Infiniti reveals Performance Engineering Academy winners…
After four months of intensive research, gruelling interviews, daunting practical tests and plain hard work, Infiniti's Performance Engineering Academy today reached it conclusion as three young engineering students were presented with the opportunity of a lifetime – a 12-month work placement with Infiniti Red Bull Racing.
Launched by Daniel Ricciardo in Melbourne just ahead of this year's Australian Grand Prix, the Infiniti Engineering Performance Academy saw engineering students from a dozen countries invited to send in their CVs, along with a 500-word entry essay, explaining just why they want a career at the pinnacle of motorsport.
The response was overwhelming, with more than 1,500 applications received. In an exhaustive process, those were whittled down to a shortlist of a dozen finalists, who were then invited to attend to attend a three-day shootout event in the UK before this weekend's British Grand Prix.
Taking place at Infiniti's European Technical Center at Cranfield and at our home base in Milton Keynes, the high-pressure shootout saw the finalists, who hailed from the US, China, Australia, Britain, Malaysia and Sudan, face a series of intensive interviews, practical tests and technical challenges, all of which were closely assessed by leading technical figures from Infiniti and Infiniti Red Bull Racing.
The results of those assessments are now in and the lucky three who'll soon begin work in key technical roles with us here in Milton Keynes are Eric LaRoche (aged 25 from New Jersey, USA), Jason Zide (21, from California, USA) and William Priest (23, and from Exeter, UK).
Speaking after being selected, Eric said: "This process has been overwhelming, exciting, nerve-wracking and humbling. The other 11 candidates were extremely strong so it's an honor to have made the final three. Hopefully I'll be able to build on this experience when I take on the huge challenge of working in Formula One, and I look forward to being pushed, to learning more and hopefully having some fun along the way."
Andreas Sigl, Global Formula One Director for Infiniti has been overseeing the project from the very beginning: "Eric, William and Jason impressed us all throughout the process, especially given the stiff competition they had from the other candidates. They demonstrated not just a natural aptitude for engineering and an excellent work ethic, but also a real understanding of the benefits Formula One can bring a road car company like Infiniti and the potential for even great technical crossover in the future. We're delighted to have given them the opportunity to realize their dream and will be working closely with them as they settle into their new role."
And welcoming a new batch of talent into the Technical Office is Chief Technical Officer, Adrian Newey. He said of the process: "From the very start of the process the standard has been extremely high. Selecting the final twelve candidates was, in itself, very tough but taking that from twelve to three was even harder given the level of knowledge and application that these young engineers have shown. They all performed tremendously throughout the three day tests and we are very satisfied with the results. I believe they will settle into the team very quickly and I will be very surprised if they are not contributing to the performance of the car by the end of their twelve months here."
The unique placement will not only see each winner work within the team but they'll also work closely with Infiniti's road car engineers. They'll also receive free accommodation in the UK, a full salary their own Infiniti company car plus behind the scenes access to this weekend's British Grand Prix.
It's been an intense, fascinating and exciting process but now we've added three ambitious, driven new engineers to our technical staff, and who knows, thanks to Infiniti we might just have discovered a future Adrian Newey.