My job in F1: Mercedes trackside fluid engineer Stephanie Travers

In the latest instalment of Autosport's My Job in F1 series delving into those who work behind the scenes in the paddock, we meet Stephanie Travers, a trackside fluid engineer for Mercedes title sponsor and technical partner Petronas Beyond the core staff required to run a Formula 1 car trackside, teams have an army of personnel working in a research and development function aiming to find every last tenth of a second in performance gains. Mercedes is no different, and its efforts in partnership with Petronas to optimise its fuel and oils usage have yielded six straight drivers' and manufacturers' world championships since the V6 turbo hybrid era began in 2014. Chemical engineering graduate Stephanie Travers beat 7,000 fellow applicants in 2018 to become a trackside fluid engineer for Petronas, and explained to Autosport the nuances of her role with Mercedes on a typical grand prix weekend. As a trackside fluid engineer, I provide the technical support and analysis for the Mercedes Formula 1 team. 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. My typical race weekend schedule starts off by setting up the lab across two days. This is then ready for the race weekend and they can then proceed to put these fluids within the F1 car. The most important thing is to ensure that we work together with the team, and make sure that we run samples before and after every session to be certain that we're FIA compliant. It's similar to a fingerprint so we take a sample of the fuel, analyse it in the machine and receive a set of peaks. These sets of peaks need to match that of the approved sample of the FIA. We need to be within a certain range that we have allocated - which I can't disclose unfortunately - for optimum performance. The engine oil is then rotated on an electrode disc and burnt, and the flame is picked up by a high speed camera. Theintensity of the different colours in that flame will then be taken in by the machine, and it will tell me the amount of every single element that is within that sample that I've got. The intensity of that flame is then measured by machine, and given out in the results that I analyse and give to the team. The formulation is done in the Petronas Research and Technology Centre back in Turin. The learnings from the work I do trackside are used in the formulation of the fuels and lubricants for road users, so there's always be an open loop of communication between myself and my Petronas peers. I work alongside my colleague En De at every race to ensure that, no matter what, the analysis can be complete and we can provide that technical support to the team.