12 Finalists Revealed in Infiniti Performance Engineering Academy

Infiniti have announced the twelve hopefuls that will participate in the World Finals of the Infiniti Performance Engineering Academy. The academy is active to try and discover the world’s next potential Formula One engineering stars.

A 12-month engineering role with reigning Formula One Constructors’ Champions Infiniti Red Bull Racing is up for grabs for the winner, including accommodation in the United Kingdom, an Infiniti company car and a full salary.

Initially there were 1,500 international engineering students representing over 100 universities, but now the final twelve have been announced. Four American, three Chinese, two Australian, one Briton, a Malaysian and a Sudanese student have made the final cut.

The 12 finalists are:

  • Christien Blencowe, 25, from Melbourne, Australia (Engineering at Monash University)
  • Andrew Trathen, 22, from Melbourne, Australia (Engineering at Monash University)
  • Qin Li, 22, from Hunan, China (Vehicle Engineering at Tongji University)
  • Wei Zhao Zhang, 22, from Beijing, China (Engineering at Tsinghua University)
  • Yijia He, 22, from Sichuan Province in China (Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College in London)
  • Yoga Nadaraajan, 21, from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (studies Electronics Engineering at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)
  • William Priest, 23, from Exeter, UK (studies Mechanical Engineering at the University of Exeter)
  • Alejandro Diaz, 22, from Miami, Florida (studies Science in Mechanical Engineering at Florida International University)
  • Eric LaRoche, 25, from Hamilton Square, New Jersey, (studies Science in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park)
  • Jason Zide, 21, from Laguna Beach in California (studies Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southern California)
  • Austin Volk, 22, from Oregon (studies Science in Mechanical Engineering at Oregon State University)
  • Alaa Ahmed, 23, from Sudan. She studies Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Universiti Tenaga Nasional in Malaysia

Before the British Grand Prix in July, the twelve finalists will attend a three-day shootout event at Infiniti’s European Technical Center at Cranfield and at Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s factory in Milton Keynes. The candidates will face a series of intensive interviews, practical tests and technical challenges, which will all be overseen by leading figures from both Infiniti and Infiniti Red Bull Racing.

Andreas Sigl, the Global Director of Infiniti Formula One has been leading the team that were going through the applicants, and he has been very impressed by the standard. He felt it was a hard choice to cut the number of applicants down to just twelve.

“We have spent the last few weeks reviewing the applications,” said Sigl. “The quality of them has been very impressive.  It was very encouraging to see such interest from so many young engineers from around the world and we look forward to finding the next big Formula One engineering talent in the final stage of the process.”

Chief Technical Officer of Infiniti Red Bull Racing Adrian Newey believes the programme is exciting for the young engineers coming through colleges and universities from around the world. Newey will reveal the three competition winners on July 3rd.

“The Infiniti Performance Engineering Academy is an exciting initiative for young engineering students to become inspired and realize their dream of working in the pinnacle of motorsport, Formula One,” said Newey. “Judging by the applications submitted, it is great to see so much passion and enthusiasm from our engineers of the future.”