From humble beginnings in Mexico, Dalia Ramos, Head of Build and Test at BWT Alpine F1 Team, has had a remarkable journey, driven by her passion for engineering and a fierce determination.
“I’ve always wanted to do innovative things,” Dalia tells Females in Motorsport. “I've always liked to see how things work. Big machines, production plants and factories…It’s forever been a passion of mine.”
This childhood passion followed Dalia throughout high school, eventually leading to her decision to pursue a degree in mechatronics engineering in Mexico and later a master’s degree in manufacturing at a leading British university.
“At the time mechatronics engineering was quite new in Mexico, so it was quite challenging to get into that degree because there were not many places available to me,” she says.
“I wanted to see more of the world, I knew I wanted to study abroad and open my eyes to new cultures. You see these opportunities in the movies or in books, but then being with all these people from different cultures for me was like,’ wow, this is all possible’.”
After completing her studies, Dalia secured a permanent position with Rolls Royce, giving her the opportunity to gain manufacturing experience within the aerospace industry.
“I was in the manufacturing engineering business unit, but I was moving around,” she says. “I spent some time in Glasgow and in Germany and then moving to different factories in the UK, but always mainly in manufacturing engineering.
“My final role at Rolls Royce was as a quality manager, so I was managing the overhaul facilities that we have around the world, but I realised that being in a factory was what I enjoyed the most.”
After deciding it was time for a new role, Dalia finally turned to the world of motorsport, rekindling a passion that she had shared with her father in childhood.
“I always wanted to make cars,” she says. “When I was very little my dad gave me a small Formula 1 car which I still have. F1 was kind of a dream for me, so when I was looking for jobs, I remembered the car that my dad gave me.
“At the time, Alpine was going through a restructure, the team was trying to reinvent itself and change the way things work in the factory. I felt very related to the job advert because they basically wanted someone who could manage change, work with diverse groups, motivate the team, and could bring new ideas, whilst being willing to go into the unknown and drive the team.”
Dalia’s role finds her in charge of four main departments at the Enstone factory, all of which present their own unique set of challenges. This means that, for Dalia, there is no such thing as a typical day at the factory - especially at the start of a busy racing season.
“Something I really like about my job is that every day is different,” she says. “Normally we start with the morning huddle and throughout the day I try to make sure I spend time in each one of the areas I manage within the factory, but the area that’s having the biggest problem or the highest profile activity on the day will take priority.
“It's very active, very people intense, and it involves a lot of negotiations and compromises, but I always try to have a good time and have a laugh with my team. That's what I love about my job - it's crazy. I don't like to be sitting behind a desk and doing the same thing every day, you know?”
As someone who takes her personal responsibility to her team very seriously, Dalia makes a conscious effort to understand the concerns and opinions of all those who work on her team. Combined with her abundance of positivity, it's not difficult to see why Dalia is so good at what she does.
“I consider an important part of my job to make sure that the team are always performing at their best and that they have all the tools to contribute to be a championship winning team,” she says.
This year also marks the start of a new era for Formula 1 with the long-awaited rule changes intended to ‘shake up’ the status quo. For Dalia and her team at Alpine, these rule changes have created a sense of excitement and anticipation.
“We are super excited; we have a brand-new car, every system is new and everything is different,” she says. “The rule changes are a great opportunity for everyone and I'm really looking forward to seeing what it delivers.”
And for those wishing to pursue a career in motorsport at this crucial turning point, Dalia offers some sound advice.
“You have to understand that you are capable of anything,” she says. “F1 is really trying to bring more females into the sport because we realise that we need greater diversity and we've realised that we need to improve so there are big efforts being made by all teams to get more girls into the workplace.
“It’s important to just trust in yourself and go for it because nothing is impossible.”
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Photos are thanks to Dalia.