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How to get a job in a Formula 1 team

My Work in Motorsport blog is a collection of tips and advice for people who want to get a job in Formula 1 or other motorsports.  I have worked in motor racing for almost my whole career and want to help other people onto the ladder.

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For many, the excitement and high tech environment of Formula 1 make it an attractive place to think about making a career.  The money, prestige, travel and competition all combine to make a career in motorsport something to aspire to compared to the idea of mundane office job.  And so it should, a career in F1 or other motorsports is likely to be immensely rewarding, both personally and quite probably financially too.

When people learn that I work in F1, they almost always as me the same two questions :

“What’s it like to work in Formula 1?”

“How can I work for an F1 team?”

The answer to the latter is quite simple – learn what Formula 1 teams need from their employees and then get out and get those necessary skills !  Easy huh ?  Well, easier said that done I agree but in principle this is precisely what you need to do.  Many people I speak to about this subject are frustrated by not knowing which approach they need to take and sadly many give up amidst a cloud of confusing advice.  In fact much of the existing advice I have read on the internet appears to want to put people off by saying such things as “You need to know someone on the inside”, or “You have to have a degree or PhD” and even “You need to work your way up the racing ladder starting in Formula Ford”.  All of the above is nonsense.  That’s not to say a degree or a background in lower formulae wouldn’t help you (of course it would) but to say that any of these things are necessary is inaccurate.

The backgrounds of the people who work in our team ranges from people who have worked their way up from being junior mechanics in the 1970’s to fresh faced apprentices and graduates who would barely know a racing car if it ran them over in the pitlane.  To suggest that there is only one route into a racing team is quite a limiting outlook and is the reason why the arguments given above are so misleading.  The good news is that Formula 1 teams are so big now that they need all manner of different types of individuals with various skills and qualifications.  A degree is only necessary for a handful of roles and not having such a qualification would not stop you going to races, developing prototype mechanisms or contributing to the design of the new car.  An opening or an opportunity is more likely than you might think but you need to understand a little more about how F1 teams work and what roles are required within them in order to capitalise.  I hope that this blog will begin to bring that understanding and to crystallise exactly what job it is in F1 that you want to do.

Over the next few posts I hope to describe in more detail the job roles that I am most commonly asked about, and how that role fits into the rest of the team.  If you follow my blog here then you should learn a little bit about each role as it comes up.  If you already have a specific job or role you are interested in then please add a comment to this post and I will try to give you information specific to that role.

Breaking into motorsport isn’t easy but the key is to persevere and to learn as much as you can about the sport and the industry.  That way if a job opportunity does come up you will be ready to make the most of it and be better prepared than the other candidates.  Use my blog as a information resource or a way to get answers to the questions you always wanted to ask but never knew WHO to ask !

Good luck.

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