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Aussie students on verge of F1 engineering jobs

Proving ground: Two Monash engineering students who have played an integral role in the university’s winning Formula SAE team are now on their way to the UK, in a bid to become Infiniti Red Bull Racing F1 team members.

Monash students reach world finals of Infiniti Red Bull F1 engineering competition

12 Jun 2014

TWO Australian engineering students from Monash University in Melbourne have reached the world finals of the Infiniti Performance Engineering Academy and are one step away from winning a 12-month work placement with the Infiniti Red Bull Racing F1 team.

Christien Blencowe, 25, and Andrew Trathen, 22, are among 12 finalists selected from a field of 1500 engineering students from more than 100 universities in the competition, which aims to uncover the world’s brightest engineering talent and will hand three winners a 12-month engineering job with the F1 team, complete with accommodation in the UK, Infiniti company car and salary.

The pair now goes on to a three-day “shootout event” in the UK at Infiniti’s European technical centre in Cranfield and at Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s factory in Milton Keynes.

According to the company, the finalists will face a series of “intensive interviews, practical tests and technical challenges, closely assessed by leading technical figures from Infiniti and Infiniti Red Bull Racing”.

As well as the two Aussies, the finalists include four students from the US, three from China and one each from the UK, Malaysia and Sudan.

The winners will be announced by Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s chief technical officer Adrian Newey on July 3.

“The Infiniti Performance Engineering Academy is an exciting initiative for young engineering students to become inspired and realise their dream of working in the pinnacle of motorsport, Formula One,” Mr Newey said.

“Judging by the applications submitted, it is great to see so much passion and enthusiasm from our engineers of the future.” Infiniti F1 global director Andreas Sigl described the quality of applications this year as “very impressive” and said it was “very encouraging to see such interest from so many young engineers from around the world”.

The two Australian finalists have both been involved in Monash University’s dominant Formula SAE team, with Mr Trathen working as chief engineer last year and Mr Blencowe involved in the aerodynamics and powertrain department of the team.

Monash University has won the past five Formula SAE championships, and last year’s winning car introduced a Formula One-style drag reduction system that operated on both the front and rear wings.

To be eligible for the Infiniti Performance Engineering Academy, applicants must be studying an engineering or relevant science undergraduate degree in one of 11 Infiniti ‘focus markets’, which for 2014 were deemed to be: Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Russia, the UAE, Germany, the UK, the US and Mexico.

To get to the final, the candidates progressed through a number of steps including submitting their CV, writing a 500w essay (this year’s question was ‘what future technology should Formula One be incorporating to keep road-relevant?’) and undertaking a telephone interview.

Shortlisted candidates then had their essays presented to Infiniti Red Bull Racing engineers, who selected 12 to go through to next month’s UK final.

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