The purpose of this blog is to inform those who are interested about my journey as one of three students from around the world who earned placements at Infiniti-Red Bull Racing as a result of the Infiniti Performance Engineering Academy. Family, friends, colleagues, aspiring engineers, and any other followers are welcome to visit this page and, if desired, give me feedback or ask questions. It is an effort to streamline documenting the next 12 months for all of these varying audiences, some of which do not participate in social media.

I have never written a journal, never written a blog. This is a first for me. This being the most meaningful and fantastic opportunity I could ever dream of, I would like to share best I can the details of what goes on in my day-to-day during the academy. I am incredibly honored to have won a placement at Infiniti-Red Bull Racing, and I seek to make this opportunity worth everything it possibly can be.

I will write once or twice a week, depending on the accumulation of events and catching up on the previous few days. If you'd like, you can sign up for email notifications for when I create a new post! See the link toward the bottom of this page. I hope you all enjoy, and thank you so much for visiting!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

End of the First F1 Season and a 6-Legged Thanksgiving

The weekend following Hope’s visit, it was time for the last grand prix of the season in Abu Dhabi.  A culturally rich city that’s also on the top of my list to visit, Abu Dhabi and the Yas Marina circuit hosts the second of two races during the F1 calendar that are held under the lights.

With Vettel about to depart to Ferrari, the team at the track hosted a warm welcome for him as he arrived to the garage.

Danke Seb has been the theme for his departure from the team.  The team as a whole has lots of great memories with Seb at the wheel, and I'm honored to have been able to work with him!

Having been supported by Red Bull since he was 12, contributing to a majority of the team’s success and the past four world championships, Vettel is a lot like family to the core team at Infiniti Red Bull Racing.  The sendoff was very emotional.  Here is one of his last trackside team photos:

Adrian, Christian, and Seb along with the rest of the team in Abu Dhabi

Getting down to business, things were looking about how we anticipated up through qualifying.  After qualifying on Saturday, however, we ran into some issues.

We failed front wing deflection test according to Article 3.15 of the FIA 2014 Formula One Technical Regulations.  Rather than fight, the team accepted the decision of the stewards, and we were relegated to starting from the pit lane rather than simply the back of the grid as the violation was related to the performance of the car.  Because this was after the qualifying session and Vettel’s fastest lap in Practice 3 was quicker than Ricciardo’s, Vettel started ahead of Ricciardo in the pit lane.

Away from the track, Jason, Sam and I went to see the new Hunger Games movie Saturday evening.  The movie wasn’t bad, but the ending and anticipation for the next one is abrupt and disappointing.  It’d be one thing if it were a TV show, where the next episode is the next week.  But it’s a year until the next one is released!  That’s too long for a cliff hanger, but I suppose this makes sense from a money-making point of view.  My suggestion is to wait until the next one comes out and to watch them back to back.

Anyway, even later Saturday evening, my Terps were playing football against the University of Michigan, and I was lucky enough to be able catch this one.  My alma mater was sporting their awesome White Ops uniforms.

Quarterback C.J. Brown dons the awesome "White Ops" uniform

So of course I threw on my white ops hoodie and grabbed a margarita and watched the game with Jason.  Lo’ and behold, the Terps pulled out an awesome victory over the Wolverines.  That was a great way to end my night.  Go Terps!

Me and my "White Ops" hoodie.  And RCVD in the background, of course.

On Sunday, I went to the factory for race support for the final time this season.  The race went phenomenally well for Ricciardo, who despite the start from pit lane was able to move up to an impressive fourth place behind Hamilton and the two Williams drivers, Massa and Bottas.  Rosberg, Hamilton’s teammate and lone opponent for the world title, fell all the way back to 14th after suffering from reliability problems.  Hamilton therefore won the race and the Drivers’ Championship with a pretty impressive performance, nobody able to close the gap due to their homologated power units and superior integration.  Vettel had a great race, but getting stuck behind McLaren driver Magnussen in the middle portion of the race destroyed chances of a good finish.  Unable to overtake for several laps, strategy was affected quite negatively.  Vettel was relegated to an 8th place finish, not the ideal way to finish his tenure with the team.

Under the lights in Abu Dhabi

As clinched in Brazil, Infiniti Red Bull Racing snagged second place in the Constructors’ Championship, the only team to beat Mercedes during the season.  Ricciardo finished off a wonderful first season with the team by finishing third in the Drivers’ Championship.

Sunset on my first (partial) season in F1

The week following the race was a busy one.  In Abu Dhabi, the team along with Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz, Jr. (a Red Bull junior driver who won the Formula Renault 3.5 championship and who will take over Jean-Eric Vergne’s seat at Scuderia Torro Rosso for the 2015 season) ran some very productive tests.  Later in the week, Ricciardo was back at the simulator, and we had a bit more interaction.  He’s a really funny guy, and it’s great to get to know him on a more personal level.

To cap off the week, Jason and I, missing our Thanksgiving festivities at home, decided to host a last-minute belated Thanksgiving at our flat.  We went to Costco Friday evening, which also happened to be payday, to get a turkey.  We walked out with a turkey, an Xbox One, a huge jar of Dutch pickles, and two bottles of premade margarita.  Priorities.

What happens when you combine payday and Costco?

Jason and I prepped the turkey, stuffing, and gravy along with some cheese and crackers.  Jason had a great time stuffing the turkey.  Meanwhile, Sam, Will (Burton) and Gareth came over to join in the festivities, bringing a few more appetizers along with them.

Appetizers, because they're necessary on Thanksgiving

Costco had only turkey crowns, not the entire bird, so it was missing the wings and legs like you’d have on a traditional Thanksgiving turkey at home.  Taking a page out of the NFL’s Thanksgiving playbook (pun intended), I decided to sew on some legs.  6 of them.  Chicken legs.  And of course, it was first covered in bacon to “protect the skin for a bit.”  Nah, not really.  That was just so we could eat bacon.

The awesome 6 chicken-legged turkey...slightly crispy on the skin, but delicious!

Everybody brought sides, and we had a full Thanksgiving meal.  Epic would describe it, as everything came out great.  We missed the cranberries, but we’ll remember next time.  We did, however, grab a massive apple pie and ice cream.


I was nearly comatose after the meal (I did have to actually nap), so I waited many hours before partaking in dessert.  We also watched some good ol’ American college football as Jason’s USC Trojans destroyed Notre Dame.  The Brits gave Jason and me some insight into rugby as we watched the match of Wales versus South Africa.  Brutal stuff, but fun to watch once you have a clue as to what’s going on!  We missed being with our families back at home for Thanksgiving, but it was a nice way to make do with some good friends and good food!

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