FormulaNerds had the amazing opportunity to interview a rising star in the F1 community.
Based in Switzerland, Krystina Emmanouilides is a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Development Engineer with the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN F1 Team.
Living in the city centre of Zurich, Emmanouilides enjoys a short commute to the factory in the countryside district of Hinwil.
With the covid-19 circumstances, a mandatory government order was set in place that pushed the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN team to adapt their communication measures. Luckily the majority of Krystina’s work is done on the computer. To keep a balance though, she developed hobbies such as gardening, growing tomatoes, baking banana bread and taking language classes to learn German. The flexibility with work from home allowed for a smooth transition.
Krystina knew from a young age that she wanted to work in motorsport though. She was surrounded by Formula 1. While playing football, her club was based next to the Albert Park Circuit. From there, Krystina was determined and decided to pursue engineering as a career path.
Emmanouilides expressed, “CFD operates within the aerodynamics department. We create and maintain the computer simulations for aerodynamic testing. We’re constantly correlating the wind tunnel and track data. Then the aerodynamicists work within the technical regulations and aim to overcome limitations. We focus on making things move efficiently and quicker.”
Numerous checks are necessary to ensure increasing simulation quality. The best part about her job is the short turnaround of projects and getting to do a variety of things. There are a wide range of jobs to do with the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN team.
Krystina claimed, “the hardest part about my job is working within the regulations. In doing so, knowing that maybe you’re not doing the best you could do because of the limitation but it’s part of the problem-solving.” We see how regulations can be challenging for teams regarding strategies especially during race weekends in Formula 1.
For favourite tracks, the 30-year old loves the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. She likes the contrast between nature and machine. When you see it from TV and all the greenery around it and then F1 in the middle of it, it’s quite striking. However, home drums beat first.
Emmanouilides elated while smiling, “For me though, my favourite track is always going to be Melbourne. I’ve been to it so many times as a kid growing up. You know, usually, it’s the first race of the season. There’s a lot of excitement. When the weather is good, it’s a great atmosphere. Most of the drivers like going there. It would be hard to overtake Melbourne as my favourite.”
We’ve all enjoyed the intense rivalry among teams this season. Krystina shared how it’s nice to see a bit more competition. It makes the races more exciting to watch as we look forward to the future. It’s all about the anticipation.
This season, there’s been a focus on diversity and inclusion with the progress of motorsport. The Aussie admitted that there are strong allies in the drivers. They use their platforms to send out messages on diversity and inclusion. She’s got great admiration for the work that Formula 1 and Racing Pride are doing to make the community more welcoming and include everyone as well as teams and the media to highlight social issues.
She said, “I would like to see more action by Formula 1. At the end of the day, we can argue that F1 is the symptom, not the disease and there’s a lot more that F1 can do to improve the experiences of all marginalised people, not just within the sport but within society by using their platform. There’s a lot of work being done and it’s becoming more evident in the last two or three years but there’s always more that can be done.”
As an industry ambassador for Racing Pride, Krystina has done work with companies and teams. This includes allowing others to share their experiences and having training sessions to educate on inclusive language. It’s been a brilliant opportunity for her to meet like-minded people and push to make things better for all.
Increasing visibility is key as we work towards attracting people to the sport to work in whatever area they may be interested in. It’s important that people see someone like them where they would like to be. This goes back to the phrase, ‘see it, be it’ and putting it into action.
Recently, Krystina became an ambassador for the FIA Girls on Track Australia program. FIA Girls on Track is a global, not-for-profit initiative launched by former F1 development driver, Susie Wolff. Krystina is mentoring young girls into various avenues within motorsport. There’s a big drive to help open the entry points and improve diversity in the sport. With this amazing work, we’re excited to see what Krystina Emmanouilides explores next in the future.
Headline Image Credit: Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN.
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