At only 18 years of age, Linsay is already a motorsport race mechanic and is studying aeronautical engineering. She tells us about her training, how she got into motorsports and about her top achievements so far.
WHEEL SISTERS: Linsay, please introduce yourself.
Linsay: Hi, my name is Linsay Winkler and I’m 18 years old. I work as a race mechanic in motorsport and I’m also studying to become a race engineer! I have worked for several race teams – for Van Amersfoort Racing, Sauber Junior Team and W Series.
WHEEL SISTERS: Linsay, you are 18 years old and work as a race mechanic in motorsport for popular teams and series. Have you trained as a mechanic? How were you introduced to motorsport? Can you tell us a little bit about your journey?
Linsay: My dad has always worked in motorsport, but he stopped when I was about 12 years old to spend more time with the family. When I was around 14 years old, he took me to the ‘Max Verstappen Racing Days’, and I met a lot of people my dad knows, and I had a really nice day. My dad took me to a racing team and I asked if I could help out – and every session they taught me more and more. That is, in short, how my story went.
WHEEL SISTERS: Can you tell us a bit about your job as a mechanic? What are your tasks?
Linsay: Teams can book me as a mechanic, which means that I am responsible for the car. From things on the grid, to the pitlane, to behind the scenes. I do everything on the car. As a mechanic I have to check the car and prepare it for the following sessions. I repair the car if needed and make sure everything is ready so the driver can race. On the grid I help the driver with last minute changes (if that is allowed), holding the umbrella and checking if it is all right to race. In the pitlane I make sure the driver is good to race, checking the tire pressure, holding the pit board and staying in contact with the engineer.
WHEEL SISTERS: Beside your work as a mechanic, you are studying aeronautical engineering. Why did you choose this degree? Why haven’t you chosen a programme in an area more related to motorsport?
Linsay: It is my dream to become a race engineer. My dad always said I have to learn the car first, so that is what I did, I learnt the car and the mechanical aspects. When I was enrolling for the programme, I had to do a lot of tests to make sure I was ‘good enough’. A lot of good engineers have studied aeronautical engineering and it is the best degree for becoming an engineer so it is really a motorsport related area even though people wouldn’t think so at first.
WHEEL SISTERS: What was the most exciting moment so far in your work as a mechanic?
Linsay: Every race is special. But I think the W Series race in Assen was particularly special. I got the chance to work for Hitech GP in W Series and we won the reverse grid race by 0.034 seconds. The day was brilliant, I still get goosebumps when I think about it. It was the best day ever and everything felt amazing. Working for W Series/Hitech GP was already a dream come true and winning the race straight away was the best thing ever.
WHEEL SISTERS: What are you most proud of?
Linsay: I am really proud of everything I have achieved so far. I am only 18 years old and already living the dream. Especially in these times where we are all sitting at home, I think about my life and it is just incredible what I have achieved so far at a young age. But I am going to show the world a lot more!
WHEEL SISTERS: Over the last years, you had to travel a lot and you didn’t have much free time. How did you manage to combine work with studying?
Linsay: My parents always said that I can do whatever I want as long as my grades are good. So, I studied in the plane, car or anywhere I could. And my grades were always really good so I could do whatever I liked – and I always chose to spend as much time as possible in motorsport. So my life was all about motorsport and I think that always motived me.
WHEEL SISTERS: How do you spend your free time?
Linsay: I spend a lot of time studying but I also love to watch races in my free time. When things go back to normal, I would love to see my friends and family more and go out for dinner!!
WHEEL SISTERS: Who is your role model?
Linsay: Obviously, my parents. My parents have done a lot of amazing things in motorsport and that makes me so proud of them. I also look up to Ruth (Alfa Romeo) who is kicking some asses in the Formula One pitlane!
WHEEL SISTERS: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Linsay: Wow, 10 years, I’ll be 28 then… I think I’ll still be working in motorsport and helping lots of young drivers to make the best out of their career. I love to teach people and drivers to get the best out of themselves so I hope I can still do that in 10 years!
WHEEL SISTERS: Empowering women in the male dominated world of motorsport is also a part of your life. How do you help to empower other women?
Linsay: I know there are only a few women in motorsport and I am more than happy to be one of them! By doing this I’m showing that others can do it too, so I hope this helps to empower other women!
WHEEL SISTERS: In your opinion: What should be the next targets and projects to get more women into motorsport?
Linsay: I think W Series is doing a lot of good things to get more attention! I think it really is the best way to get more women into motorsport. I also really love the FIA Females in motorsport and I am sure they are going to do great things!
WHEEL SISTERS: What advice would you give to girls or women looking forward to getting into motorsports?
Linsay: Just do it!! Take every chance you can get and try to learn as much as possible. I am sure you can do it!
WHEEL SISTERS: What are your sporting goals in the upcoming months?
Linsay: It is obviously a strange time – we are all in lockdown and I am at home a lot (studying). I think the most important thing is to stay safe, together with our loved ones. But I would love to share more on my Instagram soon!