A TALENTED young engineering student from Wollongong, New South Wales, will be joining Renault’s Formula 1 team from October after winning his way into the Infiniti Engineering Academy.
Jacob Debono, 23, was selected from 500 entries in the Asia and Oceania region, beating nine other finalists, to score his place in the 2017 Academy.
The prize means Debono will be provided with travel, accommodation, a company car, and salary while he completes his 12 months of work alongside Infiniti and Renault’s teams.
Jacob Debono, centre
Debono’s prize is split into two halves, with six months spent working at Renault’s Formula 1 Team Technical Centre in the UK, and the second six months at Infiniti’s European Technical Centre.
The young Aussie engineer is one of seven regional winners, with contestants from Canada, China, Europe, Mexico, the Middle East and the United States joining him during the placement.
“When I was standing there and Nico Hülkenberg opened the envelope and read out my name, I couldn’t believe it,” Debono said.
“To be able to spend a year working with both an automotive manufacturer and an F1 Team is absolutely invaluable experience.
“I’m still letting it all sink in, but I feel very privileged to be here and it’s an opportunity I mustn’t take for granted.”
Jacob Debono, second from right
This is the fourth year the Infiniti Engineering Academy has been held.
“With every edition of the Academy, we are more and more impressed by the amount of interest received from students all over the world and the incredible level of the talent attracted,” Infiniti Motorsport global director Tommaso Volpe said.
“Students have seen the accomplishments of our former Academy graduates, who have forged successful careers in both automotive and motorsport and, as a result, more students than ever before want to participate to get this once-in-a-lifetime engineering experience to launch their careers.
“With Formula 1 becoming more relevant to the automotive industry and with an increased focus of the placements this year being on the road car development, we are training a new generation of engineers who will play a key role in the crossover between the two industries.”