Aerodynamics

ROLES IN F1

An Aerodynamicist working in the motorsport industry is interested in the flow of air around the car, the shape of the car parts and making the air flow more smoothly to gain more speed or downforce during a race.  Just like the shape and position of the wings on a plane helps it to fly more efficiently, the parts of a Formula 1 car are all designed with aerodynamics in mind.

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INTRO

If you’re thinking of becoming an aerodynamicist in F1, there are a few things to consider, and you need to make sure that a career in aerodynamics matches your interests and skills.  Hopefully the following information will help you when it comes to deciding on the right career path for you. Disclaimer – the information below is not intended to be a replacement for professional careers advice.

TRAITS

  • An aerodynamicist will typically be drawn to the subjects of maths and science, and have a general passion for them.
  • You are likely to have an interest in problem solving, how things work and how things can move faster, particularly cars, planes, and even animals.
  • You will most likely have superb attention to detail and thrive on working to the highest standard.
  • You thrive on pressure and don’t mind working long hours.
  • You are also competitive, and want to be the best you can be.
  • You’re a team player, but can also work equally well on your own.

TYPICAL ROLES

There are a variety of roles available within the Aerodynamics department of a Formula 1 team.  These might include:

  • Aerodynamics Performance Engineer This type of role will typically involve analysing data from track, computer programmes and the wind tunnel, as well as advising on new aerodynamic development, and discussing the set-up of the car.
  • Junior Aerodynamicist This is typically somebody who has just graduated from University and has joined the team in a junior position.  They may have spent some time with the team previously on an industrial placement.
  • Wind Tunnel Test Technician This type of role involves looking after the wind tunnel, and ensuring it runs efficiently so that the aerodynamicists can continue to improve the car.

WHAT TO STUDY

Typically to work in Aerodynamics in Formula 1, you will have a keen interest and a natural talent for maths and science.  Listed below are some study paths you could consider.  However please make sure you also speak with your school/college/University careers advisor who will be able to provide help and support to you during this important time.


GCSE’s:

MathsEnglish
Physics 
Further Maths
Design and Technology
Chemistry
Product Design
IT
Languages


A Levels:

Maths (essential)
Physics (essential)
Further Maths
Chemistry
Languages
Product Design
IT



Please check with the admissions department of your preferred University to ensure that the A Level subjects you choose are acceptable for the course you wish to take, before you choose which A Levels you’d like to do. 

Further information on choosing the right A Levels for your future aspirations can be found here: https://www.russellgroup.ac.uk/for-students/school-and-college-in-the-uk/subject-choices-at-school-and-college/

UNIVERSITY

WEBSITES

BOOKS

CASE STUDY:

Dr Kathryn Richards
Wind Tunnel Test Technician
Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team

My primary responsibilities are to ensure the wind tunnel runs smoothly and efficiently so that the aerodynamicists can develop and improve the performance of the race car. My duties also include monitoring and reporting on the performance and health of the wind tunnel itself, so it always remains in tip-top condition.  Keep reading…

AERODYNAMICS INSPIRATION:

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