Engine Systems Design Engineer 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
Formula 1 was always on the TV at home from a young age so I was naturally indoctrinated – Sunday roast followed by the F1 was usually how it went! I now study Automotive Engineering at Loughborough and am about to begin my Master’s following my year in industry with Aston Martin F1.
Was the interview process for your placement as you expected it to be?
It was all very simple with Aston Martin – I just had to submit my CV and cover letter, and 2 weeks later I was invited to an interview at the factory. The interview itself was a usual balance of technical and personal questions and I was offered the job the next day! Unfortunately Covid then complicated things and the start date of my placement was postponed by a year.
How did you feel when you found out your application was successful?
Over the moon – since I had chosen my A levels and began looking at universities I knew that F1 was the ultimate goal, so to achieve it 5 years later made all the hard work worth it!
What was your first day like?
Aside from arriving at work far earlier than I needed to, it was good! All placements started on the same day, and we spent the early part of the morning being introduced by HR before joining in with our varying departments. From there on I began a training programme so really got stuck in from day one! Everyone was extremely welcoming and helpful which made the day both easy and exciting.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I was a design engineer so lots of time spent on CAD. As a placement you are really there to help out the more senior design engineers so they will provide the tasks. The best thing about F1 is the fast-paced nature means that everyday really does bring something new and exciting.
As a placement you will do lots of tooling parts to begin with, however, getting your first part on the car is one of the best feelings you will get!
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned since your placement began?
You are not expected to turn up to the job knowing how to design a race car. The team are there to teach you and help you develop into a better engineer in return for you helping them out with tasks.
The most important thing you can do is turn up to work every day with the right attitude – it doesn’t matter if you don’t know something the first-time round, as long as you are willing to learn and willing to work hard there is no reason you won’t succeed.
What do you think has helped you to get to where you are today?
A healthy combination of hard work and seizing opportunity. F1 is a highly intellectual industry and everyone that works there is smart and switched on so that is a necessity. But I think what has helped me is also committing to a number of sports and extra-curricular activities which help develop skills such as team-work, a competitive and positive attitude, as well as making you a more rounded individual.
Any particular extra curricular activities you’d recommend to students wanting to work in F1?
I think the big one everyone talks about is Formula Student and getting involved with this will definitely help you stand out. However, I have never actually done Formula Student myself so it’s not essential – I have done other motorsport related work experience and volunteering which are on my CV which still demonstrate a passion and desire.
Also make sure you have an interest outside of F1 – this not only helps you stand out but the F1 working hours are long so having a hobby to enjoy outside of working hours is important for both your physical and mental wellbeing!
If you could give current students one piece of advice for their application, what would it be?
Your CV and cover letter will be the first deciding factor as to whether you get rejected or moved on to the next phase of the application process so make sure you spend lots of time on these and try and make yourself stand out. Be confident, sell yourself, and be interesting.
Any other advice you’d like to share?
Don’t give up if you get rejected. I applied to lots of roles at various teams and was fortunate to be offered this role, however lots of people that work in F1 didn’t start in F1; it is common to work in other areas of motorsport and move across to F1 when the time comes.