A day in the life of Marcin Budkowski
Executive Director, Renault F1 Team
What’s your job responsibility?
As Executive Director of the team in Enstone, my role covers all the departments that relate to concept, engineering and delivery of the car as well as its performance at the track. All the technical, production and planning departments report to me.
What does that involve, what do you do, who do you work with?
I split my time between the various technical and operational departments. I work more closely with the Directors and Heads of Department but also spend a lot of my time with HR and finance to manage budgets and recruitment. I attend approximately a third of the races.
Describe a typical day in your job?
It’s always interesting as each day is very different and offers new challenges. With such a large and diverse area of responsibility, there’s always something that doesn’t go to plan and requires immediate attention, so you need to be adaptable. I am very lucky to interact with so many talented and driven people and this is something I enjoy a lot in my job as well.
How did you get into F1?
I studied Engineering at University and specialised in aerodynamics. I then started to look for an Aerodynamicist job in F1. I sent my CV to all the F1 teams, got one interview with Prost Grand Prix and I got the job! I am lucky because this is what I dreamt of doing as a teenager. It’s a very tough business that requires a lot of personal sacrifices, but we shouldn’t forget how lucky we are to work in F1.
What is your background and why did you take this job?
After my first – short lived – experience at Prost Grand Prix, I joined Scuderia Ferrari for five and a half years and then McLaren F1 for another seven before eventually joining the FIA where I was Head of the F1 Technical Department. Next year I will celebrate 20 years in the sport! The role Cyril offered me at the Renault F1 Team appealed to me as I can use all the experience acquired at teams and with the governing body to help run the team and transform it into a winning operation.
What is your most memorable moment…?
I wouldn’t single out one moment. I would say that I truly enjoy the way the team works and operates now compared to when I arrived two years ago. There is a good dynamic and we’re building some positive momentum.
And the worst part of your job…?
There are tough moments working in Formula 1 and often they relate to difficult results at the race track. Last year the two DNFs in Bahrain on the same lap was difficult to take and ultimately slowed the momentum that we were building in the early part of the season.
The best part of your job then…
A good result at the last race! And on a day to day basis, the feeling when you overcome a difficulty, whether it is a technical challenge or a managerial one, and you feel that we are moving forwards.
If you weren’t doing this job what would you be doing?
As a teenager I had two very different areas of interest: aeroplanes and psychology. I spent a year in the air force as part of my education, and I got to fly a few times in a jet fighter in the back-seat. I would have loved to have been a fighter pilot, but my eye sight is not very good and I’m perhaps a little bit too tall for the cockpit of modern fighter planes. Secondly, I also love psychology and behavioural sciences, so perhaps something to do with that. It’s one of the reasons why I was keen to combine technology and people management in my career.
What do you do after work? How do you unwind?
In normal times, I love travelling. We spend a lot of time on planes travelling to tests and races and lots of F1 people loathe the thought of getting on a plane again for some holiday. But I love exploring and discovering new cultures, countries and food, whether it’s a remote destination or a city break - I just love to get away.
Do you have any tips/advice for those wanting to work in the industry?
It’s a tricky business to get into and it’s competitive. My advice would be to remain determined. There are a lot of people with good degrees and skills, but what can make you stand out is determination. When someone really wants a job, they will bang on the door until it opens – or they break in!