From Formula One to Quant positions.. How?

Hi guys,

I am posting here my first question, asking you advices how to proceed with my career. My background is a M.Sc. in mechanical engineering from a top 5 university in Europe, currently I am 27 years old and I am working as a Data Scientist in a Formula One team (applying machine learning and coding with Python). Lately, I am really getting passionate about financial instruments, I attended some introductory courses on Udemy about financial mathematics and stock trading and I am really thinking to switch career and become a data scientist or quant in finance.

I tried to apply to some low-level quant positions (internships or career-start programs) but all applications failed, most probably because I don't have expertise and knowledge in quantitative finance. Therefore, I am evaluating what are the best options for me to learn quantitative finance and maximize my possibilities to find a job in this sector. I came here to ask you guys some advices how I should proceed. At the moment, my two main strategies are:

1) Start a MFE in September 2022. This would mean to continue my job in F1 another year. This probably could be the best option if I want to maximize the chance to be hired as a quant, but at the same time this would mean investing a lot of money (not only the university fee but also the opportunity cost that I would not work for 1.5/2 years and currently my salary is not bad). Moreover, I am worried by the fact that I would be 29/30 years old after completing the course and still have to start my career.

2) The second option would be to join some online, part-time programs that I can carry out without leaving my job. I saw that the Certificate in Quantitative Finance (CQF: The Certificate in Quantitative Finance | CQF) could be one good possibility. It is only 6 months and quite comprehensive. Are there any other very good programs that you know? Maybe better than CQF? The main issue of this strategy is that I am not really sure if this would increase a lot my chances to switch career.. Of course it is better than nothing, but I wouldn't like to spend and invest time and money on such a program and then maybe still have to do a MFE because I will fail in the applications. Is the CQF renewed in the sector? Do you maybe have similar experiences as me? Or know people who took CQF and was able to switch career from engineering to quant positions?

Please, tell me if any other option comes to your minds, It would be reeeeally helpful having some feedbacks and advices from such an amazing community. Thank you guys.
Quant finance is a quite broad field. From what I understand, you seem to be mostly interested in the systematic/signal-driven trading side of things? If yes, then I am not sure either an MFE or a CQF is the best preparation for this. These degrees tend to place a strong emphasis on stochastic processes, option pricing and numerical methods - most of which are relevant for Q-quant but not so much for P-quant type of roles. I work for a proprietary trading firm in the options space and we tend to recruit more people for general mathematics, statistics or physics backgrounds for quant positions and are not explicitly targeting MFEs. It is rather the opposite in that we aim not to hire too many MFEs to preserve a healthy heterogeneity in background. When you say that you got rejected, was this maybe because you applied for more traditional Q-quant roles that are actually looking for a financial mathematics background? If yes, then consider broadening your scope to trading companies who would likely be more open to your profile. If you want to strengthen your profile for these types of roles, then I'd rather recommend a Masters in Statistics or Econometrics.
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