Formula 1 mechanics are the hard-working people who get up close and personal with the cars. It’s an incredibly challenging and demanding job to do, but it’s also very rewarding. This may leave many fans wondering how much F1 mechanics make.
F1 mechanics can make anywhere from around $20,000 per year to $60,000 or more. However, the salary is mostly based on the mechanic’s level of experience, and over time their salaries can increase to over $65,000. You don’t need any qualifications to become a mechanic, but experience is vital.
While it might not be the highest-paying job in Formula 1, being a mechanic is incredibly rewarding and comes with many perks. It’s a job where you’ll be working extremely hard as part of a large team. Below, we cover in detail what F1 mechanics do and how much they make.
What Do F1 Mechanics Do?
F1 mechanics are responsible for working on the car, which includes repairing any damage, changing tires in pit stops, and ensuring the car is safe and ready to head out onto the track. Mechanics have the busiest race weeks out of the entire team, and they’re often the last ones to leave the track.
A Formula 1 mechanic’s week starts early, usually between a Monday or a Tuesday. The mechanics will arrive at the track and start unpacking their cargo from the precious event or from the factory. Mechanics then need to assemble the entire car before Friday’s practice session.
Getting The Cars Ready
Friday is the longest day for the mechanics, as they usually arrive early at the track to get in some pit stop practice. They need to get their cars ready for the first fire-up on Friday morning to ensure everything is ready to go for the practice sessions. In between sessions, the mechanics work on the setup and repair any damage to the car.
After the second practice, the mechanics will continue to work on the car setup, and they often have to take a jog to make sure they leave the track before the evening curfew kicks in. On race day, mechanics are responsible for the lightning-fast pit stops during the race that they have spent hours perfecting.
How Many Mechanics Are There In An F1 Team?
There are around 20-30 mechanics in an F1 team. This can vary from team to team, but in general, this is the number that will work on both cars. Formula 1 garages are relatively small and cramped, so adding more people makes it a more difficult working environment.
The mechanics are split into two teams, with half of them being loosely assigned to one driver and the other half being assigned to another driver. This is simply to split the setup work of the cars, but it’s not uncommon for all mechanics to work together if they need to repair damage on a car before the start of a session.
Each car will have its own number one mechanic. The “No.1 Mechanic” is essentially the lead mechanic for the specific car. This mechanic is responsible for overseeing the operations of the car that they have been assigned to, so they are essentially the contact point for the engineers or the drivers when it comes to delegating tasks or discussing the setup of the car.
The number one mechanic will be the most experienced or skilled mechanic on the team, and they are in charge of the team of number two mechanics. Number two mechanics are the people who will be doing most of the hard work and heavy lifting on the car based on what the number one mechanic instructs them to do.
Where the drivers share mechanics is in the pit stops. This is when about 20 of the mechanics all work together to change the tires as fast as possible during the race. Because of the limited space in an F1 pit lane, teams only have one pit box for both of their cars, so it makes sense that only one team of about 20 mechanics is responsible for both cars.
KEY POINTS• F1 mechanics are responsible for working on the cars
• Teams may have about 20-30 mechanics that cover both cars
• Each driver will have dedicated mechanics for their cars
• Both drivers will share a pit stop crew of about 20 people
F1 Mechanic Salaries
|General Mechanic||$20,000 – $60,000+|
|Pit Crew||$20,000 – $100,000+|
|No.1 Mechanic||$50,000 – $100,000+|
What Affects F1 Mechanic Salaries?
The salaries of Formula 1 mechanics depend heavily on their level of experience as well as their level of seniority within the team, and which team they’re in too. Mechanics with more experience will be paid more than rookie mechanics who have just made their way into Formula 1. While this is the case for most other positions too, it’s even more relevant when it comes to mechanics.
Junior mechanics who don’t have a lot of experience can expect a salary of between $20,000 and $30,000 per year. Junior mechanics will be new to the sport, and with very little experience in Formula 1, you can’t expect to be paid much more than other mechanics who have been a part of the team for many years.
Mechanics who have been with the team for some time and have picked up some experience over the years can have their salary increase to between $30,000 and $55,000. These are often the number two mechanics that now have the experience to be able to repair a car quickly or set up the car perfectly to the driver’s liking.
When mechanics become experienced or even become promoted to number one mechanics, their salaries can increase to over $65,000 per year. But their exact salary depends on the team they are working for. The front-running teams will often be paying their mechanics higher rates, especially if the team is successful and benefits from the prize money they get from the FIA.
What Perks Do F1 Mechanics Get?
As key members of a Formula 1 team, mechanics get some great perks with their jobs. If the salary is a bit disappointing, these perks definitely make up for it. Mechanics get to travel the world as a team, and since they’re working, the F1 team pays for their travel and accommodation costs.
Formula 1 mechanics may also get discounts on tickets and team merchandise, which is simply a benefit of being part of a Formula 1 team. Mechanics can offer their friends and family some discounted tickets to Formula 1 races or some cheaper F1 merchandise, which is already incredibly expensive at retail price.
Formula 1 mechanics also often get performance bonuses like the rest of their team members. These can often be after a race win or a pole position. If the team is in the fight for either the drivers’ or the constructors’ World Championships, then they could also be given a bonus if they win either of the championships for their teams.
Another perk of being a Formula 1 mechanic is that you get to be up close and personal with a Formula 1 car, one of the greatest engineering marvels in the world. You’re right in the thick of the action with pit stops, and you get to experience the Formula 1 paddock and your team’s garage every single race of the season, free of charge.
Are F1 Mechanics’ Salaries Included In The Budget Cap?
F1 mechanics’ salaries are included in the budget cap, as is the salary of everyone except for the drivers and the top 3 earners in a team. In addition, their travel and accommodation costs are also included within the budget cap, alongside any other performance-related expenses.
Formula 1 has a strict budget cap of $140 million. The budget cap will be reduced even further to $135 million from 2023 onwards, making it even more difficult for the teams to stay within the rules. The budget cap includes all performance-related expenses that the team needs to pay for.
This also includes the salaries that the mechanics are paid. The mechanic’s travel and accommodation costs are also included in the annual budget cap making it even more challenging for the teams. Teams need to plan their entire season carefully to prevent running their expenses over the budget cap and being penalized for it.
However, the budget cap is not likely to change the salaries that Formula 1 mechanics are getting. The mechanics play a vital role in the team, from setting up the cars to repairing any damage, any reductions in their salaries would simply not be a viable option for any Formula 1 teams.
Do F1 Mechanics Get Paid Bonuses?
F1 mechanics may get paid bonuses depending on how well the team does during a race weekend. Things such as race wins, pole positions, repairing a car in time, winning a World Championship, and getting the fastest laps could all earn the mechanics some kind of bonus.
Formula 1 mechanics play an integral role in the overall performance of the car. They’re also responsible for ensuring the driver’s safety as well as repairing any damage to the car, oftentimes under immense pressure. One example is when the mechanics managed to repair Max Verstappen’s car in just 20 minutes before the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix, allowing him to race.
Deserving Of A Bonus
With mechanics being so under pressure during the Formula 1 season, they certainly do deserve a bonus if the team performs well. The performance of the car is crucial to the team’s success, and the mechanics play an important role in maximizing that performance.
Mechanics may receive bonuses if the car performs well during a race weekend. Anything from race wins to pole positions and fastest laps could mean that the mechanics are rewarded with a bonus. Mechanics will also be rewarded for repairing a car in time for qualifying or the race, such as the Verstappen incident in 2020.
If a team wins the World Championship, they will be given prize money by the FIA. This is also the perfect opportunity for the mechanics to be given a bonus at the end of the season for excellent performance and maximizing the car all throughout the course of the season.
KEY POINTS• F1 mechanics can earn anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 depending on their role, experience level, and the team they’re working for
• Mechanics may also get paid bonuses depending on how well the team performs during the season
• F1 mechanics’ salaries are included in the team’s annual budget cap
How Do You Become An F1 Mechanic?
You become an F1 mechanic by gaining years of experience in the field. You shouldn’t just work on regular cars to gain experience, as gaining it in motorsport specifically will be crucial. Working your way up the ladder is what you’ll have to do if you want to become an F1 mechanic.
Becoming a Formula 1 mechanic is no easy task. While there’s a lot more opportunity to become a mechanic than a driver, there’s still a limited amount of space in the team for mechanics. It’s also the ideal position for many mechanics around the world, so there’s a ton of competition from other candidates.
How To Know If It’s The Career For You
Being a mechanic is a tough job in any circumstance, but in the world of motorsport, there’s even more pressure, and it’s much more demanding and fast-paced than in the real world. Passion for the sport is important, but it’s not enough to land you a job with a Formula 1 team.
If you’re someone who’s always been taking things apart and putting them together, fixing your own bicycle, or even working on the mechanical side of cars or karts, then you’re definitely a great candidate to become a Formula 1 mechanic.
This career is for anyone who’s had an interest in the technical elements of a car, whether it’s the aerodynamics, the engine, or even the more intricate internals of the car. Good mechanical understanding and a strong interest in the subject are crucial if you’re going to make a career out of it.
Formula 1 mechanics work long hours, and it’s often difficult to get through an entire season being away from home. It’s their love for the sport and for their jobs that keep them going. If either one of these elements is missing, then this career definitely is not the right choice for you.
One of the most important ingredients you’ll need when it comes to paying your way into a career as a Formula 1 mechanic is experience. You’re going to need a lot of experience if you want to make it to Formula 1. Since you’re going to be working with some of the most complex and most expensive cars on the planet, there is simply no room for error at the top level of motorsport.
Unfortunately, experience as a standard mechanic is simply not enough. You need to make sure that you get some form of motorsport experience under your belt too. Teams will be looking for candidates who have experience in motorsport, no matter what series or category it’s in – although single-seaters are ideal.
With that said, any experience is useful, whether it’s paid or unpaid. The reality is that at the junior level, there isn’t much money going around, and you need to be willing to work for free. Even racing drivers need to pay thousands of dollars just to drive the car, so a mechanic can’t expect to be paid for their time at the track.
You need to work your way up the motorsport ladder, just like a racing driver would. You will likely have to be a mechanic in smaller series such as Formula 3 and Formula 2 before you can reach Formula 1. It takes time and effort, but in the end, you’ll be in a position that every mechanic in the world wishes they were in.
Where To Start
It can be difficult to find a place to start if you’re trying to make your way into Formula 1 as a mechanic. As we know, you need to work your way up the motorsport ladder, and naturally, that means that you have to start from the bottom. Sometimes that means you need to start as low as karting.
While karting might not closely resemble cars or even Formula 1 cars, they will give you great experience in a motorsport sense, and they’ll teach you a lot about the mechanics of these vehicles and how they work in a motorsport sphere. Visiting your local karting track is a good idea, even if it’s just to get a feel for what it’s like to work on a racing vehicle.
You could also visit your local race track, and if you’re lucky enough to have a junior single-seater series nearby, such as Formula 3 or even Formula Ford, you could send your resume to one of the team principals. They would always be willing to take on young aspiring mechanics, especially if it’s for unpaid work.
Of course, unpaid work is not ideal, but in the end, it will show the team and the people around you that you are passionate about the sport and the career path that you have chosen. Ultimately this could work in your favor in the future when a Formula 1 team reviews your application and contacts some of your references.
Networking Is Key
Networking is one of the most important parts of Formula 1, even if you want to become a mechanic. Oftentimes it’s not about what you know but more about who you know in motorsport. Wherever you go, always make sure to network as much as you can, as it could come in handy in the future.
What Qualifications Do You Need To Become An F1 Mechanic?
While you don’t need any qualifications to become an F1 mechanic, you’ll have a much better shot at advancing in the field if you have a university degree of some kind. Things like math, physics, or mechanical engineering are all degrees you’ll want to consider pursuing to be an F1 mechanic.
Formula 1 mechanics do not require any specific qualifications. It’s one of the few jobs in Formula 1 that you can get without a university degree. The most important aspects that you will need as a Formula 1 mechanic are mechanical knowledge and a lot of experience in a motorsport environment.
However, having a qualification to your name can definitely be beneficial when it comes to landing a job with a Formula 1 team. For example, if they’re choosing between two candidates, they’re more likely to take the candidate with the university degree over the candidate that doesn’t have one.
Science Based Degrees
If you are planning on heading to university, some of the options you should consider are math, physics, and mechanical engineering degrees. These can help you to land a job in Formula 1, but you need to make sure that you’re getting real-world experience at the same time.
Another option is to apply for apprenticeships. Many of the top Formula 1 teams are now offering apprenticeships and internships for mechanics, and this is a great way to get your foot in the door. However, there are hundreds, if not thousands of applicants for these, so you shouldn’t pin all your hopes on this being a successful path into a team.
Skills You Need To Be An F1 Mechanic
Any job in Formula 1 is difficult, but being a mechanic is especially challenging. Mechanics are some of the hardest working members of the team when it comes to the physical aspects and the overall workload. From unpacking cargo, building the cars, repairing the cars, and changing setups, mechanics pour hundreds of hours of behind-the-scenes work into every Grand Prix weekend.
If you want to be a mechanic in Formula 1, you need to be hard working and willing to sacrifice a lot of time and physical effort for the job that you are going to be doing. Working as a mechanic in Formula 1 often requires long hours, sometimes even staying overnight to repair a car or change a car’s setup (this can happen a maximum of eight times per season).
It’s imperative that you are able to work as part of a team if you’re a Formula 1 mechanic. While mechanics are often split into different teams supporting one of two drivers, it’s not uncommon for mechanics to help one another across the garage. This team spirit carries over to celebrations and behind the scene work too, so teamwork is incredibly important.
Finally, you need to be able to work under pressure. The pinnacle of motorsport comes with a lot of pressure, and in some cases, you are faced with impossible tasks – such as repairing a car 20 minutes before the start of the race or even during a pit stop. You must be able to perform at a high level even when the pressure is on if you want to be a Formula 1 mechanic.
KEY POINTS• Becoming an F1 mechanic requires a lot of relevant experience
• You’ll also need to network and work your way up from the lower rungs on the motorsport ladder
• While you don’t need any specific qualifications, they can boost your chances of getting the job
• You’ll need to be able to work long hours in a fast-paced environment as part of a large team
F1 mechanics earn between $20,000 and $65,000 a year based on how much experience they have, their degree of seniority, and which team they work for. There’s also the opportunity for various bonuses depending on how well the team does during the races and the season overall.
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