TWENTY year nine students at Bedale High School had the opportunity to meet ex-pupil Jonathan Sadler, who is the lead composite designer at Mercedes Benz, where he works on Sir Lewis Hamilton’s F1 Grand Prix racing car.

He joined the Benetton F1 team in 1994 as a technician and in 2001 he joined Arrows, followed by a move to Honda in 2002 and then on to Mercedes as the senior composite designer. He was promoted to lead composite designer in 2016, and has designed many of the composite parts on Lewis Hamilton’s car.

Mr Sadler now specialises in chassis parts, and for his visit to Bedale, brought in a part of the front aerofoil made from carbon fibre and a side impact bar which he designed for Hamilton’s car, so the students could see the type of thing he is involved with.

The students were astounded to learn the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team employs more than 1,000 designers, with more than 50 working with the team on race day.

Mr Sadler told students that he was “never very sporty” at school “but always tried hard”. He said: “I got average grades at GCSE and had no idea what I wanted to do. The Army and RAF were possibilities but I made the bold decision to uproot, leave the comfort of Bedale and go to university in London to study for a degree in aeronautical engineering and a masters in composite materials at Imperial College. I also had the courage to uproot once more where I decided to work in France for three years.”

Mr Sadler added: “It’s important in life to make mistakes, because this is how you learn and you should never to be afraid of change, in fact, embrace change and don’t be scared of it.”

He left the students with his motto which is, “the mark of a true champion is the one who can conquer the fear of making mistakes”.

He told students the Mercedes motto is PRIDE, which stands for passion, respect, innovation, determination and excellence, and gave all the students signed photographs of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas as souvenirs.