PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF:
My name is Samuel. I am 18 years old and aspiring to become an F1 Trackside Engineer. I have actively followed F1 for as long as I can remember. My hero within the industry is James Allison who is currently Technical Director of Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsports.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY STUDYING?
I am currently studying A-levels in Mathematics, Physics, and Product Design. I attend a dedicated Engineering University Technical College called WMG Academy for Young Engineers. The school has links with industry including Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls Royce, Prodrive, Aston Martin and ARUP to name a few.
Attending a UTC institution has helped me in many ways, with teaching staff with a passion for engineering and providing me with opportunities to learn CAD/CAM tools such as SolidWorks, CNC, and additive manufacturing processes.
As part of my Product Design A-Level I designed an axle stand for use on a Dakar Rally car developed by Prodrive. I was able to use my learned skills of product research, design specification, concept design, prototyping (CAD modelled and Finite Element Analysis), and critical specification analysis which led to a final product suitable for manufacturing.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY SO FAR:
I have been able to complete three great independently organised work placements in 2018/19 at Prodrive, Ricardo and Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains enabling me to gain valuable insight into the motorsport industry.
In 2018, at Ricardo I was educated on modern transmission technologies. During my time at Prodrive I worked with the Aston Martin race team on their GT4/GT3 Race Cars. I was there shortly after Le Mans 24-Hour and was tasked with disassembling the front end of AM GT4 car, which suffered collision damage during the Aston Martin festival of speed.
In 2019, the most exciting experience so far was living away from home to work with eight-time constructors’ champions in Formula One, Mercedes HPP, Brixworth. I was shown how to use CATIA, was taught about the natural frequency of resonance of components and spent time in the power unit assembly bays.
Having been given this exposure has given me an appreciation of the mathematical elements of mechanical engineering within F1, a subject I really enjoy. The most outstanding experience though is how the entire organisation worked in harmony towards a common goal, something I was privileged to be part of. I am determined and driven to one day be part of this experience again.
During term-times’ extra-curricular activity I have been able to take part in is Greenpower – an initiative which enables students to Design, Manufacture and Race an Electric race car. By participating in Greenpower it has taught me many skills transferrable to motorsports industry such as team working and analysis of design solutions for manufacture.
Being able to understand manufacturing capabilities is a great skill to have as it ensures designs are manufacturable. It ultimately aids your design decisions and changes your thought process into how each geometry/assembly can be machined/assembled.
Hopefully from September I will begin studying towards a Mechanical Engineering Degree with a placement year within the motorsports industry. During my work experience I spoke with design professionals and was recommended the mechanical engineering pathway in order to gain the relevant undergraduate degree to enter my chosen discipline. At some point I would like to obtain chartership whilst working within the F1 industry.
During my university time I plan on take part in the Formula Student programme, something I recommend to anyone with an interest in motorsport.
THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE SO FAR:
In general, the biggest challenge is securing suitable placement opportunities in industry for young adults of my age group. There’s active engagement for under-graduates within industry but I believe more could be done to foster relationships and talent recognition for those starting out on these first steps during A-level years.
Being tenacious and directly outspoken to those in positions of responsibility has helped me secure my experience to date. I would recommend to my contemporaries to reach out, accept knockbacks, and carry on asking.
2020/1 has been a difficult time for many industries with the pandemic especially in motorsports; I look forward to gaining more experience as soon as possible.
So overall I am so excited to be on this pathway into F1 and I look forward to seeing the next generation ‘Future Faces of F1’ in the Paddock in years to come! And please feel free to contact me on LinkedIn if you have any questions you may want to ask.
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