The world of motorsport is highly competitive and front running teams and manufacturers will rarely, if ever allow members of the public behind the closed doors of their factories. Or so people say but is that actually true ? I’m challenging that widely held belief and suggesting that factory tours are actually readily available at some of racing’s top performers if you only know where to look. Seeing how these competition cars are made and assembled is a rare privilege and gives an amazing and incredibly useful insight to any potential F1 or motorsport employee and I am about to show you how.
In this post I will show you several ways that you can get backstage passes to major motorsport manufacturers and F1 teams without having to get a job there first. You’ll have the chance to see not only the cars that they produce but also the various departments, organisations and job roles that make up these front running companies. Understanding where you are heading and what you are aiming for a key part of the knowledge you need to make a success of your F1 job hunting.
Knowing what you want to do in Formula 1 is crucial and understanding the real job roles behind the TV race team can give you a massive advantage. Factory tours are a golden chance to see behind the scenes and to understand better how major motorsport teams function and what operations they rely on. When any team advertises a vacancy, they have a problem or a need that they wish to solve and they are looking to you to be the solution that they need. If you understand what the team need and how that role fits into the bigger organisation then you will come across so much better and more confidently to the team in an application or interview.
Prodrive is one of my favourite non-F1 motorsport companies because it has such an excellent reputation throughout the industry, it gets involved in many diverse forms of racing across the world. The beautiful thing is that so many F1 job seekers that you are competing with will have never heard of Prodrive and would not even consider it as part of their career progression. Competition for jobs at Provide is a mere fraction of what it would be for an F1 team and yet it has all of the same functions, experience and technologies and more importantly can provide your with the critical knowledge and experience that you need to be a valuable commodity in the F1 jobs market. Companies like this are your ticket to the F1 paddock.
Prodrive are offering behind the scenes tours of their factory for a bargain price of just £30 for members of the public. You’ll get to see race car build areas, fabrication, engine dynos, electrical departments, bodyshop and engine build. The Prodrive premises at Banbury are huge and clinically well presented, a far cry from most garage workshops you will have visited. Prodrive shared their building with the recently demised Manor F1 team and so the facilities are very much on a par with a typical F1 team and share much of the same DNA. You’ll be impressed I guarantee it. This is an older video but gives you some idea of what’s inside :
If you are currently at university, secondary school or part of a recognised motor club you can visit the factory for free by getting in touch with them and provided you group is large enough. Pass the details on to your teacher or supervisor and ask if they can consider organising a class tour. Offer to organise it yourself if you can, the experience of doing that will be a good addition to your CV and personal development.
You can find out more by visiting – https://www.prodrive.com/tours
Factory tours like this might seem rare but if you look carefully you can find them in several places. F1 teams are even known to give tours to university groups as they are great ways of promoting their companies and increasing the potential for decent recruitment in the future. As a student you can instigate these yourselves and make crucial contacts at teams or manufacturers by choosing to organise a class or club tour yourself. You might not get a tour around Maranello but if you don’t ask you don’t get – consider if Racing Point or Haas would open their doors for you, they struggle to compete in the recruitment market and so are probably far more willing to let you inside. How about the wind tunnel at Toro Rosso in Bicester ? Didn’t know it was there ? Well, you learn something every day and you can bet that they don’t get many visitors – go ahead and ask and you might be surprised ! If you have no luck you can contact Wirth Research up the road.
National motorsport week is held every summer and is essentially an open doors period supported by several big names in the industry. In the past, factory tours have been organised at McLaren, Williams F1 and Red Bull and Renault F1. It is surprisingly low key and promotion is limited but if you know what you are looking for then this is ideal as the competition is low. The event is usually in July in the run up to the British GP but you can sign up for the newsletter and check the website in say early June to get an idea of which events are coming and when to sign up. It’s a golden opportunity to learn and should not be missed. Find out more at – https://www.nationalmotorsportweek.co.uk/Events
Amazingly, it is again not well publicised but Racing Point, Red Bull and Mclaren(MCLRN+ members) offer paid factory tours to members of the public. I would expect that the phone would be ringing off the hook for these but perhaps they deliberately keep the numbers low for privacy reasons. You now know however and so you should be getting on the very next tour and seeing your future workplace as soon as you possibly can ! The myths and rumours that surround motorsport are so often untrue, most people assume that F1 factories are off limits and so never bother looking but that’s their mistake. The successful people just go looking and get rewarded with what they find – make sure you are one of them !
Who was it that said motorsport was top secret and closed to outsiders ? Lesson learnt here, do not believe everything that people tell you, get out there and look for yourself and make things happen. Motorsport is for people who go the extra mile and don’t accept no for an answer. Leave those people who say it cannot be done well behind you and forge your own way to a career in motorsport. If you want to know more about how the industry works and how you can open doors to start your career then we’ve dedicated a whole section to exactly that in our amazing guidebook. Take a look here to get the first 3 chapters completely free. In the full book we not only take a look at the wider racing industry but we also go behind the scenes with our very own Ladbrooke F1 Team and examine every department and job role in detail with the qualifications you need to get there. Don’t be left behind – get the ULTIMATE F1 career guide now.