Alonso students in the driving seat

Monday, 04 August 2008

F1 racing driver, Fernando Alonso, announces second wave of student scholarships.

Formula One racing driver, Fernando Alonso, has announced the second group of Spanish students to study motorsports at Oxford Brookes University under his successful scholarship scheme.

Alonso awarding the scholarships
Click box above to play.

The 12 students have been selected out of more than 20 shortlisted candidates to study for a one-year masters in Motorsport Engineering, Racing Engine Design or Advanced Engineering starting in September.

Alonso's private sponsor, Spanish bank CajAstur, will fund each of the students' fees and living expenses over the year.

Speaking from a press conference in Madrid, Fernando Alonso, described the CajAstur Internship programme as a 'brilliant initiative that can help people who want to work in Formula One and could open the door for young Spanish engineers.'

Professor Geoff Goddard from Oxford Brookes was on the selection panel for the CajAstur-Alonso scholarships.

He added: 'The scheme started because Alonso recognised there were very few Spanish engineers in the whole of Formula One and thought he could help increase the numbers by sponsoring them in this way.

'The masters' courses that we offer are very specialised so as a finishing school for aspiring racing engineers it's a very good starting point that can take them into meaningful jobs in the industry.

'It's excellent that a Formula One champion is putting something back into the industry in this way and is helping to further the careers of the racing engineers of tomorrow.'

Twenty-three-year-old Elisabeth Lopez de Sola finished her degree in Industrial Engineering in Barcelona last year and was teaching at her old University when she decided to apply for the scholarship.

She said: 'It's a dream come true because I have always wanted to dedicate my life to motorsports and one day work in Formula One, so I think this is the first step.'

Carlos Galbally, 23, has been working for Daimler in Stuttgart, Germany in research and development over the past year.
He said: 'I think this is a great opportunity especially bearing in mind that Oxford Brookes is one of the most prestigious universities for Racing Engine masters. Getting the scholarship is really important... it's not only that you did the masters but how you did it.'

Santiago Perez Dwyer, 27, is keen to work in the competition circuit in the future and says Alonso is a real inspiration: 'He has got to where he is in Formula One by working and has proved it can be done.'

Fifty students studied for a motorsport masters degree at Oxford Brookes in 2007/8 including the first group of Spanish students to be awarded the scholarship. The courses are taught by experienced staff, many with first-hand racing experiences. Fernando Alonso's first F1 world championship title in 2005 with Renault was powered by a V-10 engine initially designed at TWR under Professor Geoff Goddard.