The Job: David attends all races and tests undertaken by Minardi, and is responsible for the car’s engine. He can either be found at the race track during the F1 season or at Cosworth Racing’s factory, analysing data from the last race and preparing for the next one. "Whilst the car is on track, I monitor its health and ensure there are no problems via the telemetry," says David, who graduated from Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine with a first–class MEng degree in mechanical engineering. "In between outings, I will usually make changes to the engine’s set–up based on feedback from the drivers." David, 24, initially made contact with Cosworth Racing through a summer placement between his third and fourth year of university and was invited to apply for a permanent post.
Why apply? Variety and responsibility, not to mention having a job that takes you from San Marino to Sao Paolo to Shanghai. "I usually get to take ownership of a problem from the beginning to the end, which is rewarding," explains David. "The travel is a huge bonus as well, because you get to visit corners of the globe that you would not necessarily choose to visit."
What gets him out of bed? As you’d expect of a man who works in a field where success is measured in hundredths of a second, David thrives on the element of competition inherent to his job. "The process of designing, manufacturing, testing and racing an engine is so complex that problems can be introduced at any stage," he notes. "The fact that the engines run at all is an achievement in itself!"
The challenges? Working long hours, often whilst still jet–lagged. Also, manoeuvring through and around some of the egos that comes with the job requires diplomatic skills. "I have found out that nobody is wrong in motor sport," David notes. "It is probably even worse working for an engine manufacturer, as you are easy pickings. No matter what power your engine produces, it is never enough."
We say: If your dream is to work for an F1 racing team and you want to build your CV ahead of time, investigate to see whether you are eligible to join the Formula Student project. This is a competition that is a joint venture between the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of Automotive Engineers Incorporated of America (www.imeche.org.uk/formulastudent/about_us.asp). "It provides an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the ability to work as part of a team, whilst also displaying engineering competence at the same time," David says.