People & Careers Channel

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Jonathan Vogel


People & Careers Channel

Discuss your career progression, seek advice on your next steps and how to make the most of opportunities. Just started a job? Share your pride with the network!

People & Careers Channel

Discuss your career progression, seek advice on your next steps and how to make the most of opportunities. Just started a job? Share your pride with the network!


Posted by: Jon_Vogel - Posted: March 11, 2021

Hello everyone! I just discovered this page via ASI Connect, and wanted to take the time to introduce myself. This looks like a really incredible resource and I am excited for the opportunity to connect with others.

My name is Jonathan Vogel, and I have come from the USA to pursue an MSc in the UK as part of my ambition to find work in the Motorsports Valley. My background is in vehicle dynamics, and I am interested in exploring the intersection of electrification and new opportunities in shaping driver-vehicle interactions.

My long term goal is to find a position as a Vehicle Performance Engineer or Simulation Modelling Engineer in a top series such as F1, Formula E, etc. Currently I am looking for opportunities to get track-side experience, and I am willing to help out with any work that needs to get done in exchange for some exposure to the track-side environment!

Thanks for having me! Looking forward to meet more like-minded engineers and motorsports aficionados. If anyone is interested in learning about my past projects, check out my portfolio at Pictured is my Formula Student team’s 2018 challenger in some good company 🙂


Good Afternoon Jonathan,

Welcome to Student Motorsport, it’s great to have you as one of our valuable members!

Thank you for your interesting introduction, I am sure many of the members will find this both interesting and inspiring, not least the length that you are going to develop a career in the motorsport industry.

Your website/portfolio is a great way to showcase not only your skills and educational background but also the projects and work you are been fundamental in illustrating your experience and work you have been involved in. We often advise students/graduates to keep some sort of ‘portfolio of experience’ to accompany and support their CV, but this is tremendous!

You certainly have your sights (long-term) set on an interesting job role in the industry, how has life at Coventry been since you moved over, I suppose you won’t have been in much at all during your first year due to the pandemic?

Hi JP,

Thank you for having me, I appreciate the kind words. You’re certainly right, I haven’t been in much since my arrival in September. It’s difficult having limited opportunities to make meet others while far from home, and I haven’t had the chance to engage with the local motorsport community the way I’d wish to. But I think there is always a silver lining to everything – these circumstances have forced me out of my comfort zone to LinkedIn and other platforms, and to find new ways to meet people and get involved.

Coventry is charming though! I sold my car in the US so that I could buy one here and that has given me opportunities to explore the surrounding area at the very least. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with the countryside here, not to mention the meat pies!

Good Afternoon Jonathon,

I hope you’re well, sorry I have been a little slow to come back to you.
Sorry to hear that since your arrival you have seen little contact time with the university, I suppose all is about to change? Have you heard from the university in terms of any potential return to campus prior to summer?

With regards to engaging with the local and wider motorsport community here in the UK, we can certainly help you with that and with networking in the main.

Have you found LinkedIn and ASI Connect much use, I’d be interested to hear about your success on those platforms especially the newly emerged ASI Connect?

Hi JP,

No problem, hope you’re doing well too! I think the university is playing things on the safe side, which I completely understand. It just means going outside of your comfort zone to find opportunities, which is a welcome challenge.

I think I’m starting to get the hang of getting the most out of LinkedIn! ASI connect was a little disappointing, but I think they did the best they could with the tools available. It’s very hard to replicate that “expo” environment where you never know who you might run into and make connections with.

Now that motorsport seasons will be underway soon in the UK, I’m planning my next round of cold calls to local motorsport teams to see where I can get some trackside experience. Do you have any advice you can share? Maybe there are specific series where students have had better luck in the past, or an approach that works better than cold emails?

Good Evening Jonathon,

Good to hear back from you.

All is well here, we’re really busy planning for work experience when we see an improvement in the arrangements around Covid, it’s trick planning for it at this stage, keeping our candidates safe is the top priority. In other news were busy supporting people that are looking to become involved in our Student Motorsport Challenge which I am sure you have read about or seen on the website here.

Nice to see you are using LinkedIn, I too use it, and right from university, much has improved with the platform since then. Look out for lot’s of random connections, and make sure you keep your network as relevant to your industry to keep you on track and exposed to the best opportunities.

Sorry to hear you found ASI a little disappointing, did you give them feedback? I am sure they would find it useful? We’re certainly looking forward to a return to ‘regular expo’s’ in 2022 (fingers crossed).

So how do you approach cold calls if I may ask?

In the meantime we have some useful tips in Part 6 of our Guide to Volunteering’ which may help you:

I hope this helps!

I did see the SMo challenge, it looks really cool! Do you know which schools are competing so far? Would it be possible to get involved even if my school is not entered?

Thanks for sharing that volunteering article as well! I found it quite insightful. I have been working on my own google docs contacts list which has been really helpful for me to keep track of teams and series. Last year, my approach was based on cold-emails, where I briefly summarized my background and my willingness to help out with any work that needs to get done, and I attached a cover letter with some of my past experiences as well.

After reading your piece, I have some new thoughts. I initially disregarded phone calls and snail mail but perhaps that is something to try as well. My other thought is that once racing series start up again, to simply go to the track and try to introduce myself in person. I know I have to be careful with that one and make sure to approach the appropriate people at an appropriate time, not right before the race starts!

One last thought from that piece as far as roles go; I know that my desire is to ultimately become a vehicle performance or simulation modelling engineer. Those roles do not necessarily translate to the trackside environment, and many racing series exist without extensive simulation work being carried out. Because of this, my approach has been much more broad along the lines of “I’ll help with anything”, which is genuine, but do you think there is benefit to being more specific in my approach?

Good Afternoon Jonathon,

It’s great to hear back from you, apologies for the slow response we’re flat out at the moment with the SMo Challenge and other developments of the website coming soon!

I’m so pleased you found the article useful, sounds like you’ve been doing some of what we advise anyway so keep that up and do let us know of any developments we can support you with.

Great question on the SMo Challenge, it’s fab that you are showing an interest. So far we have 1 team/college signed up (press to be announced) but most teams will be taking part in the 2022 championship due to the time constraints (caused by Covid) for getting cars built this season so keep an eye out for that news coming, we anticipate 10-15 entries for the 2022 championship.

If your university is not becoming involved we will be ‘linking’ people up with teams/ driver so they can support them whilst gaining relevant experience so stay tuned, info to follow on this too over the coming weeks.

With regards to your last point, specifically:

– –Because of this, my approach has been much broader along the lines of “I’ll help with anything”, which is genuine, but do you think there is benefit to being more specific in my approach? —

I think you in part have answered your own question, becoming a vehicle performance or simulation modelling engineer does not always translate directly to the trackside environment, but that’s not to say you can’t lead up to securing that position. Simulation is becoming ever more evident in the modern-day racing team and teams are finding simulation far more cost-effective (after initial cost lay put).

Your approach here, of ‘I’ll help with anything’ is, so to speak is not miss-placed as a ‘foot in the door’ will give you crucial experience in many areas. Not least it will lead to you developing well-round soft, communication and employability skills, it’s often the best way into a perhaps fairly ‘closed-door team’ or organisation, which sadly we do see a lot. So a broader approach can sometimes be better fitting. Once you are ‘in the door’ then can you illustrate your interests and get involved in more finer-tuned areas such as the ones you mentioned.

Hi JP,

No problem! I’m sure you and your team have your hands completely full!

I’ve finally started to hear back from teams this week actually! The only people that have responded have told me that they don’t currently have space, but they were all super friendly and willing to recommend another team to try my luck. Hopefully I will strike gold soon.

Another thought crossed my mind, which was to physically drive to a shop to hand-deliver a CV + cover letter. Do you have any thoughts on that? I’m afraid it would come across rudely but I am willing to give anything a shot! I haven’t tried a cold-call yet, so I plan on doing that soon as well.

Good Afternoon Jonathon,

How’s your month been so far, any developments to share with us?

Super pleased to hear how supportive and response teams have been with you, it that continuing at all?

With regards to your question on CV’s I think that it is a good idea but tricky at the moment with regards to COVID restrictions. Have you tried this yet before I elaborate further?

Hi JP,

Pretty good! I just submitted my last assignment, meaning I now have more time to focus on finding a work experience opportunity!

On that line, not much has changed. I used Linkedin messaging and email as my first round of attempts last week. I either didn’t hear back or was notified that there were no openings available. But many were happy to refer me to a different team! My next step is to try follow-up phone calls this week with the teams I have not heard back from yet. I have not tried the hand delivery method, but I am interested to hear if you have more to say.

Good Morning Jonathon,

Great to hear you have been submitting work at university now, are things continuing to improve at Coventry? We’ve been in conversation with a good many educators over the last few weeks regarding our educational racing series, and it seems that they have really struggled to get students back in so far. It’s such a shame to see the students missing out, particularly at university and a welcome relief that things are starting to move again.

With regards to work experience, we too have struggled to reignite our work experience programs so far due to the ongoing complexities and barrier facing the motorsport industry with covid, but as we mentioned things are beginning to improve now and we’ll be ever more active in this area so keep a lookout.

It’s not surprising that people have been helpful, it’s a testament to the good nature of many racing organisations out there, it’s really not all closed doors. Have you received any more positive responses through your LinkedIn enquiries during May?

Hand delivering your CV: Now this is a great talking point…maybe we should start a new post on this one, see what others have to say?

So hand-delivering your CV and intent to work for a particular team or company is a good idea, but a tricky one to get right as everyone has different opinions, is too pushy, too assuming, too ‘old fashioned’…who knows but perhaps trying these post-Coivd restrictions, and given the stalemate, we have all been in might not be such a bad thing to try. Obviously, this can’t be put into action at the moment, nor do we recommend it but maybe in a few weeks time?

On the plus side: Post-Covid restrictions of course, why not try this method as it presents you with a unique opportunity to meet with the owner or management staff based at any given organisation. You can look at it this way too, if you don’t try will you ever know how valuable this method is?

Meeting face to face and unannounced is not something I have done personally but may clear away any preconceptions and give the person you speak with a face to go with the name and your CV giving you the advantage to mould a positive impression of yourself and your credentials.

On the cautionary side: This approach might work well if, and remember this, you approach this politely, without being pushy and you explain that you (for example) were in the area and wanted to show your determination and interest in working for their organisation. You might get lucky and find that you get to talking about a job position, and with someone quicker than you expected. I would advise you perhaps try this with a company that is not high on your priority list in case things go south so to speak?

A better tactic: Again post-covid restrictions, might be to attend events where the people in your gaze may be for example at race weekends, trade or training and networking events. You could for example volunteer to help the organisers of a given event and thus give yourself a ‘better way in’. You will most likely meet people who work in the specific area you interested in and generally, once they find this out, they will more like be open to ‘talking jobs’.

Top Tip: Work on building a relationship first, show interest in them and ask about their organisation before seeking job prospects.

Helpful at all?

Good Afternoon Jonathon.

I hope all is well, and that you found my last response useful?

Have there been any other developments you can share with your career drive?


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