The science department was very pleased to welcome Jock Clear – the voice on the radio during the races behind many Formula 1 champions for over 21 years. He has had the distinction of performing the key role of race engineer to many F1 world champions, including Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve, Jenson Button, Michael Schumacher and most recently Lewis Hamilton – taking him and Mercedes to driver and constructor world champions in 2014.
His role and ability is critical to the success of the drivers, and race engineers maintain a unique relationship with their drivers, based upon mutual trust and respect. As well as being an exceptionally gifted engineer, Jock has outstanding communication skills, empathy and a tremendous sense of humour all of which combine to allow him to build relationships with drivers and teams to ensure that all are working at their maximum capacity. He has to make critical and often split second decisions that are key, take full responsibility for the ultimate set up of the car and manage driver’s large egos, with some tough love as and when necessary.
Jock has arguable enjoyed as successful career in F1, spanning over 25 years that compares favourably to any other engineer. In fact his success and role last year at Mercedes Benz, leading Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes to both driver and constructor championships breaking all previous records, has led to him being head hunted by Ferrari as Engineering Director for the entire Ferrari F1 racing team, one of the most coveted positions in the business.
During his day at Tring Jock led a series of presentations/discussions with a range of students from year 7 to sixth form. He described to students how engineers use their skills and knowledge of science to create ergonomically interesting and useful items for human use. He shared many stories from the racetrack and described how engineers have worked to make racing cars faster but also safer, with their having been no deaths on the track since the death of the racing legend Ayrton Senna.
Jock spent lunchtime in the 6th Form centre, where as well engineering he discussed with students other roles in F1, including logistics management (moving an entire F1 team every 2 weeks during the season) through to hospitality, marketing and media
Jock brought in a number of items from Mercedes F1 cars and everyone enjoyed playing with Nico Rosbergs steering wheel and marvelling at the weight of the wing. As Jock is moving to Ferrari to run their engineering team, in the summer – he has less work to do at Mercedes and described how he is embarking on another engineering challenge – to make a copper dress. He has promised to return to Tring when the dress is made!