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I love motorsport

once the F1 Grand Prix is over I get to return to the very same race-track

So much so, that my friends and I started an annual tradition at university in camping at Silverstone every year for the F1 British Grand Prix (we’re ten years in and still going strong). Once I’d left university and started working for Shell, we also got the benefit of the Shell F1 Fuels team giving us a quick tour of theirs and Ferrari’s facilities which, being engineers, we lapped up of course.

We’d watch and listen intently as the Ferrari engineers and technicians would be working on their prototypes and talking to the drivers about their race craft. We’d get chatting to the team on occasion, and it was surprising how many of them would say “well it all started for me when I took part in Formula Student”.

The first week in July is always great fun for me as once the F1 Grand Prix is over I get to return to the very same race-track in the same week to see the F1 engineers of the future do their thing at Formula Student.

It’s just a delight to wander down the pit garages and see all the various universities from literally all over the world working feverishly on their single-seaters with the absorbing passion only an engineer can empathise with (in fact, one sees the exact same look in the team members’ eyes as  the Ferrari engineers  the weekend before).

I get to visit and talk to each and every team, and have  definitely seen trends in what makes a high-performing team, and I’m often asked if I have any advice for the guys. For me, it’s crystal clear which teams have been planning meticulously as they calmly and rationally deliver each test while some of the opponents struggle to keep pace with the week’s demands.

Most of all I enjoy just hanging out and chatting to the teams about their cars and their careers. We also talk about Shell and our involvement in Formula 1 with Scuderia Ferrari and with MotoGP and Ducati (we supply race fuel to both of those teams and we also supply the fuel at Formula Student). With graduation looming a lot of the students are also curious to learn more about their career options, and we have a great exchange on what they would like to do and what we do every day at Shell.

By Jamal Traveller

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