Stephanie Travers on being the first Black woman on the F1 podium

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Petronas’ Trackside Fluid Engineer Stephanie Travers became the first Black woman to stand on the Formula 1 podium, when she joined Lewis Hamilon at the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix podium celebration.

On International Women’s Day, CNN asked Petronas’ Trackside Fluid Engineer Stephanie Travers to talk about her experience of being the first Black woman to accept the Constructors’ trophy during the Formula 1 post-race podium celebration.

After Lewis Hamilton scored another of his spectacular victories at the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix, Mercedes asked Travers to attend the podium ceremony and accept the team’s trophy. She describes her first reactions.

“My first reaction was: ‘Are you sure? I don’t think you’ve got the right person — it’s not me,'” said Travers.

“But it all happened so quickly and before I knew it, I was walking up onto the podium.”

The moment held even more significance when she realized she was the first Black woman in history to get this honor.

“I still can’t put it into words for you. It was such a surreal moment for myself and a momentous occasion for myself and my family.

“I didn’t have time to inform my family beforehand, but my parents love the sport, so they were there from home watching, screaming.”


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After climbing the podium Travers became extremely emotional.

“The emotions really got the best of me at that point. I was quite lucky to be wearing a mask, you couldn’t see the tears in my eyes, but it was a great feeling and it’s completely different to being on the other end with the entire team.

“But knowing that the team was there standing with me and supporting me in that moment and we’re all celebrating the win that we had worked so hard for that weekend, it was a great feeling and I’m just so thankful that I got to experience it from both sides.”

Travers also had the opportunity to share the podium with one of the best Formula 1 drivers of all time, Lewis Hamilton. She reveals Lewis inspired her to pursue her dream, a dream that that ultimately led her to a role in Formula 1.

“What I will say is growing up watching sports, it was Lewis that gave me that extra push of seeing someone like me on the TV.

“I knew that it was possible for me to get into the sport if I really put my mind to it and worked hard — and that’s what I did.”

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