819 Babington House School Welcome Top

Advice from the fast lane of Formula 1

Published by Oakham School on Tuesday 25th of June 2013

John Illey, Performance Director at Caterham F1 Team, returned to his former school to inspire budding designers and engineering students.

John began his design and engineering career at Oakham, winning the Middle School Design Prize during his time at the school. During his talk, he credited his career path to an Oakham School Careers Adviser, who suggested he should have a back-up plan to his desire to be a racing car driver. After leaving the school in 1985, he went on to Lanchester Polytechnic in Coventry to study Automotive Engineering and has since worked for Brun Technics, Newman-Haas and Jordan, before moving on to Renault, Ferrari and McLaren.

During the talk to current and former pupils, staff and parents, John described his career in Formula 1 and his journey to becoming an expert in the field of aerodynamics. He joined Jordan F1 in 1997 as Senior Aerodynamicist and was promoted to Head of Aerodynamics in 1998, the same year the team won its first race.

As a self-confessed 'racer at heart', John is motivated by 'the whole technical challenge of trying to put a group of people and a group of ideas together, and to do a better job than others.' John discussed the fast-paced environment of F1 and the changes that are currently happening, particularly the move to 1.6 turbo engines. He stressed that whilst many academic subjects are important, studying Design helps you to 'think on your feet, solve problems and adapt to change'.

Head of Design Technology, Tim Weston, commented that; 'it was an honour to welcome John back to Oakham, to show him around our new Design facilities and for him to see just how much has developed since his time at the School. His lecture was incredibly inspiring for our students, but also interesting and insightful for the many parent and teacher Formula 1 fans.'

For more information, please contact Louise Hitchen, Press Officer, Oakham School, press@oakham.rutland.sch.uk , 07736176973
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