How to become a Number 1 Mechanic in F1 – Qualifications, skills & more

We spoke to Haas F1 Team's Elliot Parkes to find out what a Number 1 Mechanic does, how to become one, and what skills you need for the job.

How to become a Number 1 Mechanic in F1 – Qualifications, skills & more

For a mechanic there’s surely no better job than working for a Formula 1 team, fixing the most advanced cars in the world, but how do you get there? What skills does it take, what qualifications, and how do you get your foot in the door? To find out how a mechanic can get to Formula 1 we spoke to Elliot Parkes – the No. 1 Mechanic for Haas F1 Team’s Nikita Mazepin – to find out all about the job, and the parts fans don’t see.

What is your role?

I am the No.1 Mechanic for Nikita Mazepin. I oversee a team of No. 2 mechanics and I am responsible for the build, reliability and safety of all aspects of the car.

How do you become a Mechanic?

I left school and went to the Motorsport College in Silverstone and started an apprenticeship from there - from junior formula, work experience and working for free or working for the cost of your fuel. I finished my apprenticeship at a Formula 3 team and moved up to GP2 before finally moving into Formula 1.

What qualifications do you need?

None! Of course, it’s useful to get your qualifications to get a foot in the door at college or a lower level team, if for example, you get down to the final two and they take that into consideration.

Nikita Mazepin, Haas F1

Nikita Mazepin, Haas F1

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

What should you study in school?

Anything technology related like design technology at school can be beneficial.

What other skills are useful?

You should have a good knowledge of mechanical systems. The best education you can give yourself is by ensuring you’re the person who fixes your own bike when you’re younger, taking things apart and messing around with them.

How can I get work experience?

Ask around and be willing to work for free to start with. It’s the only way as there is very little money in the junior formula side of things. Send your CV in – even if there isn’t a lot on it at this point – as it will show you’re keen. Make it known that you’re willing to travel, pay for yourself to get to places and will sleep wherever! It’s all valuable experience and it’s always noticed, even at that early stage.

Do you get to go to races?

Yes, including tests.

Nikita Mazepin, Haas VF-21

Nikita Mazepin, Haas VF-21

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

What does a day at work look like for you?

It’s usually an early start, with Friday being the longest day at track. You’ll get to the garage, do pitstop practice, have a quick breakfast before fire up and continue working up until the first practice session. Between sessions, depending on how well it’s gone, you may only need to clean and refuel the car but if it hasn’t gone so well, you could be flat out until the start of the next session. We then prep for the next day and the car will usually change a fair amount. Quite often, we’re running for the gate to make sure we’re out of the track before the curfew is in action.

What’s your role involving pitstops?

For the last few years, I’ve been the gunman on the right front, so you’re managing that corner as you are the person who gives the ‘ok’ to go. When pressing that button, you have to be sure that everyone else has done their bits, it’s safe and it’s complete. When you press the ‘go’ button, there is no going back. It’s a lot of responsibility and you must trust the team that are around you to do their job as well. You get used to doing pitstops and it becomes second nature. We practice so often but rarely it can go wrong. This year is a learning year for us but if we’re competing for places or points, that pressure comes back.

This article was created in partnership with Motorsport Jobs. Find the latest jobs in motorsport, as well as jobs with the Haas F1 Team, on the Motorsport Jobs website.

shares
comments
Review: How story mode makes F1 2021 Codemasters’ best game yet
Previous article

Review: How story mode makes F1 2021 Codemasters’ best game yet

Next article

Perez now 'finding his own way' with Red Bull F1 set-up direction

Perez now 'finding his own way' with Red Bull F1 set-up direction
The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022
How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay Plus

How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay

Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…

Formula 1
Aug 7, 2022
Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre? Plus

Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre?

Formula 1 has ambitious goals for improving its carbon footprint, but could this include banishing its favoured composite material? PAT SYMONDS considers the alternatives to carbonfibre and what use, if any, those materials have in a Formula 1 setting

Formula 1
Aug 6, 2022