Work / Life: Race Support Team Manager

A day in the life of…
Andrew Alsworth, Race Support Team Manager

What are you responsible for in your job? What does that involve, what do you do, who with?
I’m the race support team manager, which involves managing the crews and build schedule, plus on-the-ground logistics at any running car events that happen outside a race weekend. This could be building cars for young driver running, demonstration events such as the Renault Roadshow we put on in the south of France and supporting F1 tests; for example, I ran the nightshift at the recent Barcelona test.

Describe a typical day in your job.
Typically, I get into the factory about 7am to go to the gym. I enjoy fitness and it also means I beat the traffic into work! After that I react to the calendar we have at that time. This could be putting together the programme for the Renault Roadshow, which involved nine events over ten days, or building a car for the young driver programme. Working closely with the car engineer and chief mechanic for the race support team, I make sure that the cars are sorted, the trucks and people arrive at the right time, ancillary items such as the fuel and equipment are all there, and we have a detailed organisational programme for the time.

How did you get the job? What is your background and why did you take this job?
I am a fabricator by trade and I started in the car manufacturing business. I came into Formula 1 with Toleman which became Benetton in 1985 as a composite laminator. At the time composite carbon fibre was a very new material and they were looking for people with an engineering background, so I spent three years in the composite department, then went onto the race team. I actually wanted to be a mechanic so then I went back to the factory to learn the trade. I returned to the race team soon after as the spares coordinator. An opportunity came up with the new BAR team in 1998 to be the race team co-ordinator so I joined them and went on to become the test team manager in 2000. When Mercedes took over Brawn, as it had become by then, I moved over to Caterham and then Williams, where I ran a test programme for Lance Stroll. I returned to Renault in January 2018 in my current role – that’s 33 years in the business so far!

What is your most memorable moment…
The 1994 Australian Grand Prix, when Michael Schumacher won his first world title. Seeing him walk back into the garage was incredible – he just couldn’t believe it, and neither could we. It was my first world championship and it was a very special feeling.

And the worst part of your job…?
The commute from home. I live in Northamptonshire and it takes about 45 minutes to get in. It’s not such a big issue in the morning but when I leave work I just want to be there!

The best part of your job then…
I like the challenge of going to new venues and making stuff work, for example, the roadshow in the south of France was a massive challenge and seeing it run smoothly was quite satisfying. I like the demo runs we do – we run to a more relaxed schedule than testing. Getting to work with young drivers is also pretty good; getting them through a test and seeing them do well is very rewarding.

What do you do after work? How do you unwind?
I have a ten-year-old son so I spend time with him outside. At the moment we play a lot of football, rugby and cricket.

What do you do before going to sleep?
I wind down on the sofa with some TV. I’m enjoying the latest series of American Chopper!

Plan B… If you weren’t doing your job, what would you have done instead? As a fabricator by trade, I did an apprenticeship with a company that built prototype cars. Some of my former colleagues have gone into car restoration, so I think I would have done that. Restoring cars or bikes would be great.