Name: Dan Morris
Age: 20 years old
Dream Career: F1 Aerodynamicist
Please introduce yourself:
My name is Dan Morris and I am a 20 year old Engineering student from Brecon, a small town in mid Wales. I study Motorsport Engineering at the University of Wales Trinity St David in Swansea. As well as motorsport, I also have a passion for Rugby and Martial Arts. Furthermore, I enjoy teaching and sharing my knowledge with others. For example, I have been helping in my local karate center by teaching the younger classes for the past 6 years.
My dream career would to become a Formula One aerodynamicist with a particular interest in design. This dream has only been enhanced from working on projects at university for Virtual Formula Student as well as further reading into the subject.
Tell us about your passion for the industry:
My passion for the industry, aerodynamics in particular, started during GCSE studies whilst learning more about physics in a general sense and developing a key eye to small details. From this, I started to take more interest in the engineering behind these cars as my level of understanding increased. I had been doing some light reading into the subject of aerodynamics after a physics lesson on Bernoulli’s Principle.
From there, I started to get more and more interested in fluid flow and race car applications. My main realization about wanting to pursue aerodynamic was after viewing a visible rear wing tip vortex and thinking it looked so cool! I read up on the subject and I was immediately hooked. Luckily, I have been to Silverstone every year since 2017, and seeing the cars fly by at insane speeds really gets your mind centered on the sport and the amazing nature of the cars and drivers. Working in F1 would be a rollercoaster, but it’s one that I want to ride.
Tell us about your study path so far:
My study path so far has been relatively linear. Completing GCSE’s and A-Levels in engineering-focused subjects (Maths, Physics, and Computer Science) and then accepting an offer to study at the university I’m currently at. The subject choices during school were not tricky. I was lucky to know what I wanted to pursue in life, and the subjects that correlate to that career are the ones I chose. University was a more complex decision. I decided to enroll in a Motorsport Engineering course, as I believe that being exposed to a variety of different disciplines gives you a broader viewpoint on an engineering solution. By this I mean you learn what the impact of altering one part of the vehicle will have on other vital areas such as aerodynamic load on suspension components.
I have enjoyed my course so far, and I look forward to applying taught theories to practice more as I advance through my career. I did apply to industrial placements with two formula one teams, which unfortunately did not work out. I discovered quickly to not get yourself downbeat by bad results or rejection from this. I am still searching for opportunities within the industry, as I believe there are many benefits of work experience, with a considerable advantage of gaining connections within your area of interest. I believe that an opportunity like an industrial year would be massively advantageous to my career as this would allow me to learn from an industry-leading team in a field that I find incredibly fascinating whilst getting a head start on the competition. The knowledge and skills that I would develop from a placement opportunity would also better my chances of expanding my knowledge for my final year/level 6 project or projects that I undertake later in my academic career.
Work, industrial placements, and benefits:
Unfortunately, work experience or placement opportunities are hard to come by due to covid, but I hope to get a chance to gain valuable experience within the field of aerodynamics. In terms of future academic plans, I hope to complete my degree with high levels of success and go on to enroll in a masters program. Preferably the Race Car Aerodynamics course at Southampton University. Throughout this journey, I will be applying to schemes at Motorsport companies to try and get as much industry experience as possible. even if they are extremely competitive, you still have to try and show how much you really want it.
The biggest challenge so far in pursuing my career has been rejections for the work experience programs I mentioned previously. I didn’t really have many academic failures before university, so being rejected 2 from 2 applications was not a proud moment. However, I have learnt that you learn as much from failure as you do from success, and you have to keep trying. Covid has also put a huge stop in gaining practical knowledge for me, as our universities MCR project wasn’t able to take part in any races. This was a huge shame, as it was a large reason as to why I joined this university. Although this situation isnt ideal, I had to make up for what I missed. I started to go out of my way to attend online lectures from other universities, from Formula Careers and other motorsport networking job pages on LinkedIn which all gave a great insight into the world of motorsport.
What’s been your biggest challenge so far?
The biggest challenge so far in pursuing my career has been rejections for the work experience programs I mentioned previously. I didn’t really have many academic failures before university, so being rejected 2 from 2 applications was not a proud moment. However, I have learnt that you learn as much from failure as you do from success, and you have to keep trying. Covid has also put a huge stop in gaining practical knowledge for me, as our university MCR project wasn’t able to take part in any races. This was a huge shame, as it was a large reason as to why I joined this university. Although this situation isn’t ideal, I had to make up for what I missed. I started to go out of my way to attend online lectures from other universities, from Formula Careers and other motorsport networking job pages on LinkedIn which all gave a great insight into the world of motorsport.
What’s been your biggest success?
My biggest success has been my results from university so far. I put a lot of work into my studies, so to see strong results come back makes it worth the effort. I particularly enjoyed the group project module for my course, to design a virtual formula student car. I was appointed project lead and aerodynamic package developer, so seeing a large project like this come from nothing to being completed is a very satisfying process. I was particularly proud of the effort and time I put into the aerodynamic package, as it was the first time I was able to apply my knowledge to a proper project.
What’s your advice for future students?
My advice to anyone wanting to pursue a career in motorsport engineering would be to not get down about your failures. All of them will make you better in one way or another, as long as you learn from your mistakes. Keep looking into opportunities that set you apart from other people and create a strong and stand-out CV. Also, don’t let other people tell you what you can and can’t do and prove those people who doubt you wrong. A small message to those still in school too. If you are the quiet kid who spends his lunchtime coding or learning, don’t stop and continue to find your passion, it’ll make you a much more interesting person when you leave school and have so many skills already under your belt. So start early and good luck!
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