Who is Bernie Collins? Sky Sports F1’s strategy pundit

Bernie Collins, Aston Martin's former head of race strategy in Formula 1 is a key part of the Sky Sports F1 punditry team

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Bernie Collins | Aston Martin F1 Team

Former head of race strategy at Aston Martin, Bernie Collins, was announced as a new member of the Sky Sports F1 punditry team ahead of the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and has gone on to be a fan favourite analyst.

Collins had 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.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to bring my experience from the pit wall to the viewers at home. I enjoy breaking down the strategies and helping fans understand why teams make certain decisions.”

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 and will attend 10 races in 2024.

“I’m really looking forward to working with Bernie who will add a new dimension and untapped insight to our programming,” Sky Sports F1 director Billy McGinty added.

“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.”

Sky Sports F1 presenter David Croft remarked, “Bernie’s insights have added a new dimension to our coverage. Her ability to explain complex strategies in a simple and engaging way is truly remarkable.”

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.

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez in action during the Turkish GP | REUTERS/Clive Mason

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 at the Azerbaijan GP.

Bernie Collins’ impact at Sky Sports F1

In 2023, Collins transitioned from the pit wall to the broadcast studio, joining Sky Sports F1 as a strategy pundit. Her move to broadcasting has allowed her to share her extensive knowledge with a broader audience. Collins’ insights help viewers understand the complex strategies that teams employ during races, from tyre management to pit stop timings.

Collins’ analytical approach and clear communication style have made her a favourite among fans. Her segments on Sky Sports F1 often delve into the nuances of race strategy, providing viewers with a behind-the-scenes look at the decision-making processes that influence the outcome of races.

Collins’ presence on Sky Sports F1 has not only enriched the coverage but also highlighted the importance of strategy in Formula 1. Her expertise offers fans a deeper appreciation of the tactical elements that can determine the outcome of a race.

Looking ahead, Collins aims to continue educating viewers about the strategic aspects of Formula 1. She plans to expand her role by involving herself in more interactive segments and providing in-depth analysis during live broadcasts as he takes on 10 races for Sky Sports F1 in the 2024 season.

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