Now some of you may have noticed that I’m an engineer by trade, and you may have noticed that I recently started a new job and having been posting a lot less frequently than before (recently now being a couple of months ago…).
But I am glad to say that I am now working back in Formula 1 again! I am doing Power Unit/ Engine-based work, which is pretty cool as it’s probably the part of engineering I enjoy the most.
I thought it might be worth giving a quick overview of what it’s like to work in Formula 1, as the majority of people are unlikely to know anyone who does, especially outside of the UK!
Working in F1 has both pros and cons, and I will attempt to explain these to those of you who might not have any idea what it means to be working in F1. As I mentioned, the majority of people will not know anyone who works in F1, especially if you are based outside of the UK (7 of 11 teams are based in the UK).
You get to work with some of the best engineers in the world in some of the best facilities. As an engineer this is important as you know you can rely on the people and equipment around you to not let you down (Well most of the time!).
Alongside this, you get to work with some very nice engines (or aerodynamics, or suspension or whatever area you are working in), the precision that goes into F1 car parts is thoroughly amazing.
Although by comparison the engines are actually quite simple when compared to modern road engines. This is generally due to lack of emissions requirements combined with restrictive regulations, although in a way they are also much more advanced i.e. in terms of materials and manufacturing.
The job is exciting, every time the team races you can see the items you have been working on pushed to the limits in the pinnacle of motorsport, which is a pretty good feeling (unless your parts break, but that’s a different story!).
Things also happen on a much faster timescale than in typical production environments, for example a component for an aeroplane would typically take several years from first concept to production, a road car would probably take a year, F1 can go from concept to race in the space of days. This means the work you are doing has immediate and observable effects which keeps it interesting!
Also, being able to say you work in Formula 1 sounds pretty cool!
The hours are long, especially when things need to be finished (there is no such thing as ‘I’ll do it later’), I am currently scheduled to be working from 6pm to 6am (12 hour night shifts) at the moment! But on the upside I work less days a month that others so I don’t mind too much. The standard work hours where I work are in the 45 hour/ week range, plus overtime, so more like 47-48 hours. In my previous job it was 39 hours / week, with all time kept to the minute (swipe cards), so that if you worked extra one day you could leave early on another day etc.
Also, the majority of F1 jobs are paid as a salary rather than based on how much time you spend at work. That means if you have to work late or come in over weekends you don’t get paid any more!
Also, if you aren’t careful you could end up doing the same job for years on end. A lot of companies work on the principle of promoting someone until they are incompetent (If you work well you get promoted, and this keeps going until you aren’t doing great, then you stay put!), this doesn’t happen in F1. If you are good at a job, good, you can keep doing it then!
This generally leads to a lot of sideways movement between various teams in order to get promoted.
On the whole I am really enjoying my new job, the added pressure keeps it exciting and I actually get more days off than my previous job (but my work days are longer).
Would I go back to not working in F1?
Not a chance!
If you have any questions about working in F1, how to get there or even just general engineering, let me know in the comments!