Many of the comments and questions I get on this site relate to my own career history and how I came to be working in F1. I generally wish to remain anonymous for reasons I have explained elsewhere so that I can continue to provide quality and impartial advice to others. My own career history is however freely available on the internet, as is the academic and work background of many of my fellow colleagues in Formula 1. You just need to know where to look…
Do your own career history research
One of the many reasons I do not normally discuss my own career history with people on this site is because I do not wish to suggest that the pathway that I have taken is the best or the only way to get a career in Formula 1. I would actually suggest that it wasn’t the best or most conventional way but looking at the career histories of a number of different people who work in F1 can be an effective motivator and give you potential ideas for different routes into the sport. Any combination of these may be the best for you but you should always follow your immediate opportunities and instincts rather than try to emulate the career of another person.
LinkedIn is a well established social network for professional people who wish to make connections on a professional basis rather than on a social one. It is possible to find the LinkedIn profiles of many people just by searching the internet for their name (especially if it is uncommon) and typically these profiles will contain school, university and work histories for those individuals.
For example, if you type “Paddy Lowe Linked In” into Google, the first result (as of October 2013) will take you directly to Paddy’s LinkedIn profile page :
Paddy Lowe is now Executive Director(Technical) at Mercedes F1 but you can see several of the previous appointments he has held at McLaren and his academic history on his way to this high ranking Formula 1 position.
This process can be very fruitful for learning about how others have gone about making their careers in Formula 1.
Work your way around the grid
One of the best features of LinkedIn is the ability to see who a person has connected with and then to follow on to that connection’s profile page. It’s unlikely that you will know the names of many people who work in F1, other than those who make regular appearances on television as team principal or technical director. The connections feature of LinkedIn however allows you to find many (potentially hundreds) other F1 people and therefore learn their educational, training and career histories also.
Paddy Lowe for example is connected to Neil Oatley, Ross Brawn, Mike Coughlan, Stefano Domenicalli, James Allison and Eric Boullier amongst others.
Many people in Formula 1 (and other industries) will connect with their colleages and so if you find the LinkedIn profile page of someone you know this can be a starting point to research some of the other people who work at the same team as that original search point which you began with. As Formula 1 is a very close-knit community, many will also have connections to ex-colleagues at other teams and so you can slowly work your way from team to team researching interesting and relevant individuals and seeing how they managed to get to where they are today.
Taking this idea a step further
It is possible to make your own LinkedIn page and if you find this kind of research interesting you can pay to have a premium account which gives you greater access to profiles and shows you all of the information that an individual has posted. You can also request to connect to individuals and add them to your network but I would advise against randomly asking Adrian Newey and the like to endorse your design skills and make a connection. I get several requests each week from people who I do not know, just because I work at an F1 team and so people more famous and senior than me must be inundated with these. They are very unlikely to connect with you unless you have made some prior contact.
There are several motorsport job hunting groups setup and some of these are Formula 1 specific and involve weekly discussion on Formula 1 technical matters and the like. I am not sure that LinkedIn can get you a job in Formula 1 but it can help you make some interesting and useful research. You can get some further advice on how best to make use of LinkedIn here.
More like this
The annual publication “Who Works in F1” is a print directory which lists a huge number of profiles of people who work in Formula 1.
Again this comes with work histories and a lot of contact information for F1 teams and more importantly some of the key suppliers within F1. A great book but not cheap at £62.50
Keep in touch
If you are interested in a career in Formula 1 or want to learn more about how you can get involved, take a look through my list of frequently asked questions or read through some of my recent posts. This blog has a lot of useful tips and information waiting for you.
The time pressures of my job in F1 mean that I cannot update the site each day but I aim to post regularly. You can keep checking the blog for new articles or alternatively you can use the follow form at the bottom of this page or on the home page and I will keep you up to date with new articles as they are published.
If you have read the blog but there is still something specific you want to know you can always add a comment to this or any other post. Please bear in mind however that I get a lot of comments on the site now and I can’t guarantee to answer all questions, particularly if they have been asked before or have been discussed in previous posts. Please check my frequently asked questions or other people’s comments as your query may have already been answered.
You can also follow me on Twitter @Work_in_F1.