The purpose of this blog is to inform those who are interested about my journey as one of three students from around the world who earned placements at Infiniti-Red Bull Racing as a result of the Infiniti Performance Engineering Academy. Family, friends, colleagues, aspiring engineers, and any other followers are welcome to visit this page and, if desired, give me feedback or ask questions. It is an effort to streamline documenting the next 12 months for all of these varying audiences, some of which do not participate in social media.

I have never written a journal, never written a blog. This is a first for me. This being the most meaningful and fantastic opportunity I could ever dream of, I would like to share best I can the details of what goes on in my day-to-day during the academy. I am incredibly honored to have won a placement at Infiniti-Red Bull Racing, and I seek to make this opportunity worth everything it possibly can be.

I will write once or twice a week, depending on the accumulation of events and catching up on the previous few days. If you'd like, you can sign up for email notifications for when I create a new post! See the link toward the bottom of this page. I hope you all enjoy, and thank you so much for visiting!

Monday, 15 September 2014

The Beginning of Something Special

FINALLY!!  The big day has arrived!  Jason, Will and I all got up early to make sure we were awake and ready for our first day working in Formula One.  Fortunately we didn’t have to report until nearly 10am today.  Our real workdays will start an hour or more earlier, of course.  We were super excited as we drove to work for the first time.

Pulling into work for the first time!

When we got there, we met the film crew and did a bit more arrival filming.  Rob Gray, one of the chief designers who had been there throughout the assessment in July as a judge, met us first and welcomed us to Infiniti-Red Bull Racing.  We then went through some more HR stuff, got a short tour of the facilities, and went on to lunch with some of the industrial placement students.  These other students are in their third or fourth year of university study, so they’re all slightly younger than us (much younger than me, of course haha).  They have been at I-RBR for a month to two months, and they were great to talk to, very welcoming and keen to discuss backgrounds and interests.  Two of them, Gleb and Sam, are also part of the vehicle dynamics group, which is where I will be working.

I had chiefly been an aerodynamicist in Formula SAE, but a lot of my work focused on vehicle dynamics over the years.  Vehicle dynamics, along with race engineering, is my main interest as a professional motorsports engineer.  So, the placement in vehicle dynamics is brilliant for me, and I couldn’t be more excited.  For those who need a quick explanation, vehicle dynamics is essentially the study of the motion of the car based on various forces acting on it.  This is primarily a function of the tires, but it also incorporates innumerable parameters of the car, including suspension and chassis specifications, aerodynamic characteristics, powertrain, braking, differentials, and much more.  Jason is working in transmission design, and Will is part of the composites design group.

After lunch, we met our line managers.  Mine is Pierre Wache, who is a brilliant mind in Formula One.  Having come from Sauber in 2013, he serves as Chief Engineer, Car Performance.  In other words, he’s the head of vehicle dynamics.  My main supervisor, however, is Mark Williams.  Alongside him, I will be working primarily on simulation, tire modeling, and virtual data analysis.  I was able to visit the simulator to get a taste of what I’ll be doing, which includes supporting not just the Formula One team but also the Red Bull Junior Team programs.  Lots of analysis, and lots of interaction with the drivers.  So damn cool.

Take a look at the simulator here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE-Fge3gN9w

To top it off, the guys at Gerrell & Hard sent us a nice welcome gift of a coffee mug and Haribo gummies along with a nice note.  Simon and Nick were the two guys mainly behind the initial screening and recruitment process for the IPEA and were around for the assessment period as well.

No doubt this will be filled with coffee over and over...

This was absolutely the best first day of work ever.  We’re going to be thrown into the mix very quickly, and that is now apparent.  Once I got my desk and sat down, it finally sank in for me.  This is really happening.  I really am a Formula One engineer, a dream come true.  Not only that, but my desk is meters away from where Adrian Newey and Christian Horner sit.  Unbelievable.  It is such an honor to be working alongside such talent and to get to share it with the other two guys, and I look forward to learning everything I possibly can over the next 12 months!

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