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How to become an F1 Race engineer?

Love speed, tech and want to get involved with Formula One? Then being an F1 engineer would be the perfect career option for you. Read this blog to know all about what an F1 Race Engineer does and how to become one as well as the salary.

Abhranil Roy
Last updated: 22.12.2020
How to become an F1 Race engineer | Sports Social Blog

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Love speed, tech and want to get involved with Formula One? Well, then being an F1 engineer would be the perfect career option for you. Some people have a knack for racing and speed excites them. But to some others, the sound of engines and understanding the twisted mechanics behind the working of machines gives an adrenaline rush. To them what’s more exciting than riding a motorcycle or a motorcar understands how they actually work.


Read this blog to know all about what an F1 Race Engineer does and how to become one as well as the salary, qualification and job perks you must know about!



What does an F1 Race Engineer do?


A race engineer is effectively the racing driver’s right hand man, the person he relies upon to set up the car and give him the information he needs to perform at his best. Television coverage of Formula 1 in recent years has begun to broadcast the pit to car radio transmissions and the voice of the race engineer can often be heard passing information to the drivers, answering their questions or telling them to hurry up.

The race engineer has a very involved role at race weekends as he/she will organize how the car is run, what the setup is, how much fuel is put, what tyres are put on and what tests are carried out.  Much of this will have been pre-planned during the pre-briefings with the driver, and before then during preparation at the factory.  In fact the race engineer’s preparation for the race weekend will begin immediately following the previous race or test.

After each race the engineer and driver will sit down and go through a debrief where the performance of the car is discussed corner by corner and stage by stage during the race.  This feedback is critical for the rest of the design and vehicle dynamics team back at base as it allows them to go away and try to come up with solutions to the car’s handling or reliability.  Likewise, when at the factory the design team will brief the race engineer on new development or changes to the car specification which he will then incorporate into his run plan and pass onto the driver.  The race engineer is the primary link between his driver and the rest of the team and therefore must be a very organized and effective communicator.


Qualifications needed to be an F1 Race Engineer:


Firstly, you’ll need a degree or equivalent in mechanical or automotive engineering. Most UK universities offer mechanical engineering courses and this should enable you to study vehicle dynamics or mathematical modeling such as MATLAB (matrix laboratory) or SimPack – essential knowledge within the role.

It’s also a good idea to enhance employment opportunities after graduation. You can do this by trying to secure a motorsport-related work placement as part of your degree, whilst others opt to volunteer for race teams for free in their spare time. Marshaling can also be a good option, as it gives paddock access, making it possible to experience F1 life close-up.

Obviously, it isn’t always possible to walk into a race engineer role straight after graduation. Most race engineers will have worked their way up to the position, and usually after having worked as a vehicle dynamist and a data engineer, whether in  F1, rallying, NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) or similar. Alternatively, you could work in junior race teams as a data analyst and develop ‘on the ground’, the skills required to graduate as a race engineer.

Salary of an F1 Race Engineer:

Here are the salary details and job perks of being an F1 Race Engineer:

  • Being a part of a crew which receives such huge worldwide coverage you are going to get a lot of attention. Popularity is something which comes with this job.

  • Who doesn’t like to travel? F1 races happen all around the world. So, you will get to travel and see the world while working. Just how cool is that!

  • As per Morson, UK, the salary range starts from £450,000 per year and goes up depending on your experience and qualifications. 


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