Formula E: Interview with Envision Virgin’s Anthony Moore

Image Courtesy of Anthony Moore via Instagram (@pro_mechanics1).

With eight different winners in eight races, season five of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship has been the most competitive it has ever been.

Round nine of the all-electric championship takes place around the glamorous streets of Monte Carlo. 

And just like its Formula One counterpart, it is a race the teams and drivers want to win.

The only team to have tasted victory twice so far this season is the Envision Virgin Racing squad.

Sam Bird triumphed in Santiago before Dutchman Robin Frijns kept his composure in tricky conditions to win on the streets of Paris at the end of April.

One of the key members of the Envision Virgin Racing team is their chief mechanic, Anthony Moore.

A former gearbox engineer at Red Bull Racing, Anthony elected to leave the glamour of Grand Prix racing behind for a new challenge in one of the fastest-growing motorsports in the world.

Before he flew out to Monaco, I spoke to him about his experiences in motorsports, the roles and responsibilities of a chief mechanic and any tips he could share for budding mechanics of the future.

Simon Wright: Anthony, what made you want to get involved in the world of motorsport?

Anthony Moore: “The main reason was because of my father. He was the chief mechanic for Suzuki in the late 1970s, so I grew up around 500cc Grand Prix bikes.”

“I knew from my childhood that I would work in motorsport one way or another.”

“I would spend my free time tinkering with motorbikes in my parents’ garage. So I was always interested in being a mechanic.”

SW: How did your journey start in motorsport?

AM: “I was lucky enough to do my work experience with an F1 powerboat team. I travelled to three races as the junior mechanic.”

“This experience was great and really cemented my feeling that I wanted to be a race mechanic.”

“I also got to attend a few historic F1 events with my father when I was young, including the Goodwood Festival of Speed.”

“As soon as I left school, I did Aeronautical Engineering at college to gain a good base of knowledge for motor racing.”

“When I left college, I managed to get a placement with a team near to my home called Arena Motorsport. I initially worked for free to gain experience and before long I was employed as their junior mechanic doing LMP1 with an Audi R8.”

SW: How much did you enjoy your time with Red Bull Racing?  

AM: “I had some good times at Red Bull. I was extremely lucky to have experienced that successful era with them.”

“When I joined them in the late 2000s, I had no idea that soon afterwards we would be fighting for wins and championships.”

“I worked with some great people and have lifetime friends from that part of my career.”

SW: What were the high and low points of being involved in the world of Formula One?

AM: “The high points of Formula One must be working at the pinnacle; everything to do with F1 is all about performance.”

“Money is no object and some of the parts produced are like a work of art. That’s probably the best way to describe it; It’s exciting!”

“Everyone around you has a certain task and you all push each other to excel at what you do.”

“It’s the buzz you get when you win a race or better. I don’t think many would understand it, but the adrenaline is mega!”

“The main low point must be the time away from family and friends.”F1 is your life and its difficult balancing the two.”

“You come home from races tired and jet-lagged. You try to be a good dad and husband but all you really want to do is sleep for two days!”

“Ultimately, this is the main reason I left F1.”

SW: I understand you were a gearbox engineer at Red Bull. Could you explain a bit more about what the job entails?

AM: “I was responsible for all gearbox prep on Mark Webber’s car and then when he retired in 2013, Daniel Ricciardo’s car.”

“You would do all maintenance on their gearboxes. For example, all drivers will have at least two gearboxes; a practice gearbox and a race gearbox.”

“The race gearboxes are sealed by the FIA and must do a minimum number of races.”

“In the V8 era, you could change gear ratios, and this would happen on a Friday night in front of a FIA member. We would have to do this in around half an hour.”

During his time with Red Bull, Anthony Moore worked on the cars of Australian drivers Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo. © Clive Mason/Getty Images

“It would then be a busy few hours getting all the internal suspension built ready to fit the rear end to the race car.”

“The practice gearbox can be stripped and rebuilt as much as you would like but we would generally just do ratios and oil pumps in-between race events.”

“That changed when the hybrid era began in 2014. Ratio changes were not performed.”

“So, you would carry out visual inspections through inspection holes which are specially designed to perform this task. You would then assist the rear end mechanic with preparing the suspension, so the rear end can be fitted to the race car ready to be fired up.”

SW: What were the Red Bull drivers like to work with?

AM: “Both Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo are your typical Aussie stereotype – laid back and chilled out. Both nice guys!”

“Sebastian Vettel is a funny guy! He loves British humour and comedy so you can imagine some of the things he comes out with.”

SW: Why did Formula E appeal to you?

AM: “Formula E was interesting because it was something completely new.”

“There was a lot of interest from various manufacturers and I could see this was something exciting happening with a lot of new technology.”

SW: Can you explain the main roles and responsibilities of a chief mechanic in Formula E?

AM:“My main responsibility as a chief mechanic is to make sure the cars are built and maintained to a very high standard.”

“This starts from writing job lists prior to an event, making sure these are executed to the standard required.”

“I then have to make the decisions during a race event too. You must decide what parts to change to manage time and reliability and what jobs to allocate to each person as well as help where needed.”

“The rest of the time is spent organising parts and spares. The preparation of spare parts is almost as important as the cars themselves so you can perform repairs quickly.”

SW: Formula E is one of the fastest growing motorsports at the moment. How much do you enjoy being involved in a discipline that seems to be getting more public awareness?

AM: “Formula E seems to be growing bigger and bigger every race. Its enjoyable being involved with something from near the beginning and watching it grow.”

“Helping our team grow and evolve has had great job satisfaction and fingers crossed our success continues into the future.”

SW: Is there any advice for anyone who has ambitions of becoming a racing engineer or mechanic in the future?

AM: “You must work hard and learn as much as you can from people more experienced than you.”

“If you really want to get into motorsport then don’t give up! I always knew I wanted to do F1 and accept you will get knock-backs along the way!”

“I just kept trying to gain experience and kept trying to succeed. Motorsport is hard work and if you are willing to do this then you will achieve your goals.”

For more of Anthony’s mechanical work, including automotive rebuilds and maintenance, visit his Instagram channel Pro_mechanics1