Liliana Lauko, a former Engineering Student, had the opportunity to spend her placement year in the design department of the Renault Formula One team. This involved her working as a Design Engineer Intern where she helped with the design process for internationally driven circuit cars.
Liliana was keen to gain hands-on knowledge and experience, and was given the opportunity to design some of her own parts for the race cars to improve their performance. We met with Liliana to discuss her placement year in detail and discover what it’s like to work in a Formula One Team.
What was a typical day like working with the Renault Formula One team?
I would be at work for 8.30am and start with my assignments. I had to learn how to prioritise my tasks and gauge whether I needed to come in early or stay late to fulfil my work order. At Renault Sport Racing, the interns are given real work to do – normally I worked ‘hands on’ with the RS17 car. I can’t express the feeling I had seeing it being driven around the circuits of the world; it was breath-taking.
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Every single day that I spent there was a highlight. The best thing was stepping in through the work doors in the morning, walking through the factory and seeing so many familiar people all smiling saying ‘Hi’; it felt very homely. I loved all the tasks I was given, and I felt trusted, encouraged and very motivated to play my part. I was amazed by the people I worked with every single day – how smart, creative and impressive they all were. I also got to know the team who travel with the cars and honestly, all of it would be impossible without them. I did not realise when I used to watch races on TV before my placement how important the travel team are and how skilled they are to change tyres in two seconds. I also enjoyed having casual chats with the Formula 1 drivers or seeing Nikki Lauda or Alain Prost walking around – all of it was just incredible.
Are you glad you did a placement year and would you recommend it to other students?
It is very simple especially in the racing industry. If you have a graduate who is top of their class with the best grades, very smart, but never worked a day, and another with average scores and grades but has undertaken internships and placements in racing, the second candidate will be hired. I believe it is like this not just in racing but in many other fields too. My placement is the best thing that could have happened to me.