A day in the life of Phil Wardle,
Chief Support Crew, Renault F1 Team
What’s your job responsibility?
My role as Chief Support Crew is to look after the support team at every race in the season. We arrive at each race venue early in the week to unload freight and make sure the garage is ready for when the mechanics arrive. More recently, I’ve been working with the Travel Office to make sure everything on site is in place and up to standard, things like our hotels and vans that we’re using.
What does that involve, what do you do, who do you work with?
The set-up team at races includes two fuel and two tyre guys, one person who looks after the wheel guns and pitstop gantry, and one who looks after the timing stand. We are all responsible for keeping general tidiness in the garage too, and we each have a role in the pitstop. Even though I am not getting any younger, I take the right rear tyre off during a pitstop!
How did you get the job?
Prior to this job I was in the army for 10 years. After I left the army, I eventually wanted to get back into travelling and there was an opportunity to set up the truck at the Monaco GP for the team. I got talking to some of the senior members of the team during that weekend in Monaco, and they wanted me to have a job. I initially put it off for a month, but I eventually agreed to have a go. I started out driving the trucks for the motorhomes and setting these up at the track.
What is your background and why did you take this job?
I like travelling. My dad was in the army too, so I had already spent nearly 30 years of my life travelling around. I thrive off working as a team and once you have a good team around you it’s hard to walk away from it.
What is your most memorable moment…?
When the team ends up on the podium! That’s what you do it for. I was never into F1 before but being part of the team, you want to do your best.
And the worst part of your job…?
Friday is a hard day for us at track. They are often long days, especially in places like Malaysia or Singapore. Jet lag is also tricky to deal with, you get used to it, but you can easily slip into a bad spell of it from the Australian GP onwards.
The best part of your job then…?
You can’t beat a Sunday at track. I’ll be stood on the grid with the grid trolley as cars go by for their formation lap. You then find yourself running with your trolley to get back to the garage as fast as possible. Then, you’re waiting for what’s next, where you have to be prepared for anything.
What do you do after work? How do you unwind?
I love going outdoors and hiking up mountains. I’ve been to places like Brecon Beacons, the Lake District and Mount Everest.
With lots of travel in your job, how do you deal with that?
With good sleep! I’m good at sleeping on the plane and as soon as I get back from somewhere, I try keep my routine as normal as possible. For example, I’ll try stay up and keep busy like walking my dog or cutting the grass and then go to sleep at normal time.
Do you have any tips/advice for those wanting to work in the industry?
Get in young and keep smiling!