Farooq Rauf

Farooq Rauf

I definitely would not have been at Red Bull if it wasn’t for The School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and I believe the industrial experience was ideal preparation, not only for working life but also the final year of the course.

Course: Mechatronic Engineering with Industrial Experiance (4 Years) [BEng]

Course dates: 2002-2006

Current occupation: Engineer, Red Bull Racing

 

I have been at the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 Team for over four years since graduating from The University of Manchester. I was lucky enough to have formed a good relationship with many of the people at the company after the year I spent there as part of my industrial experience placement, which was arranged with the assistance of the School's Industrial Liaison Officer.

I very much enjoyed my time at university within the School. So much so, that I intended on staying and studying for a PhD. Whilst I was studying for my final examinations, I was contacted by Red Bull, as they had a position opening that they thought I would be suitable for. I was all set to start my PhD and was therefore quite apprehensive about even entertaining the idea of returning to Red Bull. I went for an interview on a Wednesday, was told I had the job on the Friday and asked to literally start on the following Monday, where I would be flying straight to a test in Italy! After much consideration I decided to go for it, knowing I could return to education if it wasn’t right for me and I haven’t looked back since!

I am employed as an Electronic Systems Engineer for the team and travel to all the races and tests. I am completely responsible for the on-car electronics systems. This entails liaising with the other engineers about the specific build requirements of the car and if there is anything in particular they would like to monitor. I then ensure that suitable instrumentation or sensors are fitted to the car, that they are setup electronically and appropriate data is logged. When the car is running on circuit, it’s my job to monitor the car’s telemetry and inform the race engineer about any issues or failures that are detected. Ensuring the health of all the various systems on the car is my responsibility, be it hydraulics, gearbox, fuel system, brakes or any of the other systems. We have over 100 sensors fitted to the car to monitor these systems. If I spot an impending, critical failure I need to ensure the correct action is taken to prevent as much damage taking place as possible.

During the season I travel to all the races where I work on Mark Webber’s car. I have been on Mark’s car since he joined Red Bull Racing. Once a season has finished we have to prepare for the following year, which involves updating all our software and interfaces to cater for the changes of the new car. We have meetings regarding the design of the car to ensure we improve on as many aspects as possible. Finally, we perform as much systems and integration testing as we can before the car is built for the first time. Normally when this process has all been completed it’s February and we go winter testing for a month. This is the time when we learn the most about the car, as there are invariably lots of teething problems. We spend a vast amount of time ensuring we correct these before the first race. Once the season begins we have to keep on top of all the various developments on the car. As testament to the rate of development, for the past two seasons the car configuration in the last race has been completely different to the first race!

It’s very hard work at a Formula 1 team and your life has to revolve around the job. I have lost count of the days when I have worked on less than two hours sleep! However, it’s very rewarding, as we are now World Champions!

I definitely would not have been at Red Bull if it wasn’t for The School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and I believe the industrial experience was ideal preparation, not only for working life but also the final year of the course.

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