to reach it.
To bridge the time between my graduation from school and start of my studies, I am planning to do more short or long-term internships in the automotive sector or even F1, volunteering at race tracks and gaining some extra experience by doing holiday jobs. Daimler/Mercedes offers quite a lot of those.
Furthermore, I am planning to go abroad for half a year. I was thinking of either doing internships and short-term holiday jobs as a kind of work and travel or an Au Pair year in Australia. I have dreamed of that since I was a child and I am convinced that such things are amazing opportunities to develop as a person and professionally, as well as to gain invaluable experiences!
So, where does your passion for the industry come from?
Well, I must admit that I have not been an F1 fan for a long time. To be honest, I have started watching the races at the beginning of last season, 2020. Before, I have watched the F1 Netflix series Drive to Survive and played the F1 video game several times.
The reason I started doing that was because of my boyfriend. He has been a fan for a long time now and I am so thankful that he shared his passion with me. Otherwise, I would probably not be writing this right now.
There is something that fascinated me from the very first minute of watching an F1 race. I cannot describe it properly, but I will try:
These cars are the fastest of the world. Pure engineering masterpieces. It is so thrilling to see the drivers sitting in there, driving more than 300km/h compared with such high G forces, pushing the car and themselves to the absolute limit plus racing each other, and still enjoying what they do!
But there is so much more to it.
While fans tend to only see their favourite driver bringing good (or bad) results and spraying champagne, there is a whole team working in the background. Passionate human beings like me and you, doing an amazing job day in, day out. Every single one plays a big role in providing a good working environment and contributing to achieving the best possible team result! I want to be one of those few privileged people, and I strongly believe that if you can dream something and work hard enough, then you can do it!
I am just incredibly curious to learn more about F1 from a different perspective. I have watched a lot of webinars, for example hosted by Rachel (of Formula Careers), in which McLaren employees participated. I then started to network on LinkedIn and got the information I needed to make my next approach, which was applying for work experience at McLaren (even if it was not advertised due to Covid).
I found someone to guide and introduce me, which I am extremely grateful for!
From then on, I started doing research and refining my skills, getting in the experience I needed to be seen, etc. My determination and passion for the sport led me all the way to writing this.
Standing out from the crowd:
Coming back to my application, my mentor always reminded me to make sure that I stand out from the crowd and do something special, something unique. So, what did I do? I used the McLaren colours for my CV, attached a letter of recommendation from my English teacher and prepared a 30 pages long presentation on why I should be given the opportunity to work at McLaren. Also, I made sure to stay on record just in case some other opportunities come up in the near future.
I tried my very best to secure a work experience or online taster week opportunity at Williams. Unfortunately, they are, just like McLaren, not running any in 2021 due to restrictions of personnel on-site and limited availability. Also, the fact that I am not eligible to work in the UK presents a huge problem. I would need a visa for just one single week of work experience… This is a drawback, yes. But I will not stop trying.
This leads me to some advice I want to give you: Keep trying! There are a lot of obstacles to overcome when wanting to work in F1, but it’s not impossible! You can achieve anything if you really want to, do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Even if you fail, remember: Failure is normal. It is good, because it makes you even stronger. Don’t stop chasing your dreams. Instead, roll up your sleeves and get the job done!
There are so many opportunities, you just have to take them.
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing.” – Pelé
Connect with Leonie on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/leonie-moeser-a9a7601ba/
FIA Girls on Track UK: https://www.motorsportuk.org/the-sport/women-in-motorsport/girls-on-track-uk/
Formula Careers on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGpWS1pBpC6oHVjubZvCT0A
Formula Careers Student Support Group: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8961665/