In a nutshell, my job involves… monitoring and analysing samples of the fuel, engine oil and functional fluids used in the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Formula One car at all races during the season. During a race weekend, I work from the Petronas Trackside Laboratory within the Mercedes garage, helping maintain the performance of the fuels and lubricants to ensure consistent performance, reliability and efficiency for the team.
When I was a child I wanted to be… an engineer or a doctor. I loved science and maths at school and had a natural aptitude for those subjects. I spent time in my father and grandfather’s engineering workshops as a child, which sparked an interest in the sector. After completing work experience in a hospital, I knew medicine wasn’t for me, and that was when engineering became a definite choice. I also grew up with a passion for motorsports: some of my cousins competed in karting championships, I used to go and watch the DTM races with my family, and I saw the Barcelona Grand Prix with some friends. We would watch Formula 1 as a family and I was always entertained.
I got into this industry through… hard work, dedication and a bit of luck. I chose my A-Level subjects (mathematics, chemistry and biology) with my future career in mind and got a place at the University of Bradford to study chemical engineering. Following my undergraduate degree, I took a master’s course in advanced chemical engineering at Imperial College London. After I graduated, I was working at a manufacturing site in Bradford when I saw a job advert on LinkedIn about a global talent search for a Petronas trackside fluid engineer. At first, I wasn’t sure whether to apply, but my dad reminded me that working in Formula One had always been my dream and what did I have to lose? So I went ahead. The application process involved a series of psychometric tests, the creation of a one-minute video, a case-study interview in Kuala Lumpur and an interview with the group CEO. I was selected for the job and started with the team in February 2019. It was a whirlwind!
I love what I do because… I work right in the heart of the Formula One paddock and I get to put into practice all of my training, plus the skills I learnt at university. Formula One is unpredictable and especially in my first season, everything has been a new and exciting challenge.
The best part of my day is… when we win a race and you see the whole team coming together to celebrate. Running to the pit wall and congratulating the drivers, then rushing to the podium to see them collect the trophy, is an amazing experience. It’s a special moment where we get to recognise all the hard work we’ve put in as a team and celebrate.
The hardest part of my day is… being away from my family and loved ones for at least 21 weeks of the year. Travelling is a huge part of the job and while I’d travelled a lot as a child, I’d never really done so by myself. This role has required a huge shift in my lifestyle – when I’m not out and about, I’m based at the company’s global research and development facility in Turin. It’s easy to stay in touch with family and friends back home on Skype and Facetime, but it makes the time we spend together really special.
The aspect of my job that always surprises people is… the fact that I’m involved in taking samples from the car. On television, you see all the mechanics in the garage and don’t get an insight into post-session sampling, so most people assume one of the mechanics takes it on my behalf.
The three skills that help me succeed are… hard work, a can-do attitude and a passion for the job.
The biggest change in my industry at the moment is… the fact that the sport is always developing. Formula One recently announced its pledge to become net zero carbon by 2030 and we will also have a record-breaking 22 races for the 2020 season. It will be interesting to visit some new countries and race tracks.
My role model is… my parents and my grandparents. My family have always been really important to me and I rely on their advice and experience.
The one thing I wish I’d known when I started is..... the amount of hours you work, particularly during race weeks. It was a challenge to adjust to the late nights, but now it just seems normal. When the enthusiasm is there, the time moves very fast.
Anyone wanting to do my job should begin by… studying engineering and having a genuine interest in the sport.
In 10 years’ time, I’d like to be… doing my full MBA. I just completed an MBA Essentials certificate with London School of Economics and Politics and loved every moment of it.
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