How much do F1 mechanics make and what do they do?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 7 December 2021

If you're passionate about racing and working with machinery, becoming an F1 mechanic can help you earn a living in a fulfilling career. Before you pursue this career path, it's important to know the answers to questions like 'what do F1 mechanics do?' and 'how much do F1 mechanics make?'. Understanding their typical duties, salary, and skill set can help you decide if this career is right for you. In this article, we explore what it's like to work as an F1 mechanic, detail their average salary, explain how to become one and discuss how to increase your income.

Related: How to become a mechanic: a step-by-step guide

How much do F1 mechanics make?

If you've been wondering, 'How much do F1 mechanics make?', the national average salary of a mechanic is £30,195 per year, which considers salary data for mechanics working at all skill levels and across different regions. F1 mechanics often work in high-pressure environments, performing precise and accurate repairs and replacements as quickly as possible. Because F1 drivers drive at such high speeds, it's imperative that only experienced and skilled mechanics work on F1 car repairs. For this reason, you can expect the average F1 mechanic wage to be higher than the average mechanic's wage.

It's typically a requirement for F1 mechanics to travel with the rest of the team to compete in races around the world. During these race tours, an employer usually pays for their travel and accommodation expenses, which means that F1 mechanics can travel for up to 180 days a year, all expenses paid. If you're passionate about F1 racing and cars, becoming an F1 mechanic can allow you to put your interests and skills to good use while earning a generous salary and travelling the world.

What does an F1 mechanic do?

F1 mechanics work on F1 racing cars before, during and after F1 races to ensure that the cars are both safe and tweaked for top performance. F1 mechanics are typically qualified engineers who understand the mechanical operation of an F1 racing car in extensive detail, as this knowledge can enable them to make fast decisions to help improve performance during a race. F1 mechanics usually possess essential knowledge about high-performance vehicles and brands. Some of the most common responsibilities of F1 mechanics include:

  • preparing vehicles in advance of races, including cleaning and adjusting vehicles for maximum performance

  • assessing vehicles for damaged and worn parts and repairing or replacing these parts

  • carrying out ultra-fast vehicle diagnosis and repairs mid-race

  • changing tyres during pit stops in around 20 seconds

  • making recommendations for upgrades to vehicles that can enhance performance

Working as an F1 mechanic can require attention to detail, working long hours and travelling abroad for months to work at international races, but these factors can also make it a rewarding role both in terms of salary and personal satisfaction.

Related: 10 essential mechanical engineer skills

Who do F1 mechanics work for?

If you want to pursue a career as an F1 mechanic, you may apply for roles with race teams like Ferrari and McLaren. Formula One is the top class of international racing for formula cars. To prepare for working as an F1 mechanic, you can consider working as a mechanic for racing teams in other series first, such as Formula 2, Formula 3 or Formula 4. Starting out in a lower formula class can help you gain essential practical experience working on formula racing cars while you develop your skills to progress to Formula One.

Related: How to write a successful mechanic CV (with example)

How to increase your salary as an F1 mechanic

After you secure a role as a formula racing mechanic, you can work to increase your salary by applying to more senior positions and developing your skills as a mechanic. You can follow these steps to help advance your career as an F1 mechanic and increase your salary in this sought-after career path:

1. Gain more experience

To secure more senior positions and move up through the ranks of formula racing, it's important to seek experience in a range of team racing settings. You can work for local teams voluntarily or apply for positions or apprenticeships working with professional formula racing teams. When you're first starting in the field, your responsibilities may include simple repairs and maintenance work. You can ask for more responsibility at work to gain additional experience with complex tasks.

Related: All you need to know about apprenticeship vs university

2. Study towards relevant qualifications

You can also study to gain relevant qualifications, such as by completing college courses or an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. Formal qualifications may not be mandatory to find an entry-level job as a mechanic and start working towards a career in F1, but having superior knowledge of the principles of mechanical engineering can help your application get the attention of a potential employer. You can browse local college courses or apply to study for a degree part-time while continuing to work. You can also ask your employer to sponsor your studies.

3. Contact racing teams

Many Formula racing teams hire new staff members frequently and one of the best ways to increase your chances of getting a job in this field is to submit your CV and cover letter to racing teams regularly. By emailing teams working in the formula class above yours every time you earn a new qualification or develop a new skill, you can improve your chances of securing a mechanic role at a higher class of racing team, which usually includes a higher salary. You can also network with professionals from other teams during races and racing events.

4. Transition into related F1 careers

If you have engineering qualifications, you can begin transitioning from working as an F1 mechanic to working in other areas of an F1 team. For example, you can become an F1 engineer or an F1 designer using the skills you've learned as an F1 mechanic. Once you've started your career as an engineer or mechanic for an F1 racing team, there may be many potential career paths for you to choose between.

For instance, you may advance to senior management roles or even become a technical director who oversees important factors such as track performance, aerodynamics and car design. Roles like these can pay up to a six-figure salary in Formula One. If you have a passion for driving in addition to your experience as a mechanic, you can also consider becoming a racing coach. In this role, you can support and guide aspiring F1 drivers with your wisdom gained through years of practical experience.

Becoming an F1 mechanic

Becoming an F1 mechanic may take more time than some other career paths, but it can also be a fulfilling and rewarding career choice if you like cars and working in a racing environment. Here are some common steps to becoming an experienced racing mechanic and improving your earning potential:

Getting into the field

Becoming an F1 mechanic usually takes years of hard work and dedication, but it's an interesting and financially rewarding career. It's important to get experience working with cars to secure your first job working for a racing team. You can do this by volunteering to work for a local racing team, working at your local garage or undertaking college courses in mechanics. Before you're hired by a professional racing team at any class level, it's important to gain experience working on cars in a racing environment.

Further developing your skills

Working as a mechanic for a racing team is often significantly different from working as a mechanic at a local garage. It may involve working on high-performance racing cars and making mechanical alterations to repair and maintain cars and help improve their performance. Employers may also want to see that you have experience working in the pit lane and in the paddock. You can create opportunities to work within a racing team and develop key mechanic skills by contacting local teams and offering to volunteer for them.

Advancing to a senior role

At first, your tasks might include simple jobs such as finding parts and shadowing mechanics. As you gain more experience in this position, you can earn more responsibilities that may enable you to apply for your first paid role as a formula racing mechanic. Once you begin your career in formula racing, you can start working towards the top level of international formula racing, Formula One, by developing your skill set and applying for new positions frequently.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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