As a fanatical motorsport fan, I was ecstatic when I managed to secure a 10 week internship with Williams Martini Racing, a prestigious Formula 1 team based in Grove (a small village about 15 miles south-west of Oxford). Here was a perfect opportunity to put the skills which I had gained over the first two years of my physics degree at Oxford to use in an industry in which I was keen to get involved.
My immediate supervisor was a strategy engineer and although I had very little idea beforehand of what I was going to do, it was not long before I was thrown into the deep end! I was tasked with writing a new piece of software which would help the engineers run the car more efficiently on track than they do presently.
This was not a small project—in fact, I was told that it would take a couple of experienced programmers 6 months to do properly! Hence, in the 10 weeks that I had, they were expecting me to have developed at least a solid foundation but having never written any software on this scale before, I was quite apprehensive to begin with. Nevertheless, after a few "false starts", I managed to put something together that replicated their current system with a few extra features. However, it was by no means a finished product and I had to ensure that my code was well-written so that it would be simple for other software developers to pick up.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Williams Martini Racing, due in no small part to the friendly and welcoming atmosphere of the entire team. I was extremely fortunate to meet both of Williams’ race drivers, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, as well as the team principle and founder, Sir Frank Williams. At the end of my summer placement, I was even lucky enough to drive their simulator and although I had an incredible time attempting to drive an F1 car, I am quite certain that they will not be asking me back as a race driver anytime soon! But as an engineer... who knows?