Jobs in F1: How to Become a Formula 1 Strategy Engineer

  • What is a Strategy Engineer?
  • What does a Strategy Engineer do?
  • What skills do you need to become a Strategy Engineer?

Introduction

The path into F1 is a tricky one. The absolute highest level of motorsport requirements, combined with a frenetic work schedule and fast-moving parts. One of the key roles to the success of an F1 team is the Strategy Engineer or Race Strategy Engineer. 

Within this article, Motorsport Engineer aims to give you the absolute guide to making it in Formula 1 as a Strategy Engineer and to give you all the crucial in’s and out’s required for this technical position.

 

What is a Race Strategy Engineer? 

Formula One teams are high-tech, multi-functional businesses, competing at the highest level and aiming to maximise their performance both on and off track.

The structure of a drivers race is completely dependant on the Strategy Engineer. There are multiple opportunities to pit, including a variety of tyre options, race scenarios and track positions, which can have a direct effect on the outcome of a race.

This is known as “The Race Strategy”

It requires a team of skilful people who can work within high-pressure environments to calculate and decide the perfect strategy.

F1 jobs that play a key part in race results are rewarding and can leave workers feeling like they have contributed to a large part of the race result. Formula 1 is a results-based business, and success or failure is clear to see.

Success could lead to promotion or acclaim. F1 internships tend to be similar. If you present the skills and are good enough, you will be hired. Strategy engineering is a highly technical position, but one that will pay well and allow you to feel at one with the team, car and driver. You will have tasks to complete all year, in the build-up to races, and crucially during the all-important Grand Prix’s, which are decisive in how many points the team scores for the Constructors Championship.

What does a Formula 1 Race Strategist do?

As an F1 Race Strategist, you will:

  • Work in a department but will be required to collaborate and communicate effectively with personnel, sometimes between different departments in a team with thousands of employees.
  • Report to a director, who will often set you targets and aims, and will assign you to a position during race sessions.
  • Have the opportunity to work both trackside and factory
  • Competitor analysis is another important task, which involves predicting how well other teams will be, and how your team performs against them.
  • Preparation and debrief from sessions by completing simulations and reports before and after sessions, whilst also providing support during sessions, and analysing the strategy and its effectiveness
  • Pit crew analysis and performance monitoring with research and optimisation to improve efficiency.

Your ‘office’ will most likely be the race support room, which is where you will have to decide live strategy and tyre choices, that will be fed to race engineers, and carried out by the pit crew.

What are the Requirements Needed for a Race Strategy Engineer?

As a basic, applicants must be able programmers in languages such as Python, Visual Basic, MATLAB and C#. You should also be confident at both creating and managing databases, including analysis of data using techniques such as MATLAB, ATLAS and SQL

                                                                                                                Race Strategy is data-driven,

so you must be able to store, manage and make use of it effectively. F1 jobs in this sector also require you to have first-hand experience of developing a race strategy, as well as a strong understanding of vehicle and tyre performance.

You can acquire this through placements at teams in other strategy positions, which may not be as glamorous, but will provide you with critical experience.

Do you need a Degree to be a Race Strategy Engineer? 

The majority of Strategy Engineer positions will require you to have a Master or PhD level degree in a STEM subject. This will ensure that you have the relevant skillset to take on such a technical role.

Formula 1 internships may also require you to have studied or be studying one of these subjects. Any well-regarded STEM universities will be looked upon fondly during the hiring process, and you should also have examples of extra-circular activities with a Motorsport bias. 

As with all motorsports and trackside support roles, there is a risk of physical safety. If you are hoping to become a race strategy engineer, then you should be willing to put yourself at risk and to follow all team safety precautions and guidelines.

The Best Skills and Experience needed to be a Strategy Engineer

Strat Engineers require you to be numerically and statistically biased and be able to analyse data with great effect.

Being able to take ownership of strategic systems and be knowledgeable of how they operate and have experience in data analysis.

It will also be essential to have very strong problem-solving skills, as well as being a logical thinker. 

Race strategists are generally an advanced role, and so applicants are often required to have spent time within a Formula 1 or motorsport environment 

For example, a current vacancy at the Haas F1 team requires applicants to have spent 4 years within a motorsport team, working a strategy based role. 

It is a stressful and complicated, yet highly rewarding and interesting position. Formula 1 jobs can also be well paid, and this is one position which can be. If you are looking for a role that is very analysis heavy, which plays a key part in the success of the team, then this could be the job for you!

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