Adrian Newey, Chief Technical Officer of the Infiniti Red Bull Racing Formula One team with William Priest (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images).

William steps onto the podium after securing world-class role with Infiniti Red Bull F1

A student from the University of Exeter has won the career opportunity of a lifetime with World Championship-winning Formula One team, Infiniti Red Bull Racing.

Mechanical Engineering student William Priest triumphed over 1,500 other entrants across 100 top engineering universities worldwide to secure a lucrative 12-month work placement with the elite Infiniti Performance Engineering Academy.

William, 23, underwent a gruelling three-day final event this week which saw 12 hopefuls from around the world competing for victory in a series of challenges relating to road car and racing car engineering – including practical design tasks, written exams, intense interviews and complex group exercises to test their technical ability, teamwork skills and performance under pressure.

In one task they even got a first-hand insight into the role of a race engineer by working alongside four-time World Champion and Infiniti’s Director of Performance, Sebastian Vettel, in the team’s simulator.

Fourth-year student William, who will graduate next week with a First, is no stranger to the world of motorsport, having raced in karts and worked in British touring cars before coming to Exeter. He also completed a year in industry as part of his degree with global giant Caterpillar.

William said: “I am absolutely ecstatic to have won. It’s been a really hectic and interesting process, culminating in a final group interview in front of the Infiniti Red Bull Racing judging panel.

“A lot of the skills I gained during my degree helped me because as well as the technical side, we learn about putting together presentations, collaborating with peers and selecting the most important information.    

“Formula One is perhaps the most prestigious area of the motorsport world, and as an engineer I can’t think of anywhere more exciting, more challenging and more thrilling to work. I can’t wait to get started in September.”

William was the only British competitor in the final and was one of three to win, alongside US students Eric LaRoche and Jason Zide.

Andreas Sigl, Global Director of Infiniti Formula One, said: “William, Eric and Jason impressed us all throughout the process, especially given the stiff competition they had from the other candidates. They demonstrated not just a natural aptitude for engineering and an excellent work ethic, but also a real understanding of the benefits Formula One can bring a road car company like Infiniti and the potential for even greater technical crossover in the future. We’re delighted to have given them the opportunity to realize their dream and will be working closely with them as they settle into their new role.”

Infiniti Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey added: “It’s an incredible achievement for the winners to have made it through this process and I was extremely impressed with the calibre of all 12 of the finalists. It’s a credit to Infiniti for providing this unique platform to find the very best up-and-coming engineers looking to break into the ultra-competitive world of Formula One. For the winners though, the work really begins now, and we look forward to bringing them into the team in September.”   

Date: 4 July 2014

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