Meet the Crew: Mahindra Performance Engineer Javi Hijano
Posted on: 10 March, 2017
Don't just engineer. Perform.
You can be driven, but can you be as driven as the guy with "Performance" in his title?
Formula E racing has given motorsports a new turn altogether and it's headed straight for the future. No hairpins on this track.
Futuristic designs, electric power, and the thrill of racing in a fast evolving sport - Formula E is all that and so much more. We have been part of this iconic sport of speed since its inception in 2014.
Meet our Performance Engineer - Javi Hijano. Javi joined Mahindra Racing in Season 2 and makes up 50% of our performance engineering team. Today he gives us an exclusive peek into this challenging and exciting role.
How did you begin your career in motorsport?
I completed a Masters degree in Motorsport six years ago. I started working as an assistant to an electronic engineer, which included working on some electric vehicle car projects. I then worked as a Data Engineer in FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), before moving to Formula E as Data and Systems Engineer and joined Mahindra Racing from season two as Performance Engineer.
What are your responsibilities as Performance Engineer during a race weekend?
There are two Performance Engineers in Mahindra Racing. We work on the energy and performance side of the cars including energy management, regenerative braking and race starts.
We work on getting the car to be as fast as possible.
What are your responsibilities as Performance Engineer between race weekends?
Between races, we work on improving the operating systems of the team both on the car and in the garage. We also do a lot of data analysis from previous races with other engineers of the team and prepare simulations for the next race.
What is your favourite thing about working in motorsport?
The best thing for me about working in motorsport is the competitive part of the sport, trying to do our best, to make gains on those around us and to win. I worked with the driver who won the Formula E Driver Championship in season one and that was very emotional. We were a small team and we worked extremely hard during and between every race. We had a smaller budget than some teams around us but we beat them.
What do you enjoy most about working with Mahindra Racing?
The format of the Formula E race weekend means that you must work quickly and efficiently. You are reliant on each other to communicate well and make the right calls fast. We work very well as a group. Both sides of the garage work from one control room during the races so the engineers working with both drivers can communicate and strategize together. This has helped us make some really important decisions that have lead to some of our best results so far.
We are all very passionate about getting M3Electro to the front of the grid together.
What's the most difficult thing about working in motorsport?
The most difficult thing is the tight schedule that we have in Formula E. We have so little time to do a lot of work. Every race is intense but exciting.
What are your other interests outside motorsport?
I like kite surfing, skiing and riding motorbikes. It's not easy to find time for hobbies in motorsport but I like to enjoy these sports when I can.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to do your job one day?
If you want to work in systems or performance engineering, it is important to focus and to push to achieve your dreams. You improve yourself to get closer and closer to your goal. I studied telecommunications engineering in Spain, specializing in electronics, which isn't the most common degree. Traditionally, people in my discipline focus on studying mechanical engineering but my speciality helped me to get the job I have now.
The attitude, the motivation and the passion – there's no standard skill-mix that can prep you for a task this thrilling. With a job like Javi's, one has to wonder - does technology drive you, or do you drive technology?
Stay tuned for more from #TeamTalk.