Jonathan Page followed his passion for motor sports and has won the manufacturers’ championship in the US equivalent of Formula One for four years running. Now he works at Mercedes in some spin off projects.
What did you learn in your time at Imperial, in class and out?
"The whole life experience really, in terms of getting on with people, all the interaction, living and surviving on your own. I also learnt how to become a skilled engineer."
Can you tell me a little bit about your studies at Imperial?
"The lecture content was well presented and quite varied. With a good mix of lectures and tutorials we weren’t bombarded with information, we got to practice it out as well."
What is your fondest memory of your time at Imperial?
"My fourth year projects are my fondest memory because we were able to specialize in an area of our choice. So I was able to focus on motor sports, which was the area I wanted to work in later on."
What jobs have you done since graduation?
"I spent a year working for Qindtiq defence company on their graduate scheme rotating around different areas. These included a commercial placement and an aircraft systems engineer placement. It wasn’t what I wanted to do; I wanted to get into motor sports so I was actively looking for employment while I was there. Then I got a job with Ilmor engineering who do motorsport for indy cars (the American equivalent of Formula One) in the US. I worked for that company for eight and a half years, enabling me to get involved in engineering in depth - manufacture and design, getting components made and tested - the whole life cycle, including going to the track and doing some of the trackside engineering work.
Six months ago I switched companies and I’m now working for Mercedes High Performance Engines (the company that makes Formula One engines). I’m working in a split off group on some exciting projects that are not in the public domain yet."
How has what you learnt at Imperial helped you in your career so far?
"I use my engineering degree quite a lot. Every day I use the skills and sometimes I have to get out my notes to check and remember things."
What have been your career highlights?
"I did really well on the indy car programme I worked on. We won the manufacturers’ championship four years in a row at Ilmor. The whole process was a highlight - working closely with a group of people to make an engine, getting it working and testing it and then racing it and winning a competition."
What are your plans for the future?
"I’ve only just started with the company I’m in now so I hope to stay there for another five to ten years working my way up towards a chief engineer role from my current design engineer role."
What would be your advice to current students?
"Get involved in the practical aspects of your course as much you can. Try to do summer work placements because taking the theory into a practical context always helps your learning. Enjoy the time as much as possible, and enjoy London – when you’re working in London you don’t get a chance to enjoy it as much as when you are a student in London – and join as many clubs as possible."
What’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make?
"Changing jobs really – six months ago I moved from a company I was well established in with a good group of friends and a set way of working. Changing all of that, moving somewhere else with hopefully the prospect of furthering myself was quite hard; it was hard to break away."
What are you most proud of in your life?
"I’m proud of managing to do well in academia, getting good jobs, yet keeping a work life balance so that I fit in sports and am able to keep fit and active. I’m lucky enough to do what I’m passionate about - I’m interested in motor sports and I get to work in it every day."