What does a Senior Designer do ?
Designers, or designer engineers as they are also referred to, model and draw the physical part and components that make up a Formula 1 car. This is normally done on a 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) station or computer. As a Senior Designer you would take overall design responsibility for a large section or assembly of an F1 car. This might be the gearbox, chassis or suspension for example. You would plan out the concept of that assembly with guidance from the Chief Designer then define each component part until you have a complete working design. You can then pass these designs to junior designers to complete and detail.
What is the best thing about being a Senior Designer ?
As a senior designer you will get to create your own designs and ideas which then get manufactured and used as part of a Formula 1 car. When a car is successful and wins races you can take a tremendous amount of personal satisfaction as you will have made a large contribution to that success.
What is the worst thing about being a Senior Designer ?
As a senior designer you will need to work very long hours, especially in the winter car build period and work under extreme time pressure without making mistakes. Senior designers are often producing performance and safety critical components and so carry a significant responsibility. Any failures can lead to high pressure and a very stressful existence.
How much would I get paid ?
Senior designers in F1 might get paid anywhere from £35,000 to £80,000 ($55,000 to $125,000) depending on the team and their level of experience.
What qualifications would I need ?
A good engineering degree is almost essential, or similar qualification in a science or mathematical related subject. You will also typically need a minimum of 5 years design experience in F1 or other high level motorsport.
What other skills might be useful ?
Creativity and problem solving are qualities that many of the best designers possess. Seniors will also require good written and verbal communication skills plus an ability to manage others.
What future roles can this lead to ?
Senior designers may potentially move on to be chief designer or technical director.