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David Crespo picks up Autosport Williams Engineer of the Future Award

David Crespo has won the 2023 Autosport Williams Engineer of the Future Award.

David Crespo accepts the award for the Autosport Williams Engineer of the Future

Photo by: Dom Romney / Motorsport Images

Following two years on hiatus when it could not be held during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Award was revamped for 2022 and then relaunched in full for this year’s Awards.

For the first time, the process was open to anyone currently studying an engineering degree at any university or college in the UK, with a selection of 10 finalists chosen from more than 200 applications.

Crespo, a Motorsport Engineering Master’s degree student at Oxford Brookes University, was chosen after an in-depth 10-month assessment process that involved those 10 working first with Williams’ Esports team.

Speaking on stage at the Autosport Awards at Grosvenor House after receiving his Award trophy by Autosport Grand Prix Editor Alex Kalinauckas, Crespo said: "I am really happy, I am trying not to get too emotional!

"There's been a lot of effort and things I've had to give up to be here. I am so grateful for this, I want to be the engineer of the present not the engineer of the future.

"I am working to be the best who I can be in my field."

As engineering has even more in common across real world and virtual racing than driving due to the methodology, tools and processes being the same to harvest data to make car changes, the revamped Award now involves considerable work to replicate the efforts of 2022 winner Michael Preston with Williams’ Esports squad last year.

More: How to win the Autosport Williams Engineer of the Future Award

Preston is now an Award judge – along with Williams Racing’s Head of Vehicle Performance Dave Robson, Williams' DIL Team Leader Andrew Newton, Williams’ Head of Talent Acquisition Jamie Green, famed single-seater team boss Trevor Carlin and Autosport’s Grand Prix Editor Alex Kalinauckas – and he oversaw five candidates progressing from the opening stage to the second phase.

This was made up of two assessment days working with Williams’ Formula 1 race strategy team and in its driver-in-the-loop simulator – sessions that were overseen by Robson and Newton.

Two finalists – Crespo and Award runner-up Riccardo Calzetta – then went on to work a race weekend in the GB3 junior single-seater series with the Rodin Carlin squad.

This took place at the Zandvoort round in October, before the pair made final presentations to the judging panel in November at Williams’ Grove headquarters on a hypothetical motorsport-related engineering problem their domain experience.

The panel then convened and selected Crespo as the 2023 Award winner based on his efforts and rating at every stage throughout the process.

As part of his Award win, Crespo will attend an F1 test day with Williams in 2024, supporting its trackside engineering team.

Details of how young engineers can apply to be a part of the 2024 Autosport Williams Engineer of the Future Award selection process will be revealed soon.

Other awards decided by expert judging panels include the Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award, the Autosport Gold Medal incorporating the Gregor Grant Award for lifetime legacy, the John Bolster Trophy for technical achievement, the Pioneering and Innovation Award, Moment of the Year, and Promoter of the Year. A new award for 2023 is Brand Partnership of the Year.

Further categories, which are decided by fan voting, are the International Racing Driver of the Year presented by Pirelli, International Competition Car of the Year, International Rally Driver of the Year, British Competition Driver of the Year, Rookie of the Year and National Driver of the Year.

To find out who our other Award winners are, go to autosport.com/awards

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