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What is it like to work at…Red Bull F1 Team?

Compared to traditional teams such as Ferrari, Williams and McLaren, Red Bull Racing are a relative newcomer to the Formula 1 scene but in their short tenure on the grid they have shaken up the established order and taken competition to a new level. Red Bull is now the best selling energy drink in the world, helped in no small part by a colossal marketing campaign which has sponsored and promoted almost every form of daredevil and adrenaline fuelled pursuit on and off the planet. Felix Baumgartner’s Red Bull Stratos 843mph freefall record, made from the edge of space in 2012 was perhaps the most ambitious example of this but high profile sponsorship has made the Red Bull brand synonymous with speed and dangerous pursuits.

The Red Bull Racing F1 team plays another significant part in the campaign and owner Dietrich Mateschitz has poured eye watering amounts of money into the team in the pursuit of success. For the most part it has paid off and Red Bull won 4 consecutive world championships between 2010 and 2013.  At the time of writing however, the team has found itself in a very difficult situation with engine supply and despite its recent successes its very future currently looks uncertain.

Red Bull Racing

The Red Bull Racing factory in Milton Keynes is far from being a glamorous location and is a world away from the evocative setting of the Ferrari factory in Maranello or the futuristic architecture of the McLaren Technology Centre.

The origins of the team owe their existence to Jackie Stewart and son Paul who built up their own fledgling Formula 1 team during 1996 with backing from Ford Motor Company. Paul Stewart Racing had been successful in many lower formulae and having given up driving duties, Paul was dead set on reaching the premier category despite his father’s reservations. Stewart Grand Prix was a success and over its 3 seasons in F1 it climbed as high as 4th in the world championship and won the 1999 European Grand Prix with Johnny Herbert at the wheel.

Ford then decided to take an owning stake and rebranded the team as Jaguar Racing for the 2000 season. Despite a big budget, capable drivers and numerous attempts to lure star designer Adrian Newey to the team, the Jaguar years were a disappointment and in 2005 the team was sold to Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz.

Where is it ?

The Red Bull Racing team races under the Austrian flag of its owner but the team itself is based in a small industrial estate in the town of Milton Keynes, UK. Milton Keynes was formed in the late 1960’s as the government of the UK invested in “new towns” to absorb overcrowding from the capital city. Its layout is very orderly and consists of zones of housing, commerce and industry. Red Bull lies on an industrial estate on the south-eastern edge of the the city in an area known as Tilbrook. It is an uninspiring setting for such a high profile motor sport team, close neighbours include a packaging supplier, furniture supplier and a bathroom showroom. It is not far from Bletchley Park where the highly secretive work that broke the code of the Enigma machine during World War 2 was done.

Milton Keynes itself has at times been criticised for its slightly soulless grid-like layout but is in actual fact a city with enviable amenities and transport links. A large shopping centre, an indoor ski slope, sky-diving and water skiing lake are popular recreational features and a large network of parks and traffic-free cycle paths connect the city together. Just 45 minutes by train from London and adjacent to the M1 it is very easy to get to and its population continues to grow.

What is it like to work there ?

Red Bull has been a fantastic media machine since joining Formula 1 and if you follow them via their website or You Tube there have been some fantastic insights into the team and what happens behind the scenes. The video below shows many of the job role and functions within the factory and what goes on in order to produce a modern F1 car.

Whilst Red Bull’s factory is rather conservative and functional, their presence at the circuit has taken fan and media engagement to a new level. The now famous Red Bull Energy Station was really the first of the Formula 1 mega-hospitality suites where fun and free drinks were standard behaviour rather than the more traditional wining and dining that accompanied hospitality at other teams. At Monaco, the team went even further with a floating Energy Station in the harbour complete with swimming pool for the post race celebrations. This young and fun loving atmosphere has made Red Bull a very popular choice with fans.

The strength of its cars has always been aerodynamics and the team very quickly recognised how important that aspect of its capability was to its overall performance. Whilst aerodynamics have always been important in Formula 1, Red Bull took this to a completely new level and it has optimised its manufacturing and design capability to develop and produce new aerodynamic components at an incredible rate. The facilities at Milton Keynes are dedicated to maximising this turnover of parts and maintaining the highest development rate possible.

Red Bull is now a very big team with a large number of very well paid and valued staff. For a newcomer to the sport, it is not likely that you would immediately get involved in decision making due to the sheer size of the team at present. Red Bull are however very keen to take on placement students and graduates into their ranks and bringing them on within the organisation. The opportunity to work alongside some of the best people in the sport and with near unlimited facilities and budget is a fantastic way to learn about his sport.

Red Bull have run a well promoted Infinity Performance Academy for the past few years which offers the winners a year’s placement at Red Bull and the use of an Infinity car for the year. Whilst much of this initiative is about marketing for Infinity, the opportunity itself is still real one and well worth going after.

Outside of that very public offering the team also take on placement students in various roles across the factory via the more traditional applications on their websites. The vacancies for 2016-2017 have been announced recently and are freely available on their website :

http://www.infiniti-redbullracing.com/JobApplication

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Red Bull’s success both on circuit and in their marketing strategy has been widely admired. They have however also had their critics and their relationship with engine supplier Renault in particular has caused many to change their opinion. Red Bull are a hugely competitive team and whilst they were winning, the public facing side was all smiles but a less competitive showing over the past 2 seasons has turned many of those relationships sour. The end result is that they now find themselves somewhat isolated in the paddock and threats to pull out of the sport have fallen on deaf ears.

F1 needs a competitive Red Bull in my opinion and cannot afford to lose such a strong team (or for that matter its sibling Torro Rosso). Most of the great teams have endured periods of uncompetitiveness and yet come back and won again and I think Red Bull can do the same without having to resort to threats and blame culture. I think a solution will be found but no matter what, the team is never far from the headlines and this is all part of its notoriety in F1 and the wider sporting community.

How do I get a job there?

The Red Bull Racing website details a comprehensive amount of information about their graduate and work experience programmes plus details about roles available and what they do at the factory. There is even a hints and tips section to make sure you make the most of your application.

http://www.infiniti-redbullracing.com/article/our-hints-and-tips

Where do I find out more ?

Web : www.infiniti-redbullracing.com
Twitter : @redbullracing
Facebook : www.facebook.com/redbullracing
LinkedIn : www.linkedin.com/company/red-bull-racing

Other resources

TXM recruitment have close ties with Red Bull Racing (and other motorsport clients) and often list vacancies and contractor roles at the team. Its definitely worth a look from time to time or to sign up with them.

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8 thoughts on “What is it like to work at…Red Bull F1 Team?

  1. Sir,
    I am in the first year of my Mechanical Engineering and I plan to join the aero design team of my college. I have plans to pursue Motorsport Engineering at either Southampton, Cranfield, or Oxford Brookes. I would like to know if my participation in the aero-design team will be beneficial during the admission process, and also what are the chances of getting into the F1 industry after graduating from one of the above mentioned colleges?

    1. Hi Aditya,

      Thanks for the comment.

      It sounds like you have a good plan for your future there, I highly recommend all 3 of the UK universities you have mentioned and each of them have a good track record of producing Formula 1 engineers. They have very good links with industry in order to achieve this.

      I assume that the aero design team you are joining is Formula Student related ? It is very hard for me to know the value of that without knowing what you are involved with in more details but if you can use that opportunity to demonstrate some innovative thought, dedication and other personal qualities then I would say it was a worthwhile thing to do.

      In terms of your chances of getting into F1 after graduation, again this is very much down to the individual. As I mentioned, each of those colleges are well regarded, and have produced very capable engineers who now work in the industry. Clearly though, not everyone who attends those courses works in F1 and so the course itself is not measure of guarantee. You are still the critical component in your future and you should not rely on the course being the vital ingredient to your future. None of them would be a bad choice, but you must make the most of them in order to maximise your chances.

      I hope that makes some sense and best of luck. I hope to post some more material on university courses and making the most of the time so if you have not already, please subscribe to future posts to make sure you are notified of those updates.

      1. Sir,
        Thank you for the reply. It is really encouraging to know that I’m on the right track. No sir, unfortunately the aero design team is not related to formula student. The Society of Automotive Engineers organises a competition that is known as SAE Aero Design, in which we have to fabricate an aircraft according to given constraints. The competition is held in Texas and California and is hosted by Lockheed Martin, Boeing and NASA. I understand that it is not exactly related to formula one but I’m hoping to get some major experience on the aerodynamics front by joining this team, which will lay a solid foundation for the future.

        I had one more question. If I get recruited into a team, will they help me with getting a work visa and all? UK immigration is pretty strict by standard norms.

        1. I apologize for the double post. You mentioned that everyone who graduates from these Motorsport courses don’t always work in F1. So do they work in other Motorsport events? Like MotoGP, Endurance Races, etc?

          1. No problem on another question.

            I can’t be sure what the majority do, but I would imagine that a significant number of them go into other forms of racing yes. There is essentially no difference between education suitable for F1 and that for other forms of racing so it seems inevitable. Not everyone wants to be involved in F1, many have an interest in sportscars, rallying or MotoGP and yes those courses are very applicable for those types of racing too.

            In fact, even if you don’t immediately get a job in F1 then building your experience via another series is a very valid and worthwhile way to work towards F1.

            http://jobinf1.com/2014/06/15/24hrs-to-get-a-job-in-formula-1/

  2. Hi sir this is sanjal I am currently doing my first year masters in Europe and i am planning to specialize in vehicle dynamics in HAN university in Netherlands. I wanted to know the chances of getting into F1 industry as an vehicle dynamist???

    1. Hi Sanjal,

      Thanks for your question. Your choice of degree course sounds good to me, even though I am not very familiar with HAN university.

      Its very difficult for me to say what your chances of getting into F1 are because everyone is different and even if I knew all about you and your qualifications then it would be hard to know what the state of the industry was and vaccines at every team. All I can say is that it sounds like you are doing the right thing for your education and if you can complement that with the right kind of practical experience and demonstrate that you are committed to racing then I think you should have a very good chance of getting into F1 in the future.

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