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
Load comments
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021