Bath student named winner of prestigious engineering award

University of Bath engineering student Martins Zalmans has been named winner of the 2017 Autosport Williams Engineer of the Future Award.

MEng Mechanical Engineering student Martins Zalmans received the accolade at the annual Autosport Awards at Grosvenor House Hotel, London, where he was announced as the latest recipient of the prestigious award.

Launched in 2015, the Autosport Williams Engineer of the Future Award is an exciting annual award recognising a rising star of Formula One engineering which supports them through an accelerated career development programme at Williams.

Martins was selected as the winner from five student finalists chosen from the top eight UK universities. Finalists took part in a two-day assessment at the Williams HQ where candidates were challenged across a range of engineering tasks, testing their teamwork and approach, and the depth and breadth of their technical knowledge.

In addition to technical tasks, finalists also completed a professional development personality analysis and sat an engineering exam written by Williams Chief Technical Officer Paddy Lowe.

On winning the award, Martins said: “I'm extremely grateful for the invaluable opportunity to prove and advance my capabilities as an engineer in the autosport field. I'm hoping to pursue a career in Formula 1 and this award is a fantastic way to kick-start it.”

Martins will now join Williams on an initial two-year placement. He will be mentored by senior engineers before specialising. During the placement, Martins will also get the unique opportunity to work in the team’s race operations division and gain experience at a Grand Prix.

Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Professor Gary Lock commended Martins on his achievement, adding: “The Department has close connections with F1 racing teams through our Formula Student team and industrial placements. Well done to Martins who I’m sure has a bright future at Williams.”

Paddy Lowe, Chief Technical Officer at Williams, said: “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. 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.”

The students were assessed by a panel of judges comprising leading industry, academic, media and Formula One personnel including: 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.

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