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2023/24 McLaren Interns complete programme

Alex, Gabby and Vicente, the 2023/24 McLaren Interns, at the 2024 NZUK Link Lecture alongside Link Foundation Chair Sally Martin, and Sue Sargent and Rob Whitehouse from the UK Friends of Auckland University

At the end of February Alex Barbarich-Bacher, Gabby Sumner and Vicente Wishart, the 2023/24 McLaren Interns, concluded their 3-month programme in the UK. They had spent the previous months experiencing work in one of the world’s leading racing and automotive companies. They were the latest cohort in the McLaren Internship Scheme, an annual programme between the Link Foundation and the UK Friends of the University of Auckland to sponsor Auckland University Engineering students to spend several months working at McLaren Automotive and McLaren Racing in Woking. The scheme celebrates the intertwined motorsport heritage of New Zealand and the UK, with the F1 team having been founded by Kiwi Bruce McLaren in Britain in 1963. While also looking to the future by encouraging technical innovation and exchange between the two countries.

Alex helping to test the MCL36 in Barcelona. Photo credit: McLaren Racing

Reflecting on their experiences, Vicente said ‘I could not imagine a better experience for any engineering student to partake in, I will forever be grateful for all those who have made the last 14 weeks a dream come true’. Alex similarly spoke highly of the programme, noting that he ‘was amazed by the level of trust and autonomy managers gave me to complete deliverables that directly affect the running of a Formula 1 car’. Gabby simply called the internship ‘one of the best experiences of my life’. 

The Link Trustees were delighted to meet the interns when they attended a morning tea at the NZ High Commission, London following a Board of Trustees meeting in December, where they also met High Commissioner, Phil Goff, and other members of his team. They also attended the Link Lecture on Climate in January. At all points, Alex, Gabby and Vicente were tremendously charming, erudite and gracious, and they were a credit to the programme. The Link looks forward to hearing about their next moves in what we are sure will be exciting and bright futures. 

Vicente inside the McLaren car that won the 1974 Indianopolis 500. Photo Credit: McLaren Racing.


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