Junior Design Engineer
My name is Will Barker and I am currently working as a Junior Design Engineer within the Aerodynamics Department at Racing Point Formula 1 Team.
I first encountered Formula Student whilst at the Autosport International Show at the NEC in Birmingham during the January of 2013 whilst evaluating university choices. I was already considering studying Motorsport Engineering at Oxford Brookes university, but my decision was compounded when I met with the Oxford Brookes Racing Formula Student Team. I was shocked that a group of students could create the bespoke single seater I was seeing in front of me; it was just incredibly impressive for, let’s be honest, a group of unqualified engineers. To hear that any student, no matter their year of study, was welcome in this project was of huge encouragement. With that, my mind was made up; I wanted to study at Oxford Brookes.
On my first day at university, I went straight to the Formula Student office and put my name down to help the team. Before I knew it, I was helping to make the chassis, preparing the car for tests, laminating CFRP parts and was introduced into the versatile world of CAD. In my first year with the team I was appointed No.2 mechanic, during my second year I was given the role Test Team Leader and whilst in my final year, I completed my dissertation through studying the compliance within a composite suspension system and aided with the design of the suspension system for our 2018 car.
Between my second and third year of study, I was successful in securing a placement year at AP Racing in the Race Clutch Department, of which my participation in Formula Student was instrumental. Similarly, my Formula Student and industrial experience was just as critical in achieving my current job within Formula 1.
It was always my dream to contribute to Formula 1 in some way and to find a profession that I would be proud to work in. To realise that I have achieved this still feels a bit surreal, but it would not have been possible without Formula Student. It exposes you to the ‘real world’ of motorsport; from designing for manufacture, engineering your way out of the inevitable issues and feeling the great highs and lows of a race weekend. This is all experience any potential employer will recognise and something you can simply not achieve through attending lectures. It will also help with how you approach new projects through your career, because almost every situation in Formula Student, and indeed motorsport in general, is new.
Formula Student is a fantastic tool for learning how to design and race a car at competition and most important of all, is immense fun along the way. You meet new people, make new friends and will give yourself the best chance of being employable at the end of your degree.
Approach every opportunity with an open mind and immerse yourself in Formula Student and there is every possibility you can achieve your dreams as I have mine.
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