Raghav Saxena, final-year B.E. mechanical engineering, Thapar University, Patiala, won the F1 Challenge conducted by Randstad. He got an opportunity to intern for two weeks with the Formula One team in the U.K.

What was your internship about?

The Internship offered by Randstad, the official partner of Williams F1, involved a two-week-long, all-expenses-paid trip to the Williams F1 Factory in Oxfordshire, in the U.K. It was a unique opportunity to interact with racing professionals and be part of the making of the racing car.

How were you selected for the internship?

I applied for the Randstad F1 Internship Challenge through an advertisement that was hosted on Randstad India’s Facebook page. In the first round of the contest, we were required to complete a timed online assessment quiz based on general aptitude and Formula One trivia. The second round consisted of a telephonic assessment after which the number of participants was reduced to five. We then received a situational case study. This was done through an interactive Skype session with the Randstad India team where we were evaluated on the basis of our interpretation of the situation and the final solution proposal. We then had to submit a video resume, which was sent to Williams, and I was finally selected as the winner.

What did you get to do during these two weeks?

I got the opportunity to work in four major parts of the Williams facility, which was a dream come true for me!

The first day was spent with Valtteri Bottas, race driver for the Williams F1 team, and his race engineers down in the race simulator where he was preparing for the race in Austin. The next few days were spent in Williams’ composites department where I was asked to make a small-sized carbon fibre memento, with a mini crash helmet and a plinth. This was my first time working with the carbon fibre but I felt at ease as the gentlemen down there were really helpful.

The next three days were spent between the model shop and wind tunnel, where a model car was prepared for the wind tunnel. That was a rather amazing experience, watching the 2014 car being developed, as well as watching the wind tunnel in action. Here too, I was asked to make a model crash helmet (with resin this time), and this was then painted and mounted. What’s more, I even got to take both helmets back home with me as souvenirs!

The last two days were spent with the support team in the race bay where we worked on Pastor Maldonado’s 2012 race winning car, disassembling and cleaning it, before it was due to be sent to the paint shop on its way to the museum. I also helped put together the 2013 car, before it was sent for some tests.

What was it like, interacting with people at different levels from Formula One?

This internship has really taught me a lot and got me in touch with the latest technologies and methods used in building race cars. I not only got the rare opportunity to work and collaborate with race engineers and watch them in action, but also the chance to practise assembling and building race cars. The knowledge I acquired at the model shops and the wind tunnel I could never hope to get in India. This experience-based learning has helped me gain a profound understanding of my subject and has laid a solid foundation for my career.