How to become a Buyer in F1 – Qualifications, skills & more

We spoke to Haas F1 Team's Samantha O'Gorman to find out what a Buyer does, how to become one, and what skills you need for the job.

How to become a Buyer in F1 – Qualifications, skills & more

A buyer is responsible for purchasing the items that a team needs and can’t produce itself, and getting the best possible deal for them in the process. Good communication skills are a must for any buyer, but what else does it take to succeed in buying for a Formula 1 team?

We spoke to Samantha O’Gorman – a buyer for Haas F1 Team – to find out.

What is your role?

I am a Buyer at Haas F1 Team but I am an anomaly as I do indirect buying, which means I work on all things unrelated to the car. That ranges from items for the sea freight, consumables, anything from tyre trolleys, contracts and purchase orders for the catering, and all our trucks. You name it, it’s a bit of everything – yesterday I ordered footballs!

What are your responsibilities and main jobs?

Managing suppliers and ensuring we get purchases and goods in that are required. There is a lot of negotiation of pricing to ensure we manage the budget of the business as well as dealing with terms and conditions; it’s really heavily supplier management led as you have to set-up accounts with suppliers.

How do you become a Buyer?

This is where I would consider myself as an anomaly because I came from a background where I was in a small business and I did both sales and purchasing. It was a choice of going one way or another, so I chose to go the purchasing way.

Fans reflected on the rear of a Haas F1 truck

Fans reflected on the rear of a Haas F1 truck

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

What qualifications do you need?

You don’t necessarily need formal qualifications in my opinion. I think it’s all about the person that you are and the drive that you’ve got. You could have CIPS (Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply) which is a high advantage in procurement and purchasing.

What should you study in school?

Business studies would be helpful.

What other skills are useful?

The ability to negotiate is a strong skill to have as you need a bit of sales side about you. You have to be adaptable and build relationships as well as being able to see the bigger picture, as you have to appreciate and understand the position the supplier is in as well. You need to be able to work under pressure and work quickly in certain situations as especially in this industry, you need to have the ability to multitask and prioritise if needed.

How can I get work experience?

I think an administrative role to start with would be good to start pushing yourself up the ladder or being a sale order processor, or a purchase order processor, as that is where it begins and you can follow how the process works and understand pricing and price structures. I think you need to be in an office environment over being in retail when it comes to being a buyer because it’s more B2B than the end user.

Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-21, in the pitlane

Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-21, in the pitlane

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Do you get to go to races?

I don’t travel to races although I will go to the British Grand Prix to meet our catering team and truck team for set-up, mainly to put faces to names and see the products that we’re buying, as that’s very important. When you’re trying to cost negotiate something and you can’t see it in the flesh, it’s hard to be able to do.

What does a day at work look like for you?

Ensuring process and purchase orders are in on time and going out to quote for products. A lot of cross-department management as well, working with stores to ensure equipment is booked in and receipted. We deal with invoice queries as well, so you need to make sure you have the ability to challenge invoices and investigate if needed.

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

Related video

Steiner: No-one to blame for Mazepin-Schumacher F1 Dutch GP incident
Previous article

Steiner: No-one to blame for Mazepin-Schumacher F1 Dutch GP incident

Next article

Red Bull was willing to sacrifice Dutch GP win to cover Hamilton

Red Bull was willing to sacrifice Dutch GP win to cover Hamilton
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Plus

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

STUART CODLING charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Plus

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded MAURICE HAMILTON of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022
Audi’s innovative first assault on grand prix racing Plus

Audi’s innovative first assault on grand prix racing

It has been a long time coming but Audi’s arrival in Formula 1 is finally on the horizon for 2026. But it won’t be its first foray into grand prix racing, as the German manufacturer giant has a history both long and enthralling

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022
The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination Plus

The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination

After a tooth and nail and, at times, toxic Formula 1 world championship scrap last year, Max Verstappen's march to a second consecutive title has been the exact opposite. But has he really changed in 2022? Here's a dive into what factors have played a crucial role, both inside the Verstappen camp and elsewhere, in the Dutch driver's domination

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022
Why Hamilton is still the man to keep driving Mercedes forward Plus

Why Hamilton is still the man to keep driving Mercedes forward

Lewis Hamilton’s words in a recent Vanity Fair interview define both his world-view and his approach to this season: one of perpetual struggle against adversity. As GP RACING explains, that’s what Lewis feeds off – and why, far from being down and nearly out, he’s using his unique skillset to spearhead Mercedes’ revival…

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2022
The time lag of ideas that offers intrigue over F1's future fight Plus

The time lag of ideas that offers intrigue over F1's future fight

The pecking order in 2022's Formula 1 season may look pretty static as the season draws to a close, but the unique nature of the cost cap means that preparation for next season takes precedence. New developments are being pushed back to 2023 - which could mask the technical development war ongoing...

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2022
How one retro event could prove an alluring prospect for Formula 1 stars Plus

How one retro event could prove an alluring prospect for Formula 1 stars

While Formula 1 drivers taking part in retro events can prove costly, as Charles Leclerc discovered at the Monaco Historic Grand Prix, the Goodwood Revival could prove an interesting experiment for today's stars. As the event's own Tourist Trophy race proves it means serious business, a race for current F1 drivers feels as though it’s in line with where the event is currently at

Goodwood Revival
Sep 21, 2022
The surprise biggest indicator of Ferrari's 2022 F1 points downfall Plus

The surprise biggest indicator of Ferrari's 2022 F1 points downfall

Looking back to the early races of 2022 and Ferrari’s challenge to Red Bull and Max Verstappen was going better than many expected. But it has lost so much ground a surprise rival can even pip Charles Leclerc to runner-up in the standings if given the chance

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2022