5 common myths about working in Formula 1

Posted on Posted in Uncategorized

Working in Formula 1 is hard work but incredibly rewarding. A lot of people think they know what Formula 1 is like but a lot of myths exists about the sport. Here, I try and dispel some common myths that I hear about working in F1.

1) You can’t get a job in F1 unless you know someone at the teams
Nonsense. Networking is part of every industry and people often call upon ex-colleagues, friends or contacts to get references for potential applicants but this only accounts for a very small number of jobs that are taken in Formula 1. For junior or first time jobs this is rarely the case and jobs will go to the most suitable and best qualified applicants.

2) You have to work 7 days a week
You have to work hard in Formula 1 but very few people, if any, work 7 full days a week. The majority of shop floor staff will work a normal 9-5 type day, 5 days a week with overtime being expected during busy production times. Design office staff and engineers are expected to work long hours and some weekends during the winter car design and build period but during the season the demand is much less. The majority will tell you that they would far rather work hard in a job they enjoy than short days in a dull job that they hate.

3) You don’t get paid well in Formula 1
When breaking into Formula 1, many people will volunteer or work for low wages to gain valuable experience. Until you can prove that you are a valuable team member then pay in Formula 1 teams is generally only in line with industry norms. As you gain experience and become more senior you can expect your salary to move well ahead of the average and the pay is actually very, very good. Many top Formula 1 people will earn well above £100,000.

4) You need a degree to work in Formula 1
This is a very common misconception and it is certainly far from the truth. Certain technical jobs in aerodynamics and vehicle dynamics will always require degree qualified candidates but a huge number of other roles at the teams will not, including the majority of race team positions. Read my full post on this subject here.

5) You never get to meet the drivers or see the cars
One of the great things about working Formula 1 compared to normal industry is how close you are to the cars that you work on. Most Formula 1 factories are still very small and you can walk through and see the cars being built and the individual parts being made in the machine shops. Drivers will often visit the factory for meetings or to use the simulator and you will pass them in the corridor and sit with them in the canteen. You will often know who next year’s drivers will be well before the press do if you spot them in the car park…

My “Job in F1” blog aims to offer advice, tips and motivation on how best to go about getting a job in Formula 1. If want to make a career in racing you can look at my list of frequently asked questions, follow me or read through my archived posts. This blog is still a work in progress but if there is something I haven’t yet covered or you have a specific question then feel free to add a comment and I will respond personally. Formula 1 is a fantastic career and is not certainly beyond your reach if you are determined to work for it.

Join the team!

Get on the startline

Join 4,738 other subscribers

5 thoughts on “5 common myths about working in Formula 1

  1. I don’t know who you are or where you came from, but the information you are providing is a godsend. Thank you. I have wanted to be a race engineer for an F1 team for as long as I can remember, and as of now, you’re the closest thing to a mentor that I’ve got. I am entering my last year in mechanical engineering in the USA, and am trying my hardest to find teams to gain motorsports experience with(I already have a bit). I find it very interesting that “Rocky” started his career in the States, as I was under the impression that motorsports experience gained in US based racing series wouldn’t be valued very highly. It doesn’t seem that there are many Americans working in F1, and that has always made me a bit nervous about my chances. Is there any particular reason that this seems to be the case? If there are any Americans working on your team, would you mind posting a bit of information about how they got to where they did? Thanks very much for the information that you’ve already provided. I managed to dig up a bit of information on my own over the years, but 20 minuts on this blog has increased my knowledge 10-fold. One last time then…. Thank you.

    1. Hi John. No problem, thank you very much for your kind comments, I’m really glad you find it useful. There are several Americans in the team I work for, but as I’ve said elsewhere I would like to keep that team secret but its not a huge barrier to working in F1 if you are American. Experience in US racing, NASCAR, IndyCar or even NHRA is all good. I actually was involved in some US racing earlier in my career and it hasn’t done me any harm !

      Best of luck.

  2. wow, this is a really awesome blog. i have loved F1 ever since i was a kid. How can i get to work in F1? unfortunately i do not have a degree or anything, but i wouldnt mind even changing the tyres during the pitstops. i am 31 yrs old now, and a South African citizen. is there any hope for me?

    my email addy is iqram.mohamed@thompsons.co.za

    1. Hi Iqram

      You don’t need a degree to work in F1 but you would need some relevant qualification or experience. The tyre changers are actually the mechanics who assemble the cars do they are very skilled guys.

      There’s hope but you’d have to work your way towards it getting relevant experience. It would be difficult for you to get a job in F1 right away.

      1. ok, i guess i have to try and get into the motorsport industry somehow asap.

        thank you.

Comments are closed.