Molly Holmes

R&D Placement Student

Formula Careers takes a look behind the scenes of Aston Martin Racing and their Industrial Placement programme and meets the inspirational students carving a path to a successful career in Formula 1.

Tell us about yourself and how your passion for F1 began

I grew up watching F1 and found it very interesting and exciting. I have always had a passion for maths and physics so naturally that led me into engineering. Being able to relate the two topics and begin to understand the science and technicalities behind the sport has been very satisfying and rewarding.

Was the interview process for your placement as you expected it to be?

The interview and application process for all placements, particularly the competitive formula 1 ones, was challenging. For the interviews my advice would be it’s best to be yourself and allow the passion and excitement you have for the job and your degree really come across.

I was particularly nervous for the technical questions; however, the interviewers just want to see how you think and tackle problems. They are always willing to help you out and start you in the right direction.

How did you ensure your application stood out from the rest?

I had quite a lot of relevant work experience on my CV, a week at McLaren F1 a couple of years ago and a couple of weeks at Aston Martin F1 last summer.

Obviously, it is very difficult to get work experience and I was very lucky to have done so, however any experience or projects related to engineering are useful and show you are ambitious and driven. I also included some of my top grades I achieved in my first-year modules.

Finally, I made sure to have some more unrelated extra-curricular activities on my CV to show I am also well rounded, such as cheerleading and volunteering.

How did you feel when you found out your application was successful?

I was thrilled!! I was so pleased my hard work over the last few years had paid off and was incredibly excited to start!

What was your first day like?

I was very nervous on my first day however, everyone was so lovely and friendly which put me at ease. The day began with an induction from HR and a safety briefing. Then I met the rest of my department including my supervisor who gave me a tour and explained some of the projects I would be undertaking.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My role as an R&D placement student is very broad and I cover lots of different projects. So far, I have mostly done a lot of CAD but also some more hands on practical work.

I get given tasks from my supervisor and sometimes others from the department. I then complete these in my own time, asking them any questions if I need – everyone’s very willing to help! At lunch we all have food in the canteen and then go for a walk together.

Do you feel you’ve learned a lot since you started?

I have learnt a huge amount in such a short space of time so far! It is a lot of learning on the job which I have found very exciting and the best way to get stuck in.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned since your placement began?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! I have had to ask many questions in my first few weeks, but everyone has been so helpful and keen to help me out. I do also recommend writing down notes however, so you don’t need to ask the same question twice!

Any particular extra curricular activities you’d recommend to students wanting to work in F1?

If your university offers it, Formula Student is a great way to get into F1. I personally didn’t do it however have heard it is so much fun and an amazing way to get similar experience and practice to working in F1.

What role would you like to do after finishing university?

For me, engineering is so broad and there are many industries I would like to experience working in. I am thoroughly enjoying my time working in F1 so far however so would also love to potentially continue in the industry after university.

Any other advice you’d like to share?

Go for it! Apply for as many opportunities as you can and always convey enthusiasm to any job you are given.

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