What does a Chief Designer do ?
The Chief Designer is in overall charge of the car’s physical design. H/she must translate the wishes of the Technical Director, Aerodynamicists and Vehicle Dynamicists into a physical car which is as light as possible and yet reliable. The Chief Designer will undertake the initial concept and general layout design for the overall car and then manage his/her team of designers as they produce the detail designs for the various car areas and components.
What is the best thing about being a Chief Designer ?
As a chief designer you have almost a free hand to design exactly the Formula 1 car you want and will have a highly talented team of designers at your disposal to help you do that. For anyone who wants to work in F1, the dream of being Chief Designer does not need much explanation !
What is the worst thing about being a Chief Designer ?
As a chief designer you carry full responsibility for the performance and reliability of the F1 car. This role is very stressful and requires huge time commitment taking you away from your family and other interests that you may have. It is not a part time occupation !
How much would I get paid ?
Chief designers get very well paid and it depends largely on personal performance and which team you work for but most chief designers will earn at least £150,000 to £200,000 ($230,000 to $300,000).
What qualifications would I need ?
A good engineering degree is essential. You will also typically need a minimum of 10 years design experience and a proven track record of success.
What other skills might be useful ?
Creativity and problem solving are useful attributes but as Chief Designer you will need excellent organisational skills, the ability to perform under pressure and excellent man management skills. You will also require element of project management and delegation.
What future roles can this lead to ?
Chief designers may potentially move on to be Technical Director.
Where can I find out more ?
Current Chief Designers :
Red Bull – Rob Marshall
Ferrari – Nikolas Tombazis
Mclaren – Neil Oatley
Mercedes – Aldo Costa
Lotus – Martin Tolliday
Force India – Akio Haga
Sauber – Matt Morris
Torro Rosso – Luca Furbatto
Williams – Ed Wood
Caterham – Lewis Butler
Marussia – John McQuilliam