Emmanouilides keen to inspire others on her pathway

Wednesday 10 November, 2021
Krystina Emmanouilides is the latest to become a Motorsport Australia's FIA Girls on Track Ambassador.
For a young person growing up, knowing what they want to be when they're older is not often a simple goal to define, but to successfully end up doing what they always wanted to do is even rarer.   

However in the case of Krystina Emmanouilides, who dreamed of one day working for a Formula 1 team, she is one of those rare people who are right where they want to be. And belong to be.   
   
From a young age, she wanted to be an engineer, and that desire only grew when she started gaining more of an interest in mathematics and science during high school.   
   
While her family is full of architects and designers, Emmanouilides had the opportunity to follow in their footsteps, but deep down she knew that she truly wanted to work as an engineer in Formula 1. She wanted to create her own pathway.  
   
And so her challenging journey to the pinnacle of world motorsport began upon graduating high school in Australia.   
   
At first it wasn’t easy. The information wasn’t readily available and a clear pathway to working for a Formula 1 team was hard to come by. But she found enough to steer her in the direction of her next destination. The United Kingdom.   
   
From there, she spent four years getting a Bachelor of Motorsport Engineering with honours at the prestigious Oxford Brookes University before completing her Masters at Durham University.   
   
Despite having six years of tertiary education behind her and the desire to work in Formula 1 stronger than ever, her dream remained out of reach, as the opportunities remained scarce.

Soon after the completion of her Masters, she was employed at Jaguar Land Rover as a Vehicle Dynamics Engineer, before securing a role closer aligned to her dream – a CFD Application Engineer at Exa PowerFLOW.
   
As the years went on, she gained plenty of knowledge, stability, experience and contacts at her new job, but the opportunity to go in F1 still eluded her. Until it finally came in 2018 when she applied, interviewed and successfully obtained a role with Sauber Motorsport, whose entry in Formula 1 are the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN Formula 1 Team, as a CFD Development Engineer.  
   
The role sees her and her team work in the aerodynamic department and are responsible for the team's aerodynamic simulations – a crucial cog, given aero testing is limited and her team figures out what’s best to test in the actual wind tunnel.  
 
It’s been three years since Emmanouilides moved to Zurich and the now 30-year-old is embracing her life in Switzerland and reaping the rewards for her sacrifices and hard work.   

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"I thought I would design cars growing up but I wasn’t good at drawing. And then in high school, I started being more interested in sciences and maths and although I had the opportunity to do design, I knew engineering was for me,’ Emmanouilides explained. 
   
“As I grew up, the classes I was doing began to shape my interests and seeing all the pit wall engineers when watching Formula 1 on television inspired me a little, but I always knew I wanted to work in Formula 1. It really captivated me.   
   
“I was then really disappointed after graduating from Oxford Brookes not to find a job, so I took on a Masters, because a degree wasn’t enough.  
   
"However I didn’t lose motivation because I knew it would one day happen, I just had to be patient. I hadn’t moved across the world not to work in Formula 1 and I kept working towards my goal.  
   
“Getting the job at EXA was good because they had a lot of customers in Formula 1 and every time I walked through the doors of an F1 team, it just felt incredible and it gave me the motivation I needed because I had begun to get a little comfortable where I was.   

“For me, F1 is such a closed sport. There is this allure to it because it’s so exclusive. You don’t really see much more than what is on television, so it was great to see the inside of teams and how they work.  
   
“And when I got that opportunity with Sauber, it all happened pretty quickly and I remember having this weird feeling before my first day because I was both nervous and excited. But the minute I walked through the door – it was a nice feeling. It felt like home.”  
   
Now a permanent fixture part of the Sauber team, Emmanouilides wants to help other young Australians follow their dreams and overcome the barriers that she had to go through.   
   
Having become the latest FIA Girls on Track ambassador for Motorsport Australia, she believes she can give young girls the kick start they require to get to where she is now and help with their pathway into motorsport.  
   
“I am super excited about being with Girls on Track now,” Emmanouilides added.  
   
“I often get messages asking what I did to get where I am and how I did it, so I am really happy to be able to give as much advice as I can because my journey here was quite challenging – especially with the lack of information out there.  
   
“If you can start increase reach of motorsport and F1 in young kids, it plants that seed and helps them see and they can have the opportunity  
   
“I never want to leave F1 until I am walking the hallways and there are just as many women as there are men and unless we start helping young girls to see that they do have opportunities in F1, they can be engineers and things like this are going to change. It’s something I am very passionate about.”  
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