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Introducing Race Into STEM: BWT Alpine F1 Team and Microsoft's New Initiative Supporting More Girls To Get Into Motorsport  

BWT Alpine F1 Team recently collaborated with their partner Microsoft to launch the Race Into STEM programme, which is a brand new initiative aiming to support and inspire young women to enter into motorsport.  


To celebrate the launch, FIA Girls on Track UK led an event at the London Design & Engineering University Technical College with children aged eight to 10 from schools across London. 


Students engaged in mini pit stop challenges, completed a cost cap exercise, built structures out of marshmallows and made paper planes to understand and learn about the diverse employment opportunities across motorsport. 


During the event we spoke to Monica Robbins, Director of Sports Partnerships at Microsoft, who shared how the partnership came to life. 


“We’ve been working with the team for quite some time, and when they launched the Rac(H)er Programme, we really gravitated towards that because innovation comes from diverse perspectives and new ways to approach things,” she says. 


“I really wanted to help them along their journey. They have the end goal of what they want to have as more women on the grid and more women at the factory, and STEM is a key component of making that happen.”


Looking ahead to the Race Into STEM programme, Monica and the team worked with FIA Girls on Track to develop a curriculum that would be accessible online to people across the world.  


“The hope is that this is just the beginning, right?” she says. “It's teasing and sparking that curiosity for them to want to explore more, to find out that, wow, maths is, is actually fun, or you can make it fun.” 


The Race Into STEM programme aims to show young women that there’s much more to motorsport, and Monica believes there’s much opportunity in increasing female representation across the industry.  


“When there’s intention behind these initiatives at the leadership level of teams, it’s critical to know they are looking for those diverse perspectives,” she says.  


“I love programmes like these that are deliberately striving for something. We welcome women on this journey, and it’s about making sure that young girls have access and can get excited about what’s possible.” 


Following the event, we spoke to Dalia Ramos Guerra, Head of Build and Test at BWT Alpine F1 Team, and advocate for increasing women in motorsport.  


Dalia has had an interest in motorsport from a young age, and knew she wanted to be in manufacturing when she was a teenager.  


“I wanted to be closer to the product but also wanted the technical challenge and at the same time I wanted to work with a lot of people,” she says. “I used to go to events with my cousins, and had a big influence from my dad, he always wanted to make sure my sister and I knew how to fix our own car.”  


Dalia studied electrical engineering at university in Mexico which supported her future career. 

“I really love maths and physicians, and I wanted to be at the cutting edge of engineering,” she tells us.


After university, Dalia continued working towards her goal and moved to the UK to pursue her master’s degree in manufacturing engineering. In 2013, Dalia moved into the aerospace industry, but was still trying to tap into the automotive industry. 


“It's needless to say that I was trying to get into the automotive industry at the time as well,” she says. “I was successful in aerospace, it's an amazing industry and not very different from F1.”


For Dalia, a career in motorsport seemed like a dream and she wasn’t sure if she’d ever achieve her goals.  


“I didn't know how possible it could be to have a career in motorsports,” she says. “I always wanted to do something not just with normal cars, but I really didn't know what the opportunities were, so I started working in the aerospace industry before I started in F1.  


“When I made the change, I knew I wanted to find a product that could be as exciting as the jet engines, but at the same time, it was going to be quite difficult, so that was the time when I started looking for something a bit more and that's when I started looking into luxury cars and motorsports.” 


And so, Dalia joined the BWT Alpine F1 Team  during an organisational restructure to lead a large department and a big team in operation.


“It was the challenge I wanted, and it was the right moment to be in the right place,” she says.

In her current role, Dalia oversees all mechanical assembly for all the car systems (except for the power unit).


Alongside her, Dalia has a small team that helps coordinate with the race team and the factory. But Dalia had to adapt to motorsports, given that she came from an aerospace background.


“Although there are many similarities, I didn't have the specific knowledge of F1 and how the pace moves in here, because it's a really, really fast based environment,” she says. “So, adapting to that and gaining credibility quick enough to be able to draw on strategy for the department.” 

Dalia pushed herself into a new industry…  


“I’m a very curious person and have good interpersonal skills, so for me, spending a lot of time with my team is very important,” she tells us. “Sometimes you need to give yourself the time to learn.” 


As a female department lead within BWT Alpine F1 Team, Dalia is proving to be an inspiration for many, and has the support of her team to go and help others.

“I feel very proud to be part of one of those pioneering teams in doing these initiatives,” she says. “It’s having the visibility to go out there and say, ‘this is what we aim to do and we are working towards bringing in more females’, which is a big step and helping generations.”


In 2022, BWT Alpine F1 Team launched the Rac(H)er programme which promoted the inclusivity of women within different business departments and Dalia was part of the initiative coming to life.


“We’ve improved maternity leave, and we’ve brought in training which I requested,” she says. “When the programme started, I said ‘these are great and we really need initiatives for people inside the factory’, and the team listened to that and we’re seeing results.”   


As a female leader within her organisation, Dalia has a lot of responsibility and has the trust of her directors when it comes to making these decisions.


“When I joined, I was given a position that was critical with a lot of responsibility,” she says. “I didn’t have experience and I wasn’t the person they were used to seeing all the time, yet they believed in me.


“Ever since I’ve been here, I have that trust and support from my directors.”


In the last two and a half years, the level of female representation within BWT Alpine F1 Team has risen, with women making up 13% of the team's workforce, and Dalia is keen to see this number increase as more females enter the industry.


“The way I see these programmes and my career are what I have to offer to the role I'm doing to the company, how I continue developing myself and growing myself and what I give to the world, and what I love about this job is I can fulfil all three,” she says. 


“It’s really rewarding, because when I look at what I can offer to the world, you know, all these initiatives really give us the space to give something back and keep promoting the next generations.”


Dalia is continuing to give back through her involvement in initiatives such as Race Into STEM.


“I’ve been involved since the very beginning, and have attended conferences, and mentored,” she says. “I've done a lot of initiatives in Mexico at universities with the students and they are the generation that is coming behind us.


“Those are the kind of initiatives that can really make a difference because at the end of the day, we are nurturing the future generations, and we are going to make sure that these girls know exactly what they can do and what they want to do from the very beginning.”


It’s no secret that it’s important to support female education early to showcase what’s available to them within the motorsport industry and showing the variety of roles they can one day do themselves.


“It's not easy to believe in yourself when you realise that you are different from all the people around you and from all the people that you are aiming to work with,” she says. “I've had a lot of impostor syndrome all my career, but especially when I got into motorsports, because I didn't even know what the available opportunities were.


“But once I got into applying for the role and first interviews, then I realised that everyone who I was going to be working with was the stereotype of the British white male that was within a range of 45 to 55 years, and I felt so different.” 


For Dalia, it was hard to imagine herself in a role she couldn’t see anyone else doing.

“I was looking at videos online thinking ‘I’m never going to be able to do the job he’s been doing for so long’ and then I realised I could,” she says. “It’s not me having something wrong, it was the fact I didn’t have a role model and it was difficult for me to visualise that it was actually possible.”


Dalia is now keen to show other females that they too can achieve what they want, despite the lack of females in a similar role. 


“The fact that someone like you hasn't done it before doesn't mean that is impossible,” she says. “It just means that it hasn't happened. But it can happen now, and you can do it. 


“I don’t think that there are no people from my generation that couldn’t do this job, they’re probably not aware or probably never thought they could do it.” 


Confidence is key and it’s important for females to believe they can succeed in a male dominated industry, the difference in gender does not matter. 


“It's not that they are incapable [females],” she says. “We are all closing those gaps now, and I’m sure it’s going to make a massive difference. 


“Sometimes I talk to some of my female colleagues, and we always say, if we have had the role models that the girls are having today, things would have been very different for us.” 


Looking ahead to this year, Dalia is excited to see Race Into STEM grow and continue making an impact. 


“These programs are just getting stronger,” she says. “I remember when we first talked about these initiatives in the factory, suddenly, they’re growing and there are so many initiatives. 


“I just want to see it growing, and I just want to see more girls that are passionate about it, believe in it.”  


And for Dalia, she’s excited to continue doing a role she once dreamed of. 


“I couldn't wish for anything more because I do have a career which I love,” she says. “I love my job. I love being in the factory. I love the adrenaline. I love everything.”  


Dalia is just one female in the booming motorsport industry who is using her position to show females that they too can work in the industry they want to, regardless of their gender. 


Initiatives such as Race Into STEM, are key to showing younger generations what is possible and the variety of roles available within motorsport. From finance to aerodynamics, there’s plenty of potential for success.


For more information on the Race Into STEM programme, please visit the official website: https://www.raceintostem.com/.


Images are courtesy of BWT Alpine F1 team and Lou Johnson. 


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