Engineers have a long-held dream of working for Formula One teams. This is because of the prestige, travel opportunities, team dynamics and the opportunity to be part in one of the most spectacular motorsports spectacles on the planet. But what does F1 engineer earn?
Formula One engineers’ starting salaries can start at around $40 000 per year. However, senior engineers working for Formula One teams as well as FIA-appointed engineering can make hundreds of thousands of dollars. Mercedes, a champion team, advertises a median annual salary of $80,000.
Although the salaries for Formula One engineers are decent, they are not as high as those for engineers in similarly prestigious organizations and companies. However, the primary selling point of Formula One is the lifestyle and benefits that come with working for the team.
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How much do Formula One Engineers earn?
The different salaries earned by different Formula One engineers are relative to one’s experience, qualifications, position held, the team one works for, and the sector in which they work (race engineer, software engineer, mechanical engineer, etc.).
In general, the median salaries of engineers in 2018 were as follows:
- Graduate engineers: $30 000-40 000 per year plus benefits
- Associate/junior engineers: $40000 to $85 000 per year plus benefits
- Senior engineers: $85 000- $150 000 per year plus benefits
- Chief engineers: Amounts up to $250 000 per year plus benefits
The following are some examples of bonuses:
- The costs of travel and accommodation to each location in a calendar-year are listed below.
- Merchandise/ticket price discounts,
- Performance bonuses for team members (such race wins, fastest laps or championships wins).),
While salaries for Formula One engineers are good, they are considered comparatively low when comparing the salaries offered by similar industries, such as “big tech” software, aeronautical companies, or commercial car companies.
The high demand for entry Formula One engineers, as well as the high turnover rate due to the intense career and long periods of travel in a year are some of the reasons why salaries are so low.
Why would you choose to become a Formula One engineer?
While the salaries of Formula One engineer may not be as high as the industry standard, it is the lifestyle that should drive the decision to become an engineer.
Formula One engineers play a key role in the success and development of Formula One teams. They are also key players like the drivers, team principals and brand managers.
Formula One engineers directly oversee the performance of Formula One’s vehicles, safety at races, innovation Formula One brings to motorsports, commercial vehicles and the strategies that must be implemented on race day.
Formula One engineers, on the other hand, are not purely commercial or solitary and are therefore passionate about Formula One.
Another benefit of Formula One engineering is the ability to travel and meet principals and drivers, as well as being at the forefront in motor vehicle innovation, both for commercial and sport vehicles.
This innovation is wide-ranging, which allows many engineers to find their niche within a Formula One team.
These different sectors all work together with the FIA and other teams to produce vehicles that maximize safety, performance, usability, and add tracks and regulations to produce a spectacle.
Aside from the prestige that comes with being a Formula One engineer, engineers can also move into other companies if they wish to work on a shorter-term contract. They may also be able to consider more lucrative jobs after their completion.
Formula One is also a billion dollar industry. This means that engineers who are interested in business-minded careers have many options.
Formula One engineers must be patient, persistent, hardworking, patient and ready to travel.
This is because Formula One is noted as being a highly stressful work environment that requires a large amount of traveling that often intervenes with one’s personal life.
How can you become a Formula One Engineer?
Unlike the structure of most other companies, professions, or industries, simply having an engineering degree and working for Formula One does not automatically make you a “Formula One Engineer.”
It is not uncommon for multiple positions within a team or the FIA, such as pit crew members, safety crew members, FIA officials and even media personalities, to hold engineering degrees.
Most Formula One engineers start their careers with exceptional grades in high school. This is where STEM subjects such as Maths, IT Design, Physics, Chemistry, and Chemistry are crucial.
After graduating from high school, students can either pursue engineering studies at a University/College, or an apprenticeship in engineering. However, it is not easy to get the latter without having some engineering connections.
Due to the competitive nature and specialized nature of Formula One, students are usually expected to couple their engineering degree with a specialized master’s degree in fields such as aeronautics, mechatronics, programming, design, etc.
Experience is more important than formal qualifications. You may be able to join a Formula Student Team (which is almost exclusive to Ivy League colleges such as Cambridge), or provide services at races events for free.
Even though racing events do not have to be Formula One-related, it is advisable that you participate in racing that follows Formula One rules set out by FIA. These races are often used as training grounds for Formula One employees (e.g. Formula Karting, Formula E or Formula Two).
While not the most financially rewarding position for engineers in Formula One, it is an amazing opportunity to travel and network with other engineers.