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!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The First Week

Phenomenal.  That’s how I’d describe my first days in the design office.  I’ve been thrown right into the mix, which is where the biggest difference about working in the offices of Infiniti-Red Bull Racing compared to my previous experiences comes into play.  The amount of resources and speed and efficiency at which they operate is incredible.  Personnel, hardware, software, IT support, training…we are able to get anything we need to do our jobs nearly instantly.

I was tasked pretty much immediately, and my previous blog post mentions the type of work that I’m doing.  Being able to sink my teeth into projects so quickly is not something I’m used to.  It typically takes days to get software installed, for example.  The process side of things is just quicker here, and I’ve been able to hit the ground running.  The first week included sessions on the simulator with a younger driver, which is a lot of fun, as well as validation being immersed into the data acquisition and analytical software packages.  For me, this is extremely exciting.  I’m already using Matlab on a daily basis, looking at telemetry, and doing a bit of refresh training on NX (CAD software).  This computer work is all within the context of the cars and the simulator, meaning that my work results are tangible.  My deliverables will have measurable impact, which makes my job more stimulating than simply staring at a bunch of screens.

Working into the evening hours, #BecauseRacecar

Jason and Will went through significant amounts of training in the first week, receiving inductions and training with electronics, composites, and the machine shop, as their roles are more related to design and manufacture of parts for the vehicle whereas mine is generally analytical. So they’ve been able to do and see some pretty cool stuff, while I’ve been able to take on a challenge.

The people I work with are great, as are those who have been working with Jason and Will.  They’re generally highly experienced, and it’s easy to see that they are simply fantastic engineers, and it’s amazing to work with them.  Sam and Gleb have been keen to help me get situated, learn the relevant processes, share what they’re up to, and invite me for tea each time they walk to the café we’ve got on one end of the design office.  I’ve had to ask the UK boys about tea ever since putting a lemon in my English Breakfast tea…still need more practice, but I’d like to think I’m becoming more cultured!  Haha.

Speaking of people, everybody is very talented and totally approachable.  Regardless of seniority, people are willing to help or just discuss things with anybody at any time.  Good news for me, since I have nonstop questions.  The collaborative nature of the team is so amenable to a comfortable and highly productive workplace; I’ve already learned tons!  Beyond that, it’s such an electric atmosphere; you can’t help but be excited and motivated when you’re passing the RB7 and the championship trophies as you walk through the front doors to the design office every day.

Friday night, Jason, Will and I met up with Jack, a friend of Will’s from home, and a few coworkers who have helped us through the onboarding process.  Hannah, Silvi, Natalie and Rachel from Infiniti-Red Bull invited us out at the Hub.  The Hub is right across the street from our flat, which is great since it’s the only place like it in Milton Keynes.

The Hub in Milton Keynes

The three of us are finding doesn’t have a lot of inherent character on its own, since it is very industrial.  That makes it awesome for getting pretty much anything you need without having to go far at all, including the ability to get to London via Milton Keynes Central, which is walkable, as is the mall and grocery store.  It’s all very convenient.  But the hub has its own type of character.  The hub is essentially a horseshoe of restaurants and pubs overlooking a small square, and loads of other businesses, restaurants, and pubs are scattered throughout the same area.  It’s the main social and nightlife area of Milton Keynes, and it’s where we stayed during the initial academy assessments. 

We started at Be At One, which was confusing when Will told us where to meet up.  Jason and I first thought he meant, just be at a pub…any pub.  Anyway.  Be At One is a small place with good cocktails and late happy hour deals, so we hung outside at the tables there for a while and got to talking about our experiences.

Be At One in the Hub

Everybody has pushed to get to where they are in their careers, but thankfully, it’s not just about work.  Work hard, play hard is definitely the mantra.  Since half of us were from outside of the UK, and the girls have had awesome opportunities while working at and traveling with the race team, there are a lot of good stories to share.  There’s a lot of depth to the people here.  We continued next door to Missoula, which is a western USA themed bar & grill, and Will showed off his funky solo dance moves.  If only I had taken video!  We dispersed over the next couple of hours and made our ways home.  It was a fun night getting to know some new friends!

Life is not boring in F1.  That's for damn sure.

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