How does a Formula 1 team recruit new staff?

Recruitment in Formula 1 is always difficult, and even the best of the best can struggle to find the right people in a crowded marketplace as teams fight over the best talent.

We asked Renault Sport F1 team boss Cyril Abiteboul about his team’s recent recruitment drive, and how it’s crucial to get the right people to improve his Formula 1 car as the team pushes forward towards the front of the grid…

Q: What's the main effort right now in terms of improving your F1 car?

“Downforce, which is very much resource-driven. You have to have the right equipment, the right windtunnel, and the right people. We have good people, but we need the right people in quantity.

“We have massively recruited new people, very aggressive people – actually a lot coming from Red Bull Racing – and we have upgraded our windtunnel, and next year our CFD cluster, so it’s all about the facilities, and we’ll be at the level of the best teams by next year in terms of facility and number of people. Then it will be a case of making sure that works together.”

Q: How many have you recruited recently?

“In total, the team was 475 and is now 645 and it will be 700 at the end of next year. And a group like aerodynamics, that is the fastest-growing group of people, because when we bought the team it was a bit less than 60 and it’s now 120 people. 

“So we’ve doubled the size of our aerodynamic department.”

Q: Is it hard to recruit in general?

“It is. If you want to recruit junior people, it’s not too difficult. Those guys are available, they are very good from schools, and we have a programme with INFINITI to develop engineers in an academy, which is a fantastic way to search and scout for talent on a global basis.

“The problem is that they don’t have the experience, so we’re a bit behind. For example, the reliability issues that we have this year on our car, a lot of that is due to the fact that we have very young designers in the design office. They don’t necessarily know the tolerances and load cases, and they don’t have this type of experience, so we are suffering.

“What’s more difficult is when we want to recruit senior aerodynamics people, such as head of aero, that is difficult because of the contractual situation. The UK is very favourable to protect employees for the benefit of the employer, but that is giving us a bit of a hard time. We know it, so we simply have to deal with it.”

Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 in the garage
Renault Sport F1 Team RS17 in the garage

Photo by: Sutton Images

Where Motorsport Jobs can help…

Autosport and Motorsport Jobs work with F1 teams to help guide qualified candidates to fill their vacant positions. The trick is to promote on expert platforms that potential employees will be viewing, such as Autosport.com and Motorsport.com.

The ever-increasing number of extremely qualified applicants joining Motorsport Jobs shows that the right candidates are out there, the trick is being in the right place at the right time when opportunities such as Renault’s recent expansion comes calling. 

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Series Formula 1
Article type Special feature