Last month Williams and Autosport announced Martins Zalmans, from Bath University as the winner of the 2017 Autosport Williams Engineer of the Future Award.
The award was launched in 2015 and names an engineering student from a UK university as a rising star of Formula One engineering, and supports them with an accelerated career development programme at Williams.
Each application was carefully looked over by a panel of judges which was made up of Paddy Lowe (Chief Technical Officer at Williams), Nicola Salter (HR Director at Williams), Edd Straw (Autosport magazine), Tony Purnell (Former Team Principal of the Jaguar and Red Bull Formula One teams and Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor at the University of Cambridge), and Richard Parry-Jones CBE (previously Group Vice President of Global Product Development, Chief Technical Officer and Head of Global R&D Operations at Ford Motor Company)
The entrants were reduced down to five finalists who then took part in a two-day assessment workshop at the Williams headquarters in Grove in October, evaluating their skills with a range of engineering tasks, testing their teamwork and approach, and the depth and breadth of their technical knowledge, to determine personality fit and leadership traits.
Zalmans will now join Williams on a two-year placement in an accelerated development programme, gaining knowledge from senior engineers who will mentor him before he finds his specialism.
First and second year award winners, Elisabeth Thompson and Sam O’Neill, are currently at Williams on their respective placements, and will provide a reference for Martins as to what to expect during his initial two-year programme at Williams.
“This award is about finding a leader of the future, so a great engineer who may take on a senior leadership role in future years in the sport.” said Lowe.
“We had great candidates but in the end, the judges were unanimous in picking Martins as our winner for this year. His technical understanding was extremely high and he’s very motivated to be an engineer. He came from Latvia on his own initiative to study for his A-Levels and pursue a career in the industry, and he has a real love of both the practical and theoretical sides of engineering.
“Martins will now complete his degree before joining us in September 2018, where he will begin his two-year programme that will be specially tailored to him. We look forward to welcoming him to the team.”
Stuart Williams, Publishing Director, Autosport added “Now in its third successful year, this award has become established as a major identifier of first class engineering talent – a path to an extraordinary career in Formula One.
“Autosport is proud to participate in the selection process and we thank Williams Martini Racing for their dedication and commitment to the programme. Martins is clearly one to watch and we wish him every success in his career, which roars forward from here.”