Rob Thomas is Chief Operating Officer of the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team. His automotive career started at just 16 years old, when he left school to start an apprenticeship with Jaguar Cars. He went on to study Mechanical Engineering at Coventry University and at 22 was working for the Dutch energy company Shell as a Drilling Engineer.
After five years spent working on oil rigs, Rob returned to dry land and joined Rover-BMW as a Project Manager. In 1998, he made the move to TRW Aeronautical Systems Group as Operations and Project Manager before, four years later, being appointed Vice President Lean Enterprise at GKN Aerospace Services, focusing on operational improvement. Rob’s motorsport career began in 2005 when he joined Mercedes-Ilmor. Working with Ola Källenius and Andy Cowell, Rob played a key operational role as the organisation successfully morphed into Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines (now Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains), including powering Lewis Hamilton to the 2008 Drivers’ Championship title.
Recognised for his role at Mercedes HPE, Rob was head-hunted in May 2010 to join the fledgling Mercedes team as Chief Operating Officer. Describing his role in layman’s terms, Rob says it’s “to make sure we manufacture, build and test a car that will be capable of winning races and championships”.
Crucial in pulling the team together operationally as it rapidly expanded in the early Mercedes years, Rob’s work was eventually richly rewarded, as the team claimed a historic eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships and seven consecutive Drivers’ titles.
What makes working at Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team special for Rob? “A level of teamwork that is unparalleled anywhere else.”