• Job title Aerodynamic Design Engineer
  • Organisation McLaren F1 Racing
  • CourseMotorsport Engineering and Management MSc, 2007 , 2007

Why did you choose Cranfield?

Since I was 14, it has been my dream to work for an F1 team and to contribute towards the creation of such faultless and beautiful engineering, and in 2007 my dream came true! One of the most historic and famous F1 teams known offered me my first professional position after graduating!

After completing 11 GCSE's, I went on to college and gained 6 A-Levels in a variety of complex subjects, linking each subject to motorsport as much as possible. On one of my visits to the Autosport Show, I discovered the MSc in Motorsport Engineering and Management at Cranfield University and decided that it was definitely the course for me. It would combine my interests in both engineering and management, but in relation to the motorsport industry. After my A-Levels I then went to the Royal Military College of Science, one of the campuses of Cranfield University based in Oxfordshire, to study a BEng in Mechanical Engineering and Management. During my summer holidays I worked for Swindon Racing Engines. Whilst there I was involved with design work for the 2005 Chevrolet World Touring Car, inspection, engine testing and the re-building of Seat Cupra Racing Engines for the Seat Cupra Championships.

What was Cranfield's impact?

After successfully completing my degree and receiving three prizes, I then went to Cranfield University in Bedfordshire to study the MSc. I found the course to be very interesting and to cover a wide range of motorsport topics. During the MSc well known individuals in the motorsport industry such as Dave Richards and Pat Symonds came to speak to us, which was great and showed that the course was very well linked to people in the industry. This link was proved further when I was awarded a Grand Prix Mechanics’ Charitable Trust Bursary, which is an award from the motorsport industry aimed at helping to subsidise studying and living expenses.

For me, my time at Cranfield was very busy. As well as working behind the student union bar to earn spare cash and learning Spanish during the week, I also got involved with Reflex Racing. With Reflex I got to work with a Ginetta car from the AVO Ginetta Championships, where I spent time testing and setting up the car, analysing data and performing general car maintenance.

The group project was a challenging yet enjoyable part of the MSc course. The aim was to design and manufacture a new FIA Formula Ford Nose Crash Box. I particularly enjoyed the marketing presentation where my group and I were able to present our idea we had been working on for five months, to an audience of people in the motorsport industry. Our idea was very well received, and we won the MSA Marketing Prize.

The part of the course that I was most looking forward to was the thesis. After having organised my own thesis with McLaren Racing, I began my project titled the ‘Identification and Tracking of the McLaren F1 Race Car from McLaren to the Race Track’. This incorporated both parts of my Master’s course, in that it covered engineering and management together. This enabled me to become more knowledgeable about all aspects of McLaren Racing, giving me a complete overview of how the whole company operates. I was able to see the complete cycle of an F1 car – from concept to race track. I had meetings with potential suppliers who could implement my solution, as well as meetings with some of the directors at McLaren to discuss my proposal and put it into action. My project has since been successfully implemented. It was a great opportunity for me to prove myself as a professional worker and to put to test the team working and communication skills I have developed over the years.

At the end of my thesis I was then offered a position in the Aerodynamics Department as a Design Engineer. I first began by working with my own Test Rig and writing reports to discuss my findings. I also spent some time working in the Wind Tunnel, and now I design the Wind Tunnel model itself.

I have been involved in many things at McLaren, including team sports such as go-karting and rafting, and being asked to model team merchandise alongside the team drivers and other team members. Getting involved with other parts of the business has been great to see how things work on both sides of the coin. Working for McLaren is a fantastic opportunity and I see myself in a position that has a wonderful future thanks to my hard work and dedication.

As a Design Engineer in the Aerodynamics Department, I am responsible for designing the components and bodywork of the wind tunnel model. My job involves lots of communication between the aerodynamicists, who I work alongside, as well as the wind tunnel engineers and those who work in the Model Shop.

What I love about my job is seeing my designs on the final race car where I can then see it competing against the other F1 teams on race tracks around the world. What I still find amazing is how quick designs can go from being a concept to then being manufactured, painted and assembled to the car for a race. In comparison to the automotive industry, the world of motorsport (F1 in particular) moves so much quicker and it is this fast moving pace of work that I love. In such a time sensitive environment, my job allows me to demonstrate many of my skills including excellent time management and the meeting of deadlines.