When he was 21, Andrew Patterson left New Zealand.
When he arrived in England, there wasn’t much awaiting him.
Nothing in fact. Nothing except a burning ambition to forge a career in motorsport.
On Monday, Patterson returned to his home in the UK after a tiring Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend.
Patterson is a Sub Assembly Technician with the Williams F1 team, and for half of the F1 season, he is travelling the globe to be trackside with the team.
“I look after all the gearboxes, clutches and components for the Williams cars,” Patterson told Velocity News.
“At the track, I am managing all of these on each of the cars. Back in the workshop, I am servicing all the parts and rebuilding crashed ones before passing them to the race team who build the car.
“I do about ten races a year at the track. A good mate of mine will do the others.
“It is a challenging job, but it is very rewarding.”
Patterson’s career took its first baby steps when he was still a teenager.
He took up a job working on race cars out of an industrial unit at Hampton Downs.
“I was 17 when I decided I wanted to be a motorsport mechanic,” he said.
“It all started at Hampton Downs when I worked in one of the industrial units.
“The unit beside me had Kenny Smith in it, and it was Kenny who then helped me get a job at Toyota Racing New Zealand.
“It was while I was working at Toyota that they said to me ‘you can make this a career if you really want’.”
A career in motorsport was what Patterson wanted.
However, reflecting on his journey to Formula 1, Patterson says where he is now is not where he initially thought he would end up.
“I never set any goals to get to F1.
“I used to watch the Australian Supercars with Dad, and it was there [in Supercars] that I thought I could maybe see myself working.
“But that was only because I didn’t realise that F1 was possible.”
Still, Patterson decided to pack his bags and move to the other side of the world.
He landed a spot working with a Formula Renault team, where others soon noticed his determined and sedulous character.
“I made a lot of sacrifices.
“I came to England knowing no one. I had no family and no friends here.
“But I got my head down and did the hard work.
“What I’ve learnt is that when you work hard, the opportunities come to you. You don’t have to go chasing them.
“After two years in Formula Renault, I got the opportunity to be a number one mechanic in GP3 with Arden.
“Two years after that, another opportunity came up to work with Mercedes High Performance Powertrains.
“So, within five years of starting my career, I was building and maintaining engines for Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
“I then had the chance to come to Williams and I wasn’t going to turn it down.”
Patterson now works full-time with Williams, a place he says he enjoys working at.
“At first, it was quite daunting, but it is surprising how quickly you get used to it.
“Frank and Claire Williams built this real family feel with the team, and it is a good environment to be part of.
“When the new owners came in, they really captured that family atmosphere and have maintained it.
“It is an enjoyable place to work.”
Patterson’s path to a job in F1 resulted from his unwavering commitment to working hard.
He is now in a position that only a few years ago seemed like a fantasy.
Looking back on everything, Patterson offered a piece of advice to the budding Kiwis who also have a dream to someday work in F1.
“Honestly, all of this has come out of nowhere,” he said.
“I never thought making it to F1 was possible.
“To leave New Zealand at 21 and make it to F1 seemed far-fetched.
“But I wish someone told me back then, back when I started in New Zealand, that it was an obtainable goal.
“I think it is natural for Kiwis to think that obtaining something like a job in F1 isn’t possible.
“There aren’t that many Kiwis of my generation working in F1, which is a shame because we have good ingenuity.
“But I have enjoyed my journey the entire time.
“I have never questioned my decision to chase after a dream.
“I hope that maybe my story can inspire or let a young Kiwi know that something like F1 is a real possibility for them.”