Inside the MTC: Meet Olympic Silver Medallist Tom Stallard
Formula 1 in the Olympics? It’s still a far-off idea, but the Olympics in Formula 1? That’s not so unusual – in fact, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes boasts a former Olympic medallist among its elite race-engineering corps.
Tom Stallard, who won a silver medal in the men’s eight rowing at the 2008 Beijing Games, is more widely known within the team as Jenson’s performance engineer. His trackside role is a far cry from his former sporting role: after a glittering career in the World Cup and a spell as Cambridge Boat Race president, he now refines and hones Jenson’s MP4-27 alongside race engineer Dave Robson.
"I’d always wanted to be in Formula 1," says Tom. "I did a motorsports-focused course at university and did some work experience in the sport.
"I’d already had an interview at McLaren Racing. Then, the day the rowing team left the country for our pre-Olympic altitude training camp [in 2008], I had a phone call asking me when I could start at McLaren. I basically joined the team straight after the 2008 Olympics."
The current whereabouts of Tom’s silver medal? In his loft at home!
"That sounds bad," he admits, "but it’s not being disrespectful, it’s just that it means so much more than a piece of metal. It’s part of who I am now."