National Motorsport Academy

Student Success: Adam Wootton, Oracle RedBull Racing

Meet Oracle RedBull Racing Electrical Technician and NMA student Adam. Adam’s career into the world of elite motorsport has been an interesting one. He started out on an engineering apprenticeship in the Royal Navy and now works on Max Verstappen’s championship winning F1 car. Despite Red Bull and Verstappen winning 15 races in the 2022 season, Adam just lost out on the NMA’s Race Engineer of the Year title. We caught up with Adam at the end of a gruelling season….

Where does your love of motorsport stem from?

I was always interested in fast cars and fast jets but the aspirations to work in motorsport really stemmed from the realisation that knowledge I had gained working in aviation could be transferred to motorsport. I’ve always been more interested in the technology behind the cars rather than the actual race itself, but it is nice when we do well! I really love the competitiveness of the sport, I’m not a naturally competitive person, but I enjoy the feeling that everything we do on the car is with the aim of extracting the best possible performance from it. None of my family were really ever interested in motorsport, but now I’m travelling with the team my whole family are very supportive, my 7-year-old nephew wears his Oracle  RedBull Racing top every race weekend. My girlfriend started out as a big Mercedes/McLaren fan, but she’s starting to see sense.

What was your first job when you left school?

I joined the Royal Navy when I was 16 and became an Aircraft Engineering Technician, specialising in Avionic systems where I worked on helicopters and Harrier Jets all around the world including 2 tours of Afghanistan, Norway, California, Nevada, and a couple of trips on an aircraft carrier. The Navy focuses heavily on personal development, and I was selected for early promotion whereby at the time I was perhaps one of the youngest holding the rank of Petty Officer. It was a lot of responsibility as a 23-year-old but I enjoyed the challenge.

What qualifications do you have?

I started on an Apprenticeship in Engineering during initial training in the Royal Navy before doing some leadership courses as part of promotion to Petty Officer where I achieved a Level 5 certificate in Management and Leadership and a Level 3 diploma in First Line Management. I then studied further technical training at Naval College where I did a Foundation Degree in Aeronautical Engineering. I then left the Navy to pursue a career in Formula One at Red Bull Racing where I eventually worked my way onto the race team and after a few years decided to use up the little free time I had to finish my studies and work towards my Bachelor’s Degree with NMA.

How did you get the job with Oracle RedBull Racing?

I was looking to transfer to the Canadian Military to train their Engineering students how to maintain an aircraft they had purchased from the UK, but while I had written a CV for that and begun applying, I thought I could get some feedback from an F1 team so when they turned me down I could work on the reasons for future. It turned out that Oracle RedBull offered me an interview and soon after an actual job working in their Electronic Test and Inspection department. So I left the Navy and joined Oracle RedBull Racing. The dream was always to travel with the team to the races and work hands-on with the car. It was something of a dream job I never thought was possible.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities with the Oracle Red Bull team?

I currently work as an electronics technician on Max Verstappen’s car where I’m responsible for all build and maintenance of all the electronic looms and sensors that are fitted to the car. I’m also the rear left wheel off guy in the pit crew albeit this is a very small but important part of the job and probably one of my favourite moments of the race weekend.

What are your career highlights so far?

Undoubtedly when the team won the world drivers’ championship on the last lap of the last race of the 2021 season…I will not forget that moment, or the headaches and lost voices we all had for the next few days. It was the final chapter in a year of many ups and downs and for many of us it was our first championship win. Being part of the pit crew when we achieved the world record for the fastest ever pitstop was a pretty cool accolade too. As was Daniel Ricciardo’s first win in Monaco…..

Where do you want to be in 10 years?

I’d like to continue working my way towards a step up to become an Engineer, learning as I go where I’d like to potentially end up as a Systems Engineer. My final dissertation is on transient simulations of the 2026 F1 Power Unit, and a large amount of that is focussed on the ERS deployment strategy. I find that quite fascinating as it’s about finding compromise to achieve performance so something related to that would be nice.

How have you found the NMA motorsport degree so far?

The biggest challenge is trying to fit the hours in between the travelling to races and busy working days while dealing with jet lag and fitting in family time around studies. I’ve always enjoyed learning new things and getting to grips with CFD software I found really enjoyable as I’d never used it before. My favourite part has probably been working on my final dissertation. I’ve enjoyed the independence and almost free reign to write about something I’m passionate about and want to learn in more detail, while not being so restricted on word count or structure, I can also focus on areas I find most interesting and tailor it to suit. The tutors have all been really helpful and supportive, and understanding that I often won’t be able to attend a catch-up meeting due to hour-differences when I’m away. With my current tutor we find it easier just texting via mobile rather than emailing, then if I have a query, I can send it at 3am UK time while I’m away and wake up to an answer the next morning.

**All images courtesy of Adam Wootton and Oracle RedBull Racing.

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