Engineering student Raoul Al Samarani has earned the career opportunity of a lifetime to work with INFINITI and Renault F1® Team, after being crowned as the Middle East’s winner of the INFINITI Engineering Academy 2019 final.
The 22-year-old mechanical engineering student from Lebanon was selected by a panel of judges from INFINITI, Renault F1® Team, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance and Harvard University, ahead of nine other finalists and hundreds of applicants from around the Middle East in an action-packed final at the Al Masaood INFINITI Showroom in Abu Dhabi.
The INFINITI Engineering Academy is a global search for motivated engineering talent to work across automotive and Formula One™. This unique program is the most successful technical recruitment initiative of its kind, with 50% of past winners securing full time roles at either INFINITI or in F1® following their placement. Through the Academy, INFINITI has successfully recruited talented student engineers in Middle East for six consecutive years.
To compete, the students tackled an intensive program designed to evaluate both technical and soft skills, which included an engineering exam, intensive one-to-one interviews, a decision-making challenge designed by Harvard University Professor Dr. Julia Minson and build a dragster model vehicle. The final challenge tested communication skills with a Q&A session in the form of a press conference with seasoned international journalists.
Samarani will move to the UK in January 2020 for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity where he will spend six months working at the Renault F1® Team’s Technical Center (Enstone) and six months at INFINITI’s European Technical Center (Cranfield). Included in the prize package are travel, accommodation, access to a company car and a competitive salary, as well as the opportunity to work with world-leading engineers at the forefront of the automotive and motorsport industries.
Tommaso Volpe, Director of Global Motorsport & Performance Projects, INFINITI commented, “At INFINITI, we believe that human talent is the driving force behind technology. The Engineering Academy has been incredibly successful; it has allowed us to discover the best emerging talent around the world. In fact, it is no accident that half of our former winners have secured full-time engineering positions in the automotive or in Formula 1™.”
“New engineering solutions are developed minute by minute in Formula 1™ – Track to road technology is more important than ever. We are training a new generation of engineers, with an important role to play in the crossover between the two industries, while empowering them with a unique program by the largest automotive alliance, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi”, concluded Volpe.
Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director, Renault Sport Racing, also added: “Attracting top new talent is crucial for success in Formula 1™, and the INFINITI Engineering Academy helps us to achieve our goal. It takes a unique talent to flourish in this industry, and the quality, in-depth selection process employed by the INFINITI Engineering Academy enables us to search for the right people efficiently. Time is the most precious commodity in Formula One™, knowing the intensive process our new engineering undergraduates have been through before they reach us is very reassuring.”
“The INFINITI Engineering Academy is an initiative that we are very proud to host every year, as we believe in the importance of giving young, talented engineers a chance to change the lives and their career in the automotive industry, providing them with hands-on experience with INFINITI and Renault Sport Formula One Team. We congratulate our Middle East winner, Raoul, and look forward to seeing his growth and hearing about his experience and achievements over the next 12 months”, commented Markus Leithe, Managing Director, INFINITI Middle East.
Commenting on his win, Samarani said, “To have been chosen as a finalist from hundreds of talented young engineers was an honour, and I would have never imagined that I would be here as the winner of this year’s INFINITI Engineering Academy. The process involved many tests, challenges and obstacles that we all were very proud to be able to go through successfully. I am beyond excited for the next 12 months, as I am certain that they will be the months where I build the career of my dreams with INFINITI and Renault F1® Team.”