A Formula 1 (F1) driver's racing team generally comprises a group of engineers, each with their own areas of expertise. Engineers should have a comprehensive understanding of a car's systems and a passion for racing, as they are often on tour for eight months out of the year. They oversee every aspect of fine-tuning the car for maximum performance; from collecting and analysing telemetry data and reporting these findings, to fine-tuning the car to fit the driver and his style.
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Enrol at an engineering school and earn a bachelor's degree in an automotive-related field. Distinguish yourself by working hard, earning excellent grades and staying involved. Pursue a master's degree in a similar field, such as automotive engineering. Some engineers begin in different fields and are eventually drawn to F1 because of their love for racing.
Stay involved while still in school. Join a local Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) club, often found on college campuses. In doing so you may gain some insight into the world of auto racing engineering while meeting other professionals. Familiarise yourself with the various systems found in an F1 car (i.e., aerodynamics, composites and combustion). Become comfortable with mechanical and electronics setups and with diagnosing performance issues. Spend your time learning to design and build race cars and engines.
Secure an internship with an F1 team. Other opportunities to gain experience exist with colleges and universities offering special projects. Develop your interpersonal skills while there, as racing teams must have good chemistry and open lines of communication to succeed.
Follow through on your internship by applying for a position on a F1 team. You should reach out to the team itself, rather than a company. This may entail moving to Europe, as the majority of teams are based there. Distinguish yourself by demonstrating technical knowledge and an understanding of F1 cars, as well as a strong desire to work within the industry. Consider starting out at lower levels of racing, even working on Kart cars.
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