Formula One, the highest class of single-seater open-wheel racing is known to almost every petrolhead in the world. Some people watch it for pure racing, some watch it for its sheer engineering excellence and some watch it for both but there are very few people who really want to immerse themselves into the world of Formula One.
My fascination in automotive came, well, as my mother puts it, when I could grab something and one of the first things that I used to grab were cars. I can remember my early days where I had hundred of scale model cars and I used to think I am a going to collect all these models in real life. As I grew and reached the understanding phase of life, my attention was caught upon questioning about how a car actually works. Assuming it was all witchcraft, I entered teenage and had the opportunity to use the internet and that is when I really learned about vehicles and their operating principle. And that is also when I discovered the motorsport industry and motor racing and Formula One in particular. It was 2010 when I watched my first Grand Prix on television and I was familiar with drivers Fernando Alonso, Michael Schumacher and some others because they were driving for manufacturers Ferrari, Mercedes which I already knew about. Before watching I was obviously up to speed by checking the history of the sport and iconic moments, drivers, innovations from budget teams which were later banned for example – Brabham BT46, which had a fan at the rear end of the car which aided for cooling but also generated immense amount of downforce to gain an unbelievable advantage but later on was banned. Reading about these innovations and loopholes and the engineering challenges and the constant drive to shave seconds of a lap time really inspired me and I told myself, I will work in Formula One someday.
I come from a small country named Bangladesh in South Asia and the automotive industry in this country has little to no manufacturing facilities available. Understanding my scope of pursuing Formula One, I knew I had to go abroad for higher studies and that was my determination to achieve the required academic excellence to be able to study abroad. I was awarded the opportunity to study in England and I completed my HND in Mechanical Engineering and also completed my Bachelors and achieving First Class in Automotive Engineering from the University of Brighton. Being an international student, getting work opportunities are very difficult but I will not give up. My next plan is to complete my Master’s degree and continue my pursuit of ending up at Formula One. I have been fortunate enough to be accepted for the Master’s programme in Motorsport Engineering from Oxford Brookes University and will be starting from September 2019. In the meantime, I am trying to increase my motorsport knowledge by reading technical papers, engineering books and understanding the engineering innovations influenced by Formula One.
As mentioned before, I have not been able to work anywhere in the UK in terms of proper engineering work experience due to my immigration status but I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the Formula Student team at the University of Brighton. This opportunity has taught me so much about the industry as well as helped me improve many skills such as working in a team, communication, project management, team management and practicality. I was assigned as the Team Leader for the Chassis Design and Manufacturing team and this has also given me the chance to increase my leadership skills. Working under tight deadlines, dealing with lead times, managing the team spirit, all these aspects of the experience has inspired and encouraged me and increased my determination to work harder and harder. Thus, increasing my dream of working in F1.
I may not have heaps of experience under my belt but I have the dedication and I will have the academic excellence, real life experiences to be the backbone of my dedication and keep my dreams alive until I get there. To all those of you who dream to be in Formula One someday, my advice will be to never give up, never look back, do mistakes and learn lessons and be positive and you will never fail.
by Syed Rafnan Ibne Rezwan