5 ways to get a job with an F1 team straight away

Posted on Posted in Understanding the motorsport industry

“How do I get a job with a Formula 1 team?” It’s a simple question, but it isn’t such a simple answer. F1 teams often seem only to want to hire people who already have experience in the industry and so it appears very difficult for an industry newcomer to break through. In this post I will discuss what you can do to get noticed and get that crucial first job in Formula 1.

Getting a job in Formula 1 is not easy but getting your first job in Formula 1 is perhaps the most difficult step of all. As I explained in my last post, most teams are tempted to only employ experienced staff to minimise the risks that they face during recruitment. Clearly though, the teams must hire inexperienced people from outside of Formula 1 because otherwise there would not be many people left working in the sport in 10-15 years time ! This post discusses the most common ways that inexperienced people can start in F1.

The following list covers the main ways that you could realistically get “F1” on your CV without any motorsport work history :

  1. Apply for an advertised job and prove yourself to be the best candidate
  2. Apply for a place on a specific graduate scheme
  3. Apply for an apprenticeship
  4. Apply for work placement during a university or college course
  5. Apply for work experience

1) Advertised jobs

Route number 1 is normally as far as many people look. I’ll be honest and say that for someone fresh from school, college or university with no experience other than their exam certificates it is unlikely that you can compete with established candidates from other teams. It may seem unfair but that is the economic reality. Most people will cry foul at this point and walk away claiming that it is impossible to get work in Formula 1 and the sport is somehow corrupt !

You need to be cleverer than that however. There are circumstances where you might be able to apply for such a role and be successful but I can talk about that at a later date. We ought to move further down the list where we might have better opportunities.

2) Graduate jobs & schemes

You might not have seen many of these advertised but they do exist. Team policies vary and change year to year but several teams have had or do have graduate intakes and use them to bring on inexperienced newcomers. This tends to be the larger teams, Mclaren in particular have had an established scheme in the past although at the time of writing they have stated that this will not run in 2013 and will be replaced by individual adverts for graduates in areas that require them.

I don’t want this site to be a recruitment or job agency so I am hesitant to point people at particular companies or promise to alert anyone to suitable vacancies. I think that responsibility should lie with the reader but what I will do is attempt to point people in the right direction, tell where best to look and how to find opportunities. Engines and engine manufacturers in motorsport will be the the subject of at least one post in the future but if you don’t believe me that you can get a graduate scheme in Formula 1 then please visit :

Mercedes AMG graduate scheme

or watch the video !

It’s worth looking just that little bit further beyond the usual places.

3) Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are coming back into fashion in the UK and have been heavily backed by the government as a way for young people to learn a trade or skill whilst still earning an income. They were common in engineering companies several decades ago but fell out of favour during the 80’s and 90’s when the UK government policy tried to encourage more young people to stay in education and aim for a university degree.

www.apprenticeships.org.uk/

Apprenticeships are most suitable for candidates who have not followed a heavily academic route and want to become either a mechanic, machinist or technician in Formula 1. They typically last 2-3 years and in a Formula 1 team you would get to experience real work situations in various departments and quite possibly in car build and even on the race team. Several of the teams have active apprenticeship programs but normally they take on only a handful of people each year. It is best to contact the individual teams for details of their programs as soon as possible but this article in the Telegraph newspaper shows how keen teams are to take on good, inexperienced young people yet incredibly they actually struggle to find enough quality applicants !

4) Work placements

Year in industry work placements are now very common within the structure of engineering degrees in the UK and securing a 12 month work placement can give students a very good beginning to their work histories.

Formula 1 teams routinely take students on work placements during their degrees. It has a number of advantages for the teams as it is effectively a 12 month job interview with no commitment beyond the end of that particular year. In teams where I have worked, there may be 5 or 6 student placements each year, then 1 or 2 of these people may return to work as graduates after they have finished their studies. It’s another low risk recruitment method for the teams.

As with graduate placements it is worth contacting the teams and asking about details of when you can apply for work placements. They may or may not advertise the opportunities, several teams have prior agreements with specific universities to supply their placement students but these are subject to change on an annual basis. A good candidate would never be ignored but it would be good research to contact the teams to ask which universities they have taken placement students from recently and use this as you consider which course(s) to take. The contacts that institutions have with the teams are crucial and you should do as much research as you possibly can.

5) Work experience

Work experience placements tend to be much shorter than university placements and are most suited to school aged candidates. Again, team policy varies but it is common for schools in the local area to a particular team to be given priority and so opportunities are limited unless you are lucky enough to live nearby. Given the short term nature of the placements they are probably of least benefit to a long term career of any of the options listed here.

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3 thoughts on “5 ways to get a job with an F1 team straight away

  1. Yet again invaluable advice. Some of the more switched on F1 teams have close associations with universities, even coming to the university to look at potential prospects. However, it is important to remember – as you point out – that not all roles require first degrees. There are highly skilled positions such as machinists and fabricators where apprentice training schemes are of real value.

    Coincidentally I’m off to an F1 to discuss student projects and recruitment today.

  2. I’m 17 years old and I’m entering my senior year of high school. I’m very passionate about racing and serious about become involved in Motosports/formula 1. What advice do you have for me now and what steps should I take now and in the future to accomplish I’m dream. Also what should I do to be involved in race while still being in high school. Please be specific and give examples. I would love to learn from your experience.
    Thank you.

  3. I’m 17 years old and I’m entering my senior year of high school. I’m very passionate about racing and serious about become involved in Motosports/formula 1. What advice do you have for me now and what steps should I take now and in the future to accomplish my dream. Also what should I do to be involved in race while still being in high school. Please be specific and give examples. I would love to learn from your experience.
    Thank you.

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