F1 Technical Director


If there is one application of Automotive Technology, that would have to be in the formula one racing, the premier auto racing league in the planet. Normally, an F1 team would be composed of a team manager, the drivers, the technical support staff and the pit crew. However, the personnel normally seen on TV are usually just the race day crew which would number to around 40 to 60 including the drivers and manager.
What people don’t usually know is that there are automotive engineers working behind the scenes to improve the performance of the car come the next race day or the next season. The big budgeted teams like Renault-F1 employ around 260 total personnel. Majority of the personnel of an F1 team like Renault-F1 would likely be under the development team and would be reporting under the Technical Director since the pit crew would number to only just about 40.

The Technical Director of a formula one team would be in-charge of all aspects of the car that has anything to do with performance and integrity of the cars. The appearance of an F1 car would be credited as per to the advise of a Technical Director. How much the car should weigh, the power output the engines should rev up, the protrusions (spoilers, side skirts, front and rear wings) and everything else about the car except the sponsor logos and the paint. Reviewing of technological developments is among the duties of a Technical Director. Like in the ongoing 2009 season, the technology of KERS (kinetic energy recovery system) is being reviewed if indeed they are added value to a car’s performance. Currently, not all teams are using KERS since some drivers are winning races even without KERS installed on them. During race day, the Technical Director would be the man to ask questions to if the drivers has special concerns like, for example, 3rd gear is not working and the driver is just 5 laps away from finishing the race, the Technical Director would give advice if the car can possibly finish the race and still earn points or if it is better to let the car retire for the day.

Needless to say how important Technical Directors are especially now that even small details matter. This season, surprisingly, the McLarens and Ferraris, who are perennial favorites, are among the bottom dwellers whereas last year they were battling tooth and nail for the coveted championship title because Team Brawn GP and Team Red Bull made significant changes on their diffusers and are now leading in the race standings. After the first set of races proving that the diffusers are the ones making wonders for the current top teams, it did not take long before other teams copied or adjusted their diffuser settings and somehow are now keeping at pace with the current leaders.

To become a Technical Director for an F1 team, it is for sure a difficult path as there are only a number of F1 teams around. However, those passionate about cars and technology can start realizing their dreams of being an F1 Technical Director by first enrolling in courses related to it like automotive technology or mechanical engineering. As they say, a journey starts with a single step