Chance of a lifetime: 12 engineering finalists close in on a job for Newey at Red Bull Racing
Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Jun 2014   |  9:51 am GMT  |  46 comments

For most engineering students interested in F1, the chance to work alongside design guru Adrian Newey at Red Bull Racing would be considered as the Holy Grail.

For 12 students who have been shortlisted for the finals of an engineering academy backed by Red Bull title partner Infiniti, the opportunity is now in touching distance.

The finalists come from the USA, China, Australia, Sudan and the UK. The 12 will compete to win a 12-month engineering role with the team at its Milton Keynes’ Headquarters; including accommodation in the UK, Infiniti company car and a full salary. Out of 1,500 international engineering students from over 100 universities, the final 12 includes nine men and three women.

They will come to the UK for a three day finals event taking place at Infiniti’s European Technical Center at Cranfield and the Red Bull factory in Milton Keynes. The three winners will be unveiled by Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey on July 3rd.

Newey, 55, dropped out of school with no A levels, but clawed his way back into education thanks to his passion for motorsport. He said that his goal is for the winners to be, “Inspired and realize their dream of working in the pinnacle of motorsport, Formula One. Judging by the applications submitted, it is great to see so much passion and enthusiasm from our engineers of the future.”

The 12 finalists are:
Christien Blencowe, 25, from Melbourne, Australia (Engineering at Monash University)
Andrew Trathen, 22, from Melbourne, Australia (Engineering at Monash University)
Qin Li, 22, from Hunan, China (Vehicle Engineering at Tongji University)
Wei Zhao Zhang, 22, from Beijing, China (Engineering at Tsinghua University)
Yijia He, 22, from Sichuan Province in China (Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College in London)
Yoga Nadaraajan, 21, from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (studies Electronics Engineering at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)
William Priest, 23, from Exeter, UK (studies Mechanical Engineering at the University of Exeter).
Alejandro Diaz, 22, from Miami, Florida (studies Science in Mechanical Engineering at Florida International University)
Eric LaRoche, 25, from Hamilton Square, New Jersey, (studies Science in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park),
Jason Zide, 21, from Laguna Beach in California (studies Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southern California)
Austin Volk, 22, from Oregon (studies Science in Mechanical Engineering at Oregon State University)
Alaa Ahmed, 23, from Sudan. She studies Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Universiti Tenaga Nasional in Malaysia

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  1. Mansell Mania says:

    First prize to whoever can get the megaphone to work

    1. Kingszito says:

      Hahaha, what a prize!

  2. paul.r says:

    wow great to see red bull doing this, hopefully this may lead to a junior development team for engineers,
    now I can stop telling my 14 year old son that it would be a slim chance for him to work for red bull as a design engineer.

    1. Ace says:

      No dream is too big. No dreamer is too small ;)

      1. Chuck 32 says:

        One of the best comments I have ever read on this site.

      2. Ace says:

        Humble beginnings…. Now aerospace engineer in a world leader in gas turbine engines. That’s why I live by that quote

  3. Gaz Boy says:

    What, no Italian students/universities have made it through to the final 12?
    Doesn’t bode well for the Italian F1 industry from a home-grown prospective, does it? Looks like Luca will have to employ foreign “mercenaries” for some time yet!

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      James, bit off topic, but I’ve just seen the FT saying that Macca is in the black – i.e made a profit! However, I assume this is only for the road car divisions – I don’t know if this includes the F1 operating budget.
      Netherless, at last, at last good news for TAG-McLaren International! The only way is up!
      Now, back to the tricky business of winning on the tracks of the world………

    2. Dimitar Kadrinski says:

      No Germans either, and we all know they are the best in engineering!

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        And pretty good drivers too! Mind you, Mr Vettel has gone a bit off the boil………
        Now, if only the Hulk could get his hands on a competitive car in a competitive team……

  4. Kristiane Cyrus says:

    I think this kind of rules out Newey going elsewhere for the “foreseeable future, as he puts it.

    Good luck to the lucky student. Definitely an honour and chance of a life time to learn from the aero design guru.

    1. I know says:

      It does not. People always take on long-term project, but when the time comes to leave, there will be someone else to take their role. The winners of this programme will not get a contract to work “with Adrian Newey”, but to work at Red Bull.

  5. Vinola says:

    What a great concept. Newey’s story sounds interesting; is there any recommended biography out there on him?

      1. Alan from Toronto, Canada says:

        Hey James…maybe it’s time for you to consider writing one about him ;)

      2. Mick Nicholson says:

        There is a bit on wikipedia

  6. Grant says:

    Wow, what an amazing opportunity!

  7. neilmurg says:

    Adrian was asked to leave school and had to find another way to qualify for university, as he said himself.

    1. Roger says:

      As was my son Neil, luckily he got a craft (later upgraded to technical) apprenticeship, ONC, HNC, then studied for his degree funded by the Aerospace company he worked for. He has since been employed by two of the top F1 outfits . It’s not a dream, it’s engineering .

  8. Rob T says:

    I know RBR come in for a lot of criticism but this is seriously awesome.

    I’m sure that the winer won’t be working closely with Adrain Newey, but even for him to recognise their talent and welcome them into the organisation is something that aspiring F1 engineers the world over would relish.

    Love it when people pay it back.

    Good luck to all the candidates

  9. Dr T says:

    Will the winners get to go with him to Ferrari?

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Give them a chance to learn their craft!
      Knowing Ferrari and their “methodical” ways, a new starter would probably be blamed for the Prancing (Knackered?) Horse’s woes and booted out after just a few months………
      Actually, a few months? More like a few weeks!

  10. bmg says:

    This just fantastic, would like to see more of this from the other teams.

  11. AuraF1 says:

    Okay boys and girls, welcome to Red Bull HQ, if you’d just like to turn to page one in our internal company handbooks and practice the engineering mantra with me, all together now, nice, clear, pronunciation – ‘it’s all Renaults fault…’

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Its the chassis and aero brigade’s brilliance when the Bulls win, and Renault’s fault if they don’t!
      You can imagine one rather naive new employee saying: “I thought it was an equal partnership Mr Marko?”

      1. AuraF1 says:

        If Red Bull was Hogwarts surely Marko would be professor of The Dark Arts? None of these students would want to end up in that class…not alone anyway…too much too bleak too young.

      2. Rockie says:

        Am sure if you go out and get a product and it’s substandard you would complain as well.

  12. S says:

    Brilliant initiative by RBR. They should receive far more credit and less criticism for what they bring to F1.

    1. JB says:

      That’s right!
      I find they took many initiatives in creating development programmes for the drivers and now for the engineers too.
      Christian Horner is able to create a successful championship winning team. He brings in the right people and gives them the right environment for them to work at 100%. Now every other team is copying his style.

      Not sure if you guys remembered, but Red Bull didn’t always had the budget to bring new parts every race. But still, they got good results. I remember they were slow in bringing the double diffuser system but they the got it, it was unbeatable.

  13. Kingszito says:

    Red Bull Company is doing a fantastic job to recognize and promoting young talents in sports generally, not just in F1. Well Done!

  14. bbobeckyj says:

    Hi James. I have two completely off topic requests.
    Are you able to add a ‘comments closed’ caption to relevant articles? I do a ctrl+f search for your name in the comments, to see if you say anything noteworthy.
    Secondly, in one of your podcasts, number 6, 8m minutes in. You had an interview with Frank Williams, in which he discussed non F1, peripheral business that Williams has/had. Your interviewer suggested that it was a distraction or not core, to which he replied that it was essential business for the team. Since then I believe that Williams have sold these, as have some other teams? Is there an article that you could write about the teams’ other businesses and how they have been changing recently?
    Regardless, thanks for your great site.

    1. James Allen says:

      Will look at that thanks

  15. Rockie says:

    Redbull does more for F1 than any other team in the history of this sport, still fans and journalists keep insisting they would pull out.
    Their engineering excellence is second to none.

  16. RobertS says:

    Great prize. A great way to bring the public closer. Can imagine Ferrari entering some of their engineers to take part and work under Newey

  17. Chris says:

    Good luck to all the people that have been recognised from universities all over the world. Well done!
    I note that Newey “dropped out of school with no A levels” .
    Am I wrong but did he not go to an independent ( public) school with Jeremy Clarkson. Therefore he could have just lived off the bank of mum and dad (thank goodness he didn’t). But wouldn’t it be nice if some of these young engineers didn’t have the financial pressures on their shoulders so they could focus on they really love.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Repton School, Derbyshire.

      1. James Allen says:

        Newey was asked to leave after damaging antique stained glass windows by playing music too loud through a PA system at a school rock concert

  18. Jay Swift says:

    Woo! Go Austin Volk! I am a Formula Student team member of Austin. Smart guy. He designed the sidepods and undertray for our 1st place car this year.

  19. Kevin says:

    If Infiniti is sponsoring this does this person fall under the restriction on personnel?

  20. Steve W says:

    Just curious… How much is a “full salary”?

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      And is it in UK £ sterling, AUS $ dollars, Euros, CAN $ dollars, South African Rand or what?
      Plenty of citizens from the Commonwealth nations – Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada – work in the UK Formula 1 industry, including a certain Mr Ricciardo!

  21. Nadeem says:

    Go you Aussies.

  22. Howard P says:

    What a dream placement, whoever gets it will be extremely lucky indeed

  23. Howard P says:

    I also can’t help but notice that of the 3 women shortlisted, none of them are from western nations, and 2 are from China alone. Having had a couple of placements in engineering firms during uni, this seems to be a sad reflection of the way things are i.e. a virtually all male profession over here.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      True enough, but don’t forget women in China don’t get the vote……..or men come to think of it. Remember what happened in China exactly 25 years ago, some square with tanks and protesters I think………
      As for Sudan, well last week a woman who renounced her Islamic faith is potentially facing the death penalty………
      I know us here in the Western world have got our faults and issues, but with two potential female drivers and women in F1 not just as decorative placements but in a capacity working for the F1 teams, you’d have to say women in F1 and western society live in a more progressive and enlightened society than females in China, the Middle East and North Africa.
      Men too – in some hard-line Islamist countries men can be arrested for wearing skinny jeans………well that’s David Coulthard in trouble…………

      1. franed says:

        When I was dong my engineering Diploma there was one girl on the course, she was from Greece. She gave up after two terms and switched to a secretarial course.

        The course was OND Engineering (we covered everything! including lots of steam work) the college was KCFE and the year was about 1964-65 ish.

        The time period is highly significant because the thing that stuck me about this opportunity is that it could be said to be a modern day engineering equivalent of being a physics student in the 60s and having Richard Feynman as your course lecturer.
        Even I could understand his wave/particle lecture which is available on youtube in bits (or as he might say in bullets :-))


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