It was also where Bernadette first drove a racing car, or at least a trial version her team had created. ‘I was the lightest at that time, so was chosen to drive it. You just hit the throttle as hard as you can for the straight line drag test. The only problem was the pedal box was so far away as I was also the shortest in the team. I loved the adrenalin and excitement of driving but it’s not where my natural ability lies.”
Now with her eyes fixed on a career in motorsport, Bernadette took a one-year graduation scheme course with McLaren, which allowed her to experience several of the aspects of the racing industry, working in the design, aero dynamic and systems departments, spending time in the wind tunnel and various workshops, her first understanding of how a Formula One team pulls together and makes the best of what they have.
Bernadette stayed on with McLaren full time after the course ended, largely working on the design of gearboxes. To learn more she volunteered to join the team at GT racing meets. “It was those cold weekends on racetracks around the UK that made me realise I wanted to be in racing”, she says now.
In 2015 she joined Force India, helping them to fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship the next year. Force India later became Racing Point and is now Aston Martin, where Bernadette is Head of Race Strategy.