Stephanie Travers, Petronas Trackside Fluid Engineer (PTFE)
— Stephanie Travers
Mercedes had chosen Petronas Trackside Fluid Engineer Stephanie Travers to accept the Constructors’ trophy for them after Lewis Hamilton’s win at the Styrian Grand Prix in Austria. Stephanie made history by becoming the first Black female to stand on a Formula One podium. At the time, Stephanie was not aware of this, but she said of the moment “the emotions just came to me”.
Born in Zimbabwe, Stephanie moved to the United Kingdom at the age of 10. Her love of cars had been present in her life for many years, stemming from her youth. Stephanie has cousins who have karted and worked in motorsport, which was her introduction to the sport.
“I really enjoyed learning about engines, how cars are put together and just seeing what happens when a car runs,” she told Marie Claire. Stephanie has a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Bradford and a Masters in Chemical Engineering from Imperial College.
Stephanie’s previous job was at a chemical plant as an engineer. However, she currently works as a Petronas Trackside Fluid Engineer (PTFE) and her job is to work alongside Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 team. There were over 7,000 applicants for her job as well as a five-part process for her selection. She has said that the process “involved a timed race through Kuala Lumpur city centre to find the CEO of PETRONAS and have one final interview with him”.
Stephanie’s perseverance and passion for her career inspire me as a young teen to never give up.
Lewis Hamilton said of her podium achievement: “This is an amazing achievement and I just wanted to acknowledge her for her hard work, positivity, and passion for her job… Steph said she wants to inspire young black children, and children of colour to believe that they can do it too, and I couldn’t agree more. Put your mind to it, and you can be anything you want to be. So whilst I really appreciate all of the congratulations, I wanted [to] take the opportunity to lift her up, and share them with her.”
On a personal note, these last few days have been a whirlwind of emotions. I got to respond to Ruth Buscombe, one of the women I wrote my article about, in Females In Motorsport’s Instagram comments section. Wow. The kindness from my idols, my family, and strangers continue to amaze me, so thank you for that. I got to wake up to the most incredible thing this morning; The FIA Girls On Track commission retweeted Females In Motorsport’s post of my article.
Originally published on: April 7 2021
Cover Image Credit: Formula 1