At first glance the world of Formula One can be dazzling. A little like being caught in a spotlight. The speed, the glamour, the world stage; it all makes for a heady mix of competition and pressure, where highly focused athletes push some of the world’s fastest and most expensive machines to the absolute edge of their performance.
Look beyond the cockpit and podiums though, and you’ll discover a world shrouded in secrecy, along with enough technology to put a decent movie villain to shame. The panels of engineers and analysts crammed into each of the ten competing team’s pit garages are a direct result of the pressure F1 has cooked up in the race to get to the front of the grid.
Providing the crucial link between each driver’s 200mph office, and the back rooms of genius-level minds in the paddock, are the race engineers sitting in the garage. At Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, this group is led by Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin.
Affectionately known as ‘Shov’ to his team-mates, Shovlin has a 19-year F1 career under his belt to date. While you might not instantly know the name, you might possibly recognize his voice on the pit radio. Shovlin rose to prominence when he race engineered Jenson Button to the 2009 Drivers’ championship with Brawn GP; and then later worked with seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher as his race engineer in 2010.
Now overseeing the might of the team’s race engineering department at the factory, and at the track on race weekends, the likable 44-year-old Englishman is a key player in coordinating Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas’ current, and continued, success on track.