Engineered to succeed: From regional NSW to Formula One racing

Engineered to succeed: From regional NSW to Formula One racing

QUT alumnus Jaden Partridge brings new meaning to living life in the fast lane, graduating from QUT in 2018 and now working for the Red Bull Racing Formula One Team.

Jaden’s journey began in regional New South Wales, where, from a young age, he was fascinated by cars and mechanical devices.

“It started with building billy carts with my father to race down a hill, and soon developed into car restoration and racing karts competitively at 13,” Jaden said.

He said his passion for motorsport was something that motivated him through his high school education.

“I tried to integrate it into my classes as much as possible – peaking in my final year of high school where I designed a hand control kit to enable people with disabilities to compete in kart racing competitions.”

Jaden Partridge
Jaden Partridge on the job with Renault F1’s INFINITE Engineering Academy

Once he graduated from high school, Jaden realised engineering would be an obvious choice for his future career.

During his time at QUT, Jaden travelled to Singapore, Iceland, Sweden and Norway as part of short-term exchanges.

“It gave me the chance to visit industry from geothermal energy generation in Iceland to electric vehicle research in Singapore and broadened my understanding of what engineers do.”

While at QUT, Jaden landed his first break into Formula One with Renault F1 when he won a place on the INFINITI Engineering Academy from more than 4000 applications worldwide.

“It was quite unexpected so early in my career and also special to be the first Australian to be selected to participate in the program.”

Last year Jaden graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and now works with the Red Bull Racing Formula One Team as a simulation and modelling engineer in vehicle dynamics.

“I love working with highly motivated people who are specialists in their field – the quality and level of detail of the vehicle dynamics analysis would be difficult to find in other industries, so I’m enjoying developing my own skillset supported by industry experts.”

Jaden Partridge

He said restrictions on track testing put a greater emphasis on developing mathematical models to be able to simulate vehicle behaviour. Drivers are then able to test these virtual models, created by Jaden and his team, in a ‘driver in the loop’ simulator.

“Simulations enable us to run optimisations prior to an event to understand how different setups or new parts affect the car performance before the car even arrives at the circuit.

“I’ve found it very interesting working to understand how humans perceive different vehicle dynamic characteristics and how we can bring these simulated environments closer to reality.”

Reflecting back on his time at university, Jaden said he learned more from his failures than successes and encouraged other students to reflect on both good and bad experiences.

“Things are never going to go perfectly to plan, so take your failures in your stride and use them to your advantage.”