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How to Become an F1 Aerodynamicist: Skills, Salary, and Career Path

Become an F1 aerodynamicist & push the boundaries of racing design! Explore the role, qualifications, key skills & high-paying careers in F1 aerodynamics. Learn from top universities & launch your dream job in Formula 1.

Utsav Chaudhary
Last updated: 18.06.2024
How to Become an F1 Aerodynamicist

There’s an old saying that in motorsport racing and especially in Formula 1 aerodynamics is king. Formula 1 cars are insanely powerful but if speed is the king then grip is the queen. If there is no grip then all that huge horsepower is useless. To keep F1 cars on track aerodynamics plays an important role. Aerodynamics seems like an unsung hero that used to keep the car on the track. It acts as an adhesive for the car to keep them on the track surface.


So to study the concept of aerodynamics and its effects on an F1 car , one should choose to be an aerodynamicist. In this article, we will cover every aspect of being an aerodynamicist in Formula 1 and what skills are required to be a part of it. If you are passionate about studying the unseen forces that revolve around the car and designing F1 car parts, then you are in the right place to kick off your journey as a Formula 1 aerodynamicist.

Role Of A Formula 1 Aerodynamicist

A graduate aerodynamicist is a mastermind of the interaction between solids and the moving air around them. In Formula 1, the job of the aerodynamicist is to design and analyze the car’s aerodynamic components. These engineers study the intricate behavior of speed and grip that f1 cars exhibit. They also developed a new aero compound package while testing the F1 car in the wind tunnel so that they could make a few adjustments that could increase on-track performance before the actual race began. Their primary goals revolve around optimizing a car’s design to achieve two crucial goals:

  • Minimize The Drag - Drag is the excessive air that acts against the direction of the moving F1 car which sometimes exerts a powerful force to slow it down at some instinct. Now a skilled F1 aerodynamicist will work on the design and development of the car along with its various aero packages such as the front wing, side pods of the car, etc to study the airflow and reduce drag coefficient to attain higher speed.

  • Maximize Downforce - Now after minimizing the drag, the aerodynamicist is required to work on the car’s body to maximize the downforce. The downforce is the opposite of the lift. To maximize the downforce, the aerodynamicist used to manipulate airflow with a few elements like the front and the rear wing along with the underfloor of F1’s car. They create a downforce that pushes the car firmly onto the track. This downforce results in cornering the car at high speed without losing traction.

How To Become An F1 Aerodynamicist?

To work in the mainstream position in motorsport engineering is not an easy task. If you want a competitive job then you might be able to compete by being a master of several skills. Working in the motorsport industry, especially in F1 is not an easy option, If you as an individual are a student of STEM biased with the study of Fluid Dynamics and aero engineering then your chances of working in F1 would be open. However, some points should be kept in mind before enrolling yourself as an F1 aerodynamicist. 


If you are interested in pursuing a career as an F1 aerodynamicist, then you must do a graduation course. In Formula 1 racing, over the past few years job adverts offered opportunities to undergraduate candidates pursuing degrees in mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, and many more. Many racing teams also prefer a master's degree to apply for the role. 

  • The candidates should be well-versed in STEM and representative academic platforms. If you want to be an F1 Aerodynamicist you might have a technical degree in mechanical engineering or a Diploma in motorsport engineering.

  • Students pursuing Aerospace engineering can also apply for the job role. Even knowing software such as CATIA 3DX, Bramble CFD and Ansys can also prioritize your chances of getting the job role.

  • A master's in Aeronautical engineering and aerospace engineering can both provide excellent job opportunities to gain experience through technological training and an understanding of the working aspects of wind tunnels in developing the F1 car.

Key Roles Working As An Aerodynamicist In Formula 1 Team

                                                                 Credit- Mercedes Petronas AMG F1 Youtube Channel

Being an F1 aerodynamicist requires a skillful set and having to push boundaries to give design and technology to the top of milliseconds on the race track. Some important key duties are as follows:

1. Design And Analyzing - F1 aerodynamicist designs and analyzes various aero compounds using advanced design software like CFD and 3D CAD tools.

2. Wind Tunnel Testing - Aerodynamicist engineers play a vital role in configuring and conducting wind tunnel tests so that they can evaluate the effects of aerodynamics design in a controlled environment.

3. Data Analysis And Optimization - They analyze the data from various design simulation software and wind tunnel tests to identify areas for improvement and continuously refine the car’s aerodynamic package.

4. Regulation Compliance - Formula 1 has strict rules and regulations over aerodynamic design. Trackside engineers and aerodynamicists ensure their design while maximizing the car’s performance.

What is the salary of an F1 Aerodynamicist?

Millions of dollars can be earned by someone in their field and with good experience. But, you can receive a lower salary than more experienced engineers because you are a rookie and fresher. The working and experience levels of F1 aerodynamicists might affect their pay. If you are a fresher with limited experience you can expect a starting salary of $37,000 to $50,000 pa. Top teams like Mercedes and Red Bull with bigger budgets tend to offer higher salaries. As far as experience is concerned a senior F1 aerodynamicist can earn upwards of $123,000 with some additional pay.

How To Begin Your Career As An F1 Aerodynamicist?

A technical degree in common areas like science, aerospace engineering, and technological skills is likely required of anyone hoping to start a career as an F1 aerodynamicist. On the other hand, obtaining a degree makes additional prospects available. To advance your career as an F1 aerodynamicist, some renowned colleges offer degrees in aeronautical engineering and motorsport engineering. Here are a few deserving mentions:

These famous universities provide a comprehensive and extensive technical degree to help you launch your F1 career. However, having on-track and industry experience can help you improve your hands-on expertise. Some internet website recruiters hire various engineers for an F1 team. Check out some noteworthy accolades below.

All of these websites provide a variety of job opportunities based on job profiles and open positions. If you dare to pedal up to your passion or desire, prepare for an adrenaline rush as an F1 aerodynamicist. If you enjoyed this post, please share it and let us know in the comments below who wishes to be an aerodynamicist in the future.

There are many more other career options are available in Formula 1, Read our Guide To Career Options In Formula 1 and How To Become An F1 Race Engineer

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