Why top STEM students should be considering careers in Motorsport

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By Ameya Ahuja – 3rd June 2024

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Why should top STEM students consider careers in Formula 1? And how do they get into it? Ameya Ahuja, a Hydraulic Design Engineer at Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix has written us a blog on the topic, to fill us in on the what, where, why, and how for STEM students thinking about a career in motorsport.

What is the crossover between STEM degrees and Formula 1?

Formula 1 is the pinnacle of Motorsport and teams are always looking for a competitive advantage. The budget cap adds an additional constraint, which can mean that innovative ideas that don’t cost the earth can create a significant performance differentiator.

STEM degrees teach you to apply first principles to any problem and learn to collaborate and think creatively. F1 similarly analyses data from a race and breaks down the complexity of the issue. Teams then need to work collaboratively within the given constraints to come up with a creative solution that adds performance to the car.

What’s the best thing about starting a career in Formula One?

A career in F1 gives you the rare opportunity to create something and then see it racing on TV! It’s a HUGE moment of pride when you can see the real benefit that your designs can bring to the team. The competitive element of sport also provides you with a sense of camaraderie. From a technical perspective, the lead time between concept and reality is extremely short in F1. You’ll discover what segments of your design can be improved from the previous iteration, this can significantly accelerate your technical development and learning.

What’s one thing people don’t expect about working for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix (MGP)?

While F1 is fast-paced and demanding, MGP team members are extremely helpful and supportive of their peers and will go out of their way to help and support where they can. Most team members also subscribe to the “Work Hard, Play Hard” adage and you will regularly find them socialising, engaging in sports, and actively fundraising for charities close to their heart.

How is Mercedes changing the future of motorsports when it comes to underrepresented talent?

A core aim of MGP’s EDI programme is to open the doors to motorsport and ensure that there are no barriers to realising your career ambitions. For students that are imbued with our PRIDE (Passion, Respect, Innovation, Determination and Excellence) values coveted by the team and can clearly demonstrate academic potential, MGP is able to support with scholarships, mentoring, insight into the various career streams and for the right candidates, it could even lead to a job within the team! This is where our support to Zero Gravity comes in. Similar to MGP, Zero Gravity’s mission is to identify passionate students who demonstrate superb academic potential. For these students, Zero Gravity, supported by MGP, provides financial scholarships and career support to help break down socio-economic barriers and provide opportunities for this talent to flourish in STEM and possibly Motorsport.

What do Mercedes scholars receive with their scholarship?

146 scholars will receive £3,000 (£1,000 per academic year) directly into their pockets through a virtual Zero Gravity card. There are no two ways about it - uni is difficult without financial support. An extra £1,000 can be the difference between the extra hours of a part-time job needed to fund a degree and being able to focus on studying or embracing the university experience. Using the Zero Gravity card, scholars decide for themselves how to spend the money - they know how to make it work hardest to break into their dream career and realise their academic potential. Critically, Zero Gravity Scholars receive more than just financial support. As well as financially powering them through university, Zero Gravity up-skills scholars with career mentoring and masterclasses. Plus, Zero Gravity scholars also get direct access to huge career opportunities, allowing students from low-opportunity backgrounds to bag the career they deserve in STEM.

How can students apply for these scholarships?

Zero Gravity Scholarship applications launch on June 3rd. Zero Gravity members who show drive and determination to defy the odds and land a career in STEM will be invited to apply. Wanna be first in line? Head to the Zero Gravity platform now and become a member. It's totally free for students - forever. You can find out more at zerogravity.co.uk/school/scholarships.

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