Inspirational speaker, Bernie Collins, has over a decade’s experience at the forefront of Formula 1. She is an accomplished strategy engineer, most recently employed as Head of Race Strategy for the Aston Martin Formula 1 team. During her career she has held senior strategy and performance engineering roles, playing a central role in the teams she has worked for.
Bernie developed a passion for mechanics at a young age, having grown up constructing and dismantling farm machinery with her father at home in Northern Ireland. She decided to study mechanical engineering at Queen’s University Belfast and joined the annual Formula Student programme, a renowned engineering competition organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
After graduating in 2009, Bernie secured a place on the McLaren Formula 1 racing team’s graduate trainee programme. She volunteered as an engineer at GP3 Series race weekends, gaining further experience before receiving an offer from the McLaren GT sports car racing team. In 2012, Bernie was promoted to the role of performance engineer and went on to serve as race engineer for the United Autosports GT team in 2013.
Bernie’s big break came in late 2013 when she was offered a temporary role as McLaren’s primary performance engineer in Formula 1. Following this, she was offered the full-time position for the 2014 season, working closely with 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button.
In 2015, Bernie started working with the Force India team as a Performance and Strategy Engineer, including supporting team driver Nico Hülkenberg. She helped the team to achieve a podium finish for Sergio Pérez at the 2015 Russian Grand Prix. The following season Force India scored more podiums and consistent, points-scoring results en route to finishing fourth in the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship for Constructors.
Bernie became the Head of Race Strategy for the Aston Martin F1 Team in August 2020. The role saw her leading race strategy, guiding the team and its drivers as they sought to maximise the championship points achieved at each Grand Prix. This included balancing information flow from the drivers, engineers and support team in mission control back at headquarters, as well as reacting to external, dynamic events during each race.
Selected as one of the Forbes ‘30 under 30’ young rising stars of manufacturing for the Make It in Great Britain campaign, Bernie has also been named in The Manufacturer’s Top 100 UK Role Models list.
In 2023, Bernie joined the Sky Sports F1 broadcasting team, her race strategy expertise adding significant depth to the channel’s coverage. She also contributes to Formula 1’s official website and digital channels, providing detailed insights on race strategy and helping fans to understand the complexity of decisions made during Grands Prix. “Her insight and experience are invaluable” Track Limits
Bernie is both an accomplished motivational speaker and event host and in much demand for a wide range of corporate events.
“Both, Bernie and Jonathan were fantastic keynote speakers and I’ve heard so much positive feedback about both sessions. Please send a big thank you to Bernie from me and the whole Housemark team. She’s a fantastic personality, and the session really resonated with our data colleagues. Thank you for all your help Jane, we’ll definitely be in touch for future events!” Monika Edwards, Event Content Producer, Housemark 2023