Former head of race strategy at Aston Martin, Bernie Collins, has been announced as a new member of the Sky Sports F1 punditry team ahead of the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP.
Collins has worked in the F1 paddock previously, as performance engineer at McLaren and head of race strategy at Aston Martin.
“I am really excited to begin this new chapter with the Sky Sports F1 team and want to thank them for the opportunity,” Collins said, upon her new appointment.
“After many years on the pit wall I’m keen to embrace this new role within F1 from a viewer’s perspective and enhance their experience of racing.”
Collins made her debut in the commentary box during the practice sessions at the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP and was also talking through strategy and tyres in the pit lane.
She is the first strategist to become a pundit since Sky took over as the new home for F1 coverage in the UK in 2012.
“I’m really looking forward to working with Bernie who will add a new dimension and untapped insight to our programming,” Sky Sports Director of F1 Billy McGinty said.
“We hope our viewers will learn a lot from Bernie on what goes on in the garage and on the pit wall at a race weekend.”
Who is Bernie Collins?
Collins graduated from Queen’s University Belfast with a first class Masters in Mechanical Engineering and was part of the Queen’s Formula Racing engineering education project.
Her first foray into Formula 1 came back in 2009 with McLaren as a graduate engineer, before moving to become a design engineer with the team. After two years in that position she then became a performance engineer with McLaren.
After just over one year in that role, and almost six years in total with McLaren, Collins moved to Force India as a performance and race strategy engineer, with the role more geared towards strategy.
Collins stayed with Force India as the team became Racing Point, and earned herself a move to become senior strategy engineer. And as Racing Point morphed into the Aston Martin F1 team, Collins was appointed head of race strategy in 2020 for the Silverstone based outfit.
Collins left Aston Martin in July 2022 and set up her own engineering consultancy soon after, and in March 2023 made her debut with Sky Sports at the Saudi Arabian GP.
Bernie Collins’ best moments in F1
It’s not known whether Collins will return to a role with an F1 team in the future, but it would not be a surprise given what she has done in her career.
She helped Sergio Perez to six podiums during the Mexican’s time at Force India and Racing Point.
The best of which came at the 2020 Sakhir GP, when Perez was last after being involved in a Lap 1 incident with Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen, but stormed back to claim his maiden F1 victory.
Also that season, a wet Turkish GP saw Lance Stroll take pole position as Racing Point got the intermediate tyres into the right operating window in qualifying.
He led the early stages of the race in Istanbul, but, arguably, a mistake to pit him meant Stroll finished down in ninth.
But, Perez managed to take second place as he didn’t pit and managed to nurse his tyres home.
In 2021, Sebsatian Vettel gave Aston Martin their first podium as great speed and tyre management saw the German take second place.