Ferrari representative on microphone

Shell enjoys, with Ferrari, one of the longest running and most successful collaborations in motorsport history.

The partnership started in 1924 when Shell provided lubricants to none other than Enzo Ferrari and still continues to this day. In 2012, Shell celebrated with Scuderia Ferrari on their 500th race together, an unparalleled event in F1. 

Between Shell and Ferrari there is a lesser known, but just as important relationship. We went to Scuderia Ferrari HQ in Maranello, Italy, to speak to three engineers all working for the Ferrari F1 team. What connects all three of them? They each got their first taste of the track at Shell’s Eco-marathon, and we find out how it helped them get some of the most coveted jobs in motorsports. 

Name: Pete

Role: F1 Energy Recovery System (ERS) Design & Development

Time at Ferrari: 5 years.

Hi Pete, what do you do at Scuderia Ferrari?

I work in the ERS Department and lead a team of people.

Together, we have to keep improving to make sure the Formula One engine is by far and away the most efficient car engine used anywhere in the world. We have to use the fuel in a really, really efficient way. In 2014, they introduced hybridization. So now, today, whenever the driver presses the throttle, about one sixth of the power comes from electricity. So, if you remove it, the car is not competitive at all.

The rules for the electric part came together with the rules that limited the amount of fuel that you can use.

What did you learn from your Shell Eco-marathon experience? 

When I did it, it was pretty different to the teams you see today. We used an engine from a hedge trimmer and my 11-year-old cousin was the driver because he was the smallest person in the school!

Even so, the whole aura of the event... people preparing, getting set-up, everything being organized perfectly, it kind of appealed to me a lot. The whole experience, kind of building up to something for a year, and then the event happening and everything you did in that year culminating in that thing. And it was then, I said, "I want to follow a career in motor racing."

It was my first proper exposure to a race track, and from that point I decided that F1 was what I was going to do and I didn't accept anything else. Whereas other students looked for other jobs in banking, I concentrated on racing teams.

What would you say to anyone thinking about taking part in Shell Eco-marathon?

If you wanted to go into a career in sport like motor racing, you have to be able to put a lot of effort in behind the scenes then perform at an event where you have nowhere to hide.

That’s the thing with sport, if you are not good enough, everybody sees it. All you can do is prepare, work together, and pay attention to every detail - and the Eco-marathon helps you understand that. 

You can't do it alone you need a team and you work up to it together and you do it together. There's not that many events that give you that kind of thing.

Ferrari students shake hands

Name: Giulio

Role: Power Unit (PU) Engineer

Time at Ferrari: 2 years

Shell Eco-marathon team: H2PolitO - Politecnico di Torino - 2017


Hi Giulio, tell us what you do?

I work in the PU department.

You were the first winner (in 2018) of the exclusive Shell Eco-marathon Internship Programme, how did you find out you had been selected? 

I received an email while I was travelling in Australia. I had finished university and was not sure what I wanted to do, I was studying so yeah it was nice to get an email from Ferrari!

What’s been your coolest moment so far? 

My coolest moment at Scuderia Ferrari is probably when I met the drivers. We work in a big open plan space and everyone has their heads working on something. One day not long after I started I could feel someone standing in front of me, I looked up and it was Sebastian Vettel. It was the first time I had seen him in person, and it kind of made me realise the size of what I was working on. Now of course it is more normal to see them.

Describe an average day at Ferrari.

The best thing about Ferrari is that no two days are quite the same. It keeps it interesting, and you can’t hope for more than that.

What did you learn from Shell Eco-marathon? 

The opportunity that Shell Eco-marathon provided to me is that within three years I’ve gone from being a student, to taking part in Shell Eco-marathon, to working for the number one F1 team in the world.

Shell Eco-marathon taught me lots of things. Working in a team. Learning how to work with other people, we learned how to operate like a real race team. We travelled from place to place and had to problem solve at the last minute to make changes to the engine. This pressure helps you learn how to work in a race team. 

What would you say to anyone thinking about taking part in Shell Eco-marathon? 

Just do it. It is challenging, but don’t hold back. It is so helpful and gives you real experience of what the real world will look like.

Name: Isabella

Role: Performance Engineer

Time at Ferrari: 6 months

Shell Eco-marathon team  H2PolitO - Politecnico di Torino - 2019


Hi Isabella, tell us what you do.

I work in our Performance Engineer Department

What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen at Ferrari?

I only arrived six months ago, but for now I’m amazed by the technical innovation I see every day. The drivers are like machines the way they are so sensitive to everything that happens in the car.

Describe an average day.

So I sit with the drivers when they are in the simulator and listen to what they have to say, make a note of it and make sure the correct adaptations are made to the simulator.

If there’s a problem I work on that, sometimes it can take the whole day.

At first I was pretty amazed at having to sit with the drivers , but now it’s normal, they are just normal people.

What did you learn from Shell Eco-marathon?

Shell Eco-marathon was important as it led to me changing my degree and working out what I wanted to do with my life. It led to me switching from mechanical engineering to mechatronic engineering midway through my degree.

It allowed me to test myself and carry out tests in real life racing environments. You can test yourself in very challenging positions. You have to solve problems together, model work together, you learn how to solve challenges and grow as a team.

What message have you got for people thinking about doing Shell Eco-marathon?

It will be challenging, but the most rewarding thing that you can do. Go for it.

H2PolitO - Politecnico di Torino

You may also like

Male driver holds helmet next to car

Under the hood with team TIM UPS INSA

Find out what it takes to become an award winning Shell Eco-marathon team.

Shell Pecten

Shell Eco-marathon Team

4 min read

Three drivers stand in front of their vehicles

Shell Eco-marathon: Everything you need to know

Get the lowdown on Shell’s unique global student engineering programme

Shell Pecten

Shell Eco-marathon Team

4 min read

Students gather around vehicle

Shell Eco-marathon Technical tips: Get them here

Find tips from our Global Technical Director to help you prepare for your event

Shell Pecten

Shell Eco-marathon Team

3 min read