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Renault offers young engineers a chance to get ahead
Renault offers young engineers a chance to get ahead
Posted By: James Allen  |  22 Mar 2010   |  1:25 pm GMT  |  39 comments

We receive many messages asking, “How do I get a job in F1?” Renault has announced that it is expanding its intern programme, known as the Altran Engineering Academy, for this year and is offering a placement at the engine department at Viry as well as the team’s chassis HQ in Enstone.

Renault is keen to encourage young engineers to come into F1 and three graduates of the programme have gone on to full time jobs with the team, one is still working there today. Last year’s winner was Helen Makey (pictured)

Renault’s managing director Bob Bell says that ideas from the interns are often adopted, such as a new system for designing oil tanks which one intern developed and which is now the team’s standard procedure,

“We had a problem several years ago on designing oil tanks so they can cope with the demands of corners like Eau Rouge, in Spa, where it’s very easy to get a drop out in oil pressure, “ says Bell. “We had a system in the laboratory trying to replicate those conditions and one of the young engineers came in and did a very capable job in proposing a new way of doing it using a robot arm, that is the system we now use routinely.”

This is the seventh year of the Altran programme, which typically attracts around 1,000 entries a year and the winner gets to spend six months in the R& D department at Enstone, working with head of R&D Robin Tuluie.

Entries open today and close on May 28th. Applicants must be last-year students or recent graduates of a university or prestigious school specializing in science or technology. To enter the competition, candidates must submit a project, describing in 500 words a technological innovation in one of the following eight Formula 1 areas: aerodynamics, control systems and electronics, design and analysis, performance engineering, power-train energy recovery, R&D of materials, transducers and test technology , vehicle dynamics. The winner will be selected from a field of eleven finalists from around the world who will present their projects this summer to a jury of experts chaired by Tuluie.

11 finalists will be chosen on 14 June and the winner will be announced on 13 July. He or she will join the team for a six-month placement that could open the door to a long career in F1. Included in the package is a salary of €6,500, a Renault pool vehicle with a business fuel card and accommodation. They also get a watch from Renault’s sponsor TW Steel.

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This is great for these guys – it’ s EXTREMELY hard to get into formula 1, so this move is very interesting. Hope the team benefits as well. Wonder if the other teams will follow?


it’s more than three or four tenths, which if Jenson is accurate suggests the rest of MS’s lap/race craft was a monster time compared to Nico’s.


Hmm I think this is overhyped. I am currently doing a placement year with a different F1 team. Its for twice as long, pays more and I haven’t even graduated yet!

I think all the teams run a similar scheme, but I think they like to keep it quiet to stop thousands of people applying.


In this century,motorsport will see enormous growth,owing to it’s purity of competition, is so bloody easy to understand.The motors will undergo radical change before too long,but that is for another day.

I have camped out at a dozen NASCAR races here in Texas.They run a “B” series on the Saturday.It is exciting to go to sleep after watching a thrilling race,knowing that it was nothing compared to the “big boys” that will race the following day.

It is possible that Formula One might pick up on this at some point.Maybe F3 Friday,GP2 Saturday(or touring cars, moto whatever combo),then the main event.The one we are really there to see.Interchangable drivers even?NASCAR has made this work for decades.

Cost cutting will make this possible.But more than anything,new young engineering talent will be needed to populate these teams as European style road racing grows.It will see this expansion because it is a great product.

Just a thought.


Hi James

Recently seen on autosport an article about

the fan survey we did in febuary, will you be doing a report about the results found and how they will be used to shape the sport??



Talking about Renault … what do you think really happened w/ Vettel’s car in Bahrein ? Ron Dennis has come out saying he suspects a fuel-consumption problem was really the cause, either the tank is too small or the Renault engine burns more gasoline than initially thought. So at some point during the race the software detected that there might not be enough gas in the tank to finish the race and automatically reprogrammed the engine to fuel-saving mode. Then later on, once the software detected that there was enough fuel saved, it restored normal mode. Any thoughts on this whole thing ?


But Vettel’s engine sounded like it wasn’t firing on all eight cylinders, which would be consistent with a spark plug failure. If Red Bull needed to save fuel a more effective way of doing it would be to have limited the RPM.

If Vettel’s fuel consumption was so drastically high that an emergency system kicked in, why didn’t this show up in testing (when cars ran until the fuel tank ran dry) or on Webber’s car in Bahrain?


Open the pod bay doors please, Hal.

Damn computers.


I noticed engine development isn’t an ‘area’ in F1, what a world, what a world.

Zami from Melbourne, Australia

When are you gonna be in Melbourne James?


Unfortunately the applications are not open to the Australian region due to there not being sufficient education or formula 1 culture.

Probably don’t bother turning up this weekend Renault.

Sterling Mindenhall

James — For lack of a better way to contact you:

I’ve noticed you’ve stopped putting the full stories in you RSS feed. Please reconsider, as what’s bad for the readers is, ultimately, bad for you:

As someone who reads their RSS feeds on the go, I only subscribe to blogs which offer the full story in the feed, so obviously I have some self-interest in this suggestion. But I also have a non-trivial amount of experience in online business consulting, and were you a client of mine, I’d make the same recommendation. It’s a very ‘old guard’ strategy and doesn’t fit the way the world now works.

And please feel free to throw this comment in the bin, so as not to clutter the comments.



If only I was 15 years younger, this is the type of thing I’d love to have gotten into.

Good luck to anyone who applies!


Hi James,

A bit unrelated – can you please enlighten us a bit if possible on Renault being allowed to make tweaks to their engine by the FIA as well as the reports regarding ELF bringing updated fuel and lubricants for the Renault engines from Barcelona onwards which are estimated to give the engine a 10hp boost?


It’s Total, not Elf. All the fuel companies are working on developments, but the fuels have to fit a fingerprint which matches with what they do at the start of the year. 10hp sounds a lot in one step. Renault have been allowed to make some changes on reliability grounds, but the Autosport story was a little wide of the mark, I’m told by team sources


Thanks for clarifying James!


Disclaimer: This scheme is run by a global engineering company called Altran; I’m an Altran engineer.

Through work I’ve met several of the previous participants. All have been interesting, driven, passionate, individuals. Some decided that motorsport wasn’t for them, others have gone on to jobs in the industry.

Overall the scheme has worked well, which is why it’s being expanded this year.

And no, I can’t get your application jumped to the top 😉



Hi Neil

Dont know if you could answer this, but whats the scope/demand for Software developers in F1.



Good on Renault for running an internship programme. But I’m pretty sure all F1 teams run Graduate scheme. The salary is pretty poor compared to any other job, and I was working with an F1 engine manufacturer last year on placement that paid much better than that. Their graduates are on a much better salary.

It seems you have to jump through a lot of hoops for this internship, but I guess it should be worth it.

I just thought it’s a little bit misleading to make it seem that only Renault do this kind of scheme.


Good on Renault for doing this and good luck to the entrants.

An excellent scheme and one that’s realistic for entrants in that accommodation, a car and a small salary is included.


Thanks Mr. Allen for sharing. This is what makes your blog special and a cut above rest of f1 related web sites. Keep up the good work.


Good insight, thanks. There’s a very interesting article on Joe Saward’s bog today, and a similar reference in Mike Lawrence’s feature on (not a huge fan of PP, but Dr Lawrence is a personal acquaintance and a very learned, interesting individual) about Joan Villadelprat’s Epsilon Euskadi team setup, which is slightly relevant to this post in that it too has an academy / training programme.

Anyway, I was amazed, I’d no idea their facilities were so advanced and so clearly capable of handling an F1 venture. Equally Mike Lawrence’s article alludes to vagaries in how the FIA might have regarded their TWO agreed engine supply deals with both Ferrari & Renault in relation to Cosworth…

Any chance of some insight, perhaps in an article, on that? Of course I imagine your position in F1 is only tenable as far as you don’t make major waves in exposing FIA irregularities, and you have to strike a balance… but the whole thing of why / how USF1 and not EE was selected seems VERY odd…


Sounds like a great prize! It’d be a blast!

Does not sound like its been too successful as a program, though. If you look at it – regardless of Renault’s poor showing of late – they have one ‘survivor’ employed out of 3 ‘winners’ after 7 years of the program. And can only point to one idea they’ve adopted.

So unless you can count its PR value…


One in seven winners being employed in f1 sounds like a great success rate to me.

If this is an intern position then it would be unrealistic to expect all if them to a) make the grade in f1 straight away b) still be with the team if they really were good.

Not being critical of your post, f1 is just a very tough nut to crack I guess.


I don’t think the stats are that bad, in terms of employees that they have got out of it, not from a 6-month scheme involving people who aren’t necessarily even fully out their degrees.

The two other people who had a full time job, well maybe they moved to other F1 teams.

And to be fair, it’s not overly realistic to expect to jump straight into an F1 job.

That’s what lower formulae are for in a lot of cases 🙂


I saw a documentary about this showing the finalists presenting their ideas to a panel. Most of the finalists had some nice ideas. Renault are clearly looking for people with some technical nous.

What about all of us “older” people who are not recent graduates. How do we get into F1!

James, for those of us travelling to Melbourne for this coming grand prix, will you be holding a meet and greet with the public so we can meet you?


Question: “What about all of us “older” people who are not recent graduates. How do we get into F1!”

Answer: We buy a team!

Zami from Melbourne, Australia

Good on Renault. I hope more and more teams, especially well established teams will take the same or similar actions to recruit young talents. Maybe offering scholarship to talented engineering students will be another good step towards this kind of projects. I’m one of those people who grew up dreaming about being an electronic or an aerospace engineer. Unfortunately my good results in college & public schools had very little effect on the affordability of studying & providing my own living. It’s not only the fees but also the resources needed are not affordable for many talented students around the world. Anyway, it’s a great program that Renault is making happen. Maybe my child (ren) will (if I ever have one/two) benefit from programs like this.


I have always been impressed with the way Renault conducted “No frills” F1 program, unlike other constructors. Now this engineering internship program is another reason why RenaultF1 will go another notch up in my book.

F1 otherwise has given impression to outsiders, that it is a very very closed community with lots of elitism (read snobbishness) when it comes to dealing with Fans, and non European teams/drivers.

The only question rather hope is that How long will Renault continue their association with F1? Or will they do a “BMW” 😕

Stephen Hopkinson


As you say, many messages asking how to get a job in F1. This article is handy for those hoping to approach the sport as engineers, but what about those of us who wish to join the sport on the media/journalistic side of affairs? I’m a soon-to-be English graduate with a huge interest in entering the world of Formula 1 journalism, but with little idea of how to do so. I’ve sent out speculative CVs to teams enquiring about the possibility of helping out with press duties, and after graduation I’ll be attempting to get experience tagging along with a team in a lower formula (I’m lucky enough to be based in the heart of British motorsport). But this is all guesswork on my part, and I have no idea whether it could lead to any success.

Any advice you could provide would be gratefully received.



Along the same line as Stephen, any pointers for young enthusiasts with experience in corporate finance and business affairs?


James, can you shed any light on the Chinese motor racing academy that was announced with much fanfaring at the China gp 2006?

It was intended to produce engineers and drivers aplenty and the future once was going to be Chinese…..


Great move by Renault. They’re one of the great historic protagonists in F1 and it’s good to see they’re keeping themselves part of it’s future too, despite fears to the contrary last year.

James, totally unrelated question but there’s nowhere else relevant to post it;

I’ve read a few reports from Jenson this week where he mentions how poor Schumacher was on the brakes at Bahrain (he claimed to catch up 8 car lengths under braking).

Was this a previous weak area of Michael’s (hard to imagine!), or has something changed in brake technology since his last drive?

And… here’s the big question for anyone with a stopwatch, assuming he can get up to speed on the brakes fairly soon, exactly how much lap time can he gain? I’m guessing it’s more than three or four tenths, which if Jenson is accurate suggests the rest of MS’s lap/race craft was a monster time compared to Nico’s.


I think, with respect, you’ve taken it slightly out of context…

JB doesn’t actually say that he caught up 8 car lengths… more that, he was that far behind MS and then would close in on him (the actual distance, he caught up, was not mentioned).

But if you can stand to watch the Bahrain GP again, you’ll see that JB does close in on MS on the start\finish straight on almost every lap… I can only put this down to the f-slot, swallow-hole “device” making the McLaren’s faster on the straights thus allowing him to close in a little.

You may find that MS and all the drivers were braking a little easier\earlier, due to the fuel-load and not wishing to trash a set of tyres. The way things are, with everyone one-stopping at virtually the same time, is that if you spoil your tyres you will drop a long way back in the queue.

Zami from Melbourne, Australia

Any chance you can post the links to those reports Martin. It really does sound very odd, but would be interesting to read the stories. I have just watched Schumacher’s braking at Bahrain through several corners again. In naked eyes it looks very normal according to the race format. But links would be great mate.


Stephen’s posted the quote I read in a couple of places above. I don’t have the links I’m afraid, I got to them via tweets and can’t find them again. I’m going to scour the BBC post-race footage now though, I’m convinced Jenson mentioned it in passing then, but I was half asleep after the race! (And rather you than me watching the footage again bud!!!).


Not seen that. Doesn’t sound right to me.

Stephen Hopkinson

Here’s the quote Martin’s talking about:

Jenson Button: “I caught up with Michael and then sat behind him for the rest of the race. I couldn’t get any closer. You lose downforce, you lose front and rear grip. You don’t have traction, so you can’t exit a corner quickly. Michael was very weak on braking. I’d be eight car lengths behind and catch up on him but there was no way I could go past. It’s not like the old days. You could follow cars then, you could slide up the inside, you could race. It’s very different now.”


Thank you! I’ve been searching for it all afternoon to no avail – I’d clicked on a couple of links from “JA on tweets” but they were long gone when I went back to find them again.

My memory might be playing tricks here, but I can picture him saying something similar in the post-race round-up on the BBC too.

But thanks for posting the quote.

Of course, Nico could be in the same position and it’s a car “problem”/feature that wasn’t as noticeable on his car as he wasn’t being followed as closely. But if there is substance in it and it’s just Michael, it suggests he has one hell of a pace up his sleeve once he’s mastered braking again.

James, any snippets you can get from either McLaren or Mercedes on this would as always be fascinating to know.

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