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'I want to inspire children of colour' - Stephanie Travers, the first black woman on an F1 podium

2020-07-14 11:28

Charlen Raymond

stephanie travers,f1,formula 1,mercedes

Stephanie Travers (Lewis Hamilton / Instagram)

• Stephanie Travers became the first black woman to stand on an F1 podium.

• Travers wants to inspire black children and children of colour.

• Travers is a fluid engineer for Petronas.

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It would have been easy to miss an important moment in Sunday's Styrian Grand Prix. What exactly, you may ask? Well, there was a woman on the podium alongside Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. A woman, mind you, from one of our neighbouring countries.

Zimbabwean-born Stephanie Travers is a fluid engineer with the Mercedes F1 team. She appeared alongside her fellow team mates to receive the winning constructors' trophy on behalf of the team. So what? Many women have stood on the podium before.

Well, yes, but Travers became the first black woman to stand on a Formula 1 podium. Amid the current Black Lives Matter campaigns, it was a pretty powerful moment.

Hamilton posted on Instagram: "On Sunday, she (Travers) became the first black woman to stand on the podium in F1 history. This is an amazing achievement, and I just wanted to acknowledge her for her hard work, positivity, and passion for her job."

One of 7000

Travers is a chemical engineer by trade, according to the works team. In 2018, she applied for the position of trackside fluid engineer for Petronas - fuel partner for the Mercedes-AMG F1 team. Of the more than 7000 applications, Travers got the opportunity and has been with the company ever since.

Speaking to AutoSport, Travers explained what her job entails: "As a trackside fluid engineer, I provide the technical support and analysis for the Mercedes F1 team. This service includes doing the analysis for the Petronas Syntium engine oil, Petronas Tutela gearbox and transmission oil, and the Petronas Primax fuel on a typical race weekend.

"I do the analysis to ensure that we are compliant with FIA regulations, and also to monitor the health of the car as a whole throughout a race weekend."

Read AutoSport's story here.

Inspiring children of colour

While the job and standing on the podium are two accolades worth celebrating, Travers is also an advocate for black children and children of colour to chase their dreams. Hamilton wrote on his Instagram post that Travers wants to inspire children of colour to reach for their dreams.

He posted: "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."

READ: Hamilton raises a fist after his first win of the season

Hamilton is an activist for the Black Lives Matter movement and has been vocal about the lack of colour in the sport. Travers, just like Hamilton, became a beacon of hope of children of colour who are, often, held back by their circumstances. She is living proof that one's dreams are attainable and that your (difficult) surroundings should not be a determining factor in how your future plays out.

Coming from Zimbabwe, Travers knows the struggles people of colour go through. The country, too, has not had it easy the last few decades, but she refused to allow the circumstances to divine the outcome of her life.

Good on you, Stephanie Travers! And congratulations on your achievements.


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