Thomas’ hard work pays off
Tatura boy Thomas Baer wasn’t sure where his life would take him before he attended a Swinburne University open day while completing Year 12 atMooroopna Secondary College.
Swinburne University had a Formula SAE racing car on display, demonstrating how the university worked in partnership with Formula 1 through the engineering course.
‘‘What they do each year is all the universities who are involved with it build a car from scratch, they design it and set it up, and they set up a race team,’’ Thomas’ dad Peter Baer said.
Thomas was amember of the university team for his entire study, before he graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical).
‘‘It was a four-year course, but his fourth year was 12 months working for IVECO Trucks inMelbourne and he came back in his fifth year and did his final course,’’ Mr Baer said.
Thomas’ ambition was to fulfil a career with Formula 1 ‘‘which is the pinnacle of motor sport’’, but to be able to succeed he needed to complete a master’s degree in science — advanced motorsport engineering.
‘‘Cranfield University in England is where he has been for the last 12 months,’’ Mr Baer said.
Thomas was one of only 30 people from across the world selected for the course.
‘‘Over the 12 months he had to do many assignments and exams and they split them into groups and they had to do a project as a group and then a thesis to finish it off,’’ Mr Baer said.
Throughout his time in the UK Thomas met a number of famous faces including the Duke of Kent; Toto Wolff, who is the head of Mercedes Formula 1; and Red Bull Racing principle Christian Horner and his wife Geri Halliwell.
‘‘For the whole year he was second to dux and all his exam results were in the higher 80s and into the 90s, so he’s done very well with his course,’’ Mr Baer said.
Competing against the best, Thomas last week started a six-month placement working in Maranello, Italy, at the Ferrari F1 factory.
Mr Baer said Thomas fought against more than 200 people who applied for the job from across Europe.
‘‘The first step was they all had to sit a threehour exam online where they were given a scenario in F1 and they all had to come up with a solution; he (Thomas) got top three,’’ he said.
Thomas then completed a phone interview where he was chosen with the final 20 applicants to be flown to the factory.
‘‘Only six out of 257 from all over Europe who are doing this kind of study, who had finished and wanted to get back into it, were chosen — so we’re quite proud of him for that,’’ Mr Baer said.
‘‘He hasn’t let anything get in his way, he’s been driven and followed his dream and to be working in Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and Ferrari is the top team.’’
Mr Baer said Thomas had taken on the world stage and he now had a secure future with Formula 1 once the placement had finished.
Above: Thomas Baer with Christian Horner, team principal of the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team. Above left: Thomas Baer at the Formula 1 Ferrari Factory in Maranello, Italy.