For Part 1 of our series looking at what some of our team riders do as their day job and how this helps (or hinders!) their ability to train, we hear from trike impresario Gavin Hinxman, who has now been time trialling for most of his life.
For sure some cyclists will know me from my cycling, I’ve been at it long enough – 37 years and only just turned 50!
I’m a time trailer & ‘always’ have been. Even though I’ve only ridden the trike for the last year in less than 10 events – some people know me as that D2Z guy with the aero trike!
What many don’t know is what I do when I’m not on the bike or asleep – that’s the day-job….
I’m a qualified Mechanical Engineer.
I work at Brixworth in Northamptonshire, at Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains. We are World Champions! We design, manufacture, test & supply the power units to our works team Mercedes Petronas plus two customer teams, Williams F1 & Sahara Force India F1.
As well as our F1 work, we are also working on a power unit to power the first street legal hyper car with a formula one powertrain, Project ONE.
I’ve been here for 21 years, so started when I was 29. I’ve done loads of different jobs all-over-the-world – F1 Playboy stylee……not! I’m firmly based in Brixworth!
I am Programme Manager, in fact I was the first one here back in the early 2000’s.
I’m presently the Facilities Programme Manager with two others reporting into me. I’ve been F1 engine PM, ERS (Energy Recovery System) PM, Build & Test PM, plus over the years I’ve run a manufacturing section, Engine & battery build sections & their associated test sections.
I’ve been Facilities PM before, 13 years ago – I managed the construction of the present site & the relocation of the business from the old site elsewhere in Brixworth.
I’ve just picked up a few new projects, all associated with the Project ONE project & we are at our busiest ever. We have nearly 1000 people here, all making (for 2018) 3 engines for each of our 6 drivers in F1! (plus test & dev engines)
I love my job, I must do – I’m here from 06.30 in the morning & don’t normally leave until 18.30 in the evening (official hours are 8 – 5.30!)
So what do I do? – I get things to happen. I plan, I cost, I time, I communicate, I coordinate & I also ‘do’.
What we do is very confidential, we have a phone ban on site (except for us with company phones), we have a USB stick ban (to stop people taking data & to help prevent bad stuff coming in!) and we are not allowed to show people around without management sign off. (It all sounds a bit prison-like doesn’t it – it’s not like that at all!) Its F1, its big business, not just sport but huge marketing when we are doing well & we have been doing well – 4 consecutive F1 world championships. If we share our ideas, then we could lessen our advantage. If we win a race, the next day Mercedes sell more cars – Fact! Mercedes came back into F1 to lower the average age of a Merc driver by 10 years, it works.
We get to see the drivers a few times a year, we will see Lewis & Valtteri at the factory a few times, they also come to the Christmas Party. We see Nikki Lauda quite often (he’s our Chairman)
I work here, I eat here & I’ve very nearly slept here, I probably do 2 or 3 all-nighter’s per year (a 30+ hr day!) I do whatever the job needs, the quicker that I get my job done, the quicker we go from concept to race track – that’s the idea.
And how does this affect my training….. it doesn’t. I’ve never missed a prescribed session, I just do it earlier in the morning (I’ve been on the turbo at 4am) or later in the evening, or go home & come back. What it does affect though is sleep hours & family time. That’s why Helen comes with me to events – we get to spend 6 hours in the car together, no radio, just catch up time. I have a very understanding wife!
Gavin Hinxman, February 2018