Today we would like to introduce you to Ami Jerger. She is currently on a year in industry within Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One team, taking a year out from her MEng Bioengineering degree at the University of Sheffield. Her role is within Electronics, and more specifically steering wheel calibration. In this interview, Ami tells us more about her role in F1, and her journey with Formula Student at our own university.
1. What does your work with Mercedes involve, and what does your day to day look like?
My Electronics role at Mercedes AMG F1 has involved many exciting projects and challenges to overcome. A lot of my time has been spent creating a steering wheel calibration application which has taught me a lot of new skills, for example releasing my own program for the first time. This project was particularly exciting as on just my 2nd day here, I had my hands on all of our £100k steering wheels and calibrated them for the upcoming race that weekend at Silverstone (which is just 10 minutes down the road from here). I was lucky enough to be able to go and watch qualifying that weekend; it felt amazing to know I was already part of it. My day to day life is 8:30am-5:30pm at the Factory in Brackley where I spend approximately 70% of my time at my desk in the design office and the remaining 30% in the electronics lab. It’s a lovely setting to work; walking past 100s of trophies and an F1 car to get to your desk every morning, seeing parts get moved around the site and having lunchtime with colleagues in the quaint, rural town.
2. What attracted you to this role and what attracted you to Mercedes?
My role in Formula Student attracted me to this role. In my 3rd year, I was in the electronics sub team which I really enjoyed. It included a lot of problem solving and also enabled me to see my work be used for something worthwhile; we actually went on to win this year’s Formula Student competition at Silverstone which made the hard work worth it. I was lucky enough to drive the car which was a privilege after all the hard work that had gone towards it.
Mercedes has been dominant in the modern era of F1 so I have been a fan of the team ever since I first started following the sport. In more recent years, as I have been able to understand more of the technical nature of the sport, there were some elements about the Mercedes that impressed me, for example the DAS (Dual Axis Steering) system. The teams ‘no blame’ ethos also persuaded me to apply because I previously thought that such a successful team would cause overbearing stress. However, this is simply not the case; everyone is friendly and willing to help you perform to your best – even if you make a few mistakes along the way. Outside of F1, Mercedes does a lot of work for diversity and inclusion which I also found very appealing.
3. How did you manage to get here in terms of your career path?
People are often confused when they hear that I study Bioengineering but am doing my placement at an F1 team! I took my A levels at Silverstone UTC so I could be beside the track but then decided to study Bioengineering in order to keep my interest and career paths separate. This didn’t end up staying the case for too long though as I joined the Universities Formula Student team which left me surrounded by people wanting to work in the motorsport industry. I became slightly jealous of this and decided to switch back to my original instincts and give F1 a go by applying to the team for my year in industry. I did this by applying on Gradcracker during the 1st semester of 3rd year. The recruitment process was quite intense and challenging but extremely rewarding when I found out that I had secured the internship just before Christmas in 2020.
4. Do you find that being a woman in engineering makes a difference to the way you are treated or the way you choose to work?
I don’t think being a woman has impacted how people treat me at work, in fact, I’m one of three women in quite a small department so I don’t feel out of place at all. However, this may be because I am used to being the minority having competed in kart racing since I was 9 years old. I’d encourage every woman in engineering to have the same approach as times are changing and most men are actually very happy to work alongside women. This is not only because it makes a change for them, but also because we offer different viewpoints and bring different thought processes to the table. There are also many females in more physical roles here, for example car build, which proves we aren’t tied down to office jobs.
5. What does the future look like for you?
After my placement, I’ll return to Sheffield for the final year of my Bioengineering MEng degree. I’m not 100% sure where I will end up after that but I would definitely like to stay in Engineering. I quite like the fast paced nature of the F1 industry, not just on track, but also how much innovation can happen in such a short period of time compared to other industries. I haven’t completely ruled out the medical device industry since it is also fast paced and very rewarding. The skills I have learnt through my interdisciplinary degree means I am able to switch between the two later in my life if I choose, which certainly takes the pressure off!
Thank you Ami for telling us all about your exciting time on your placement, at Mercedes-AMY Formula One! We hope you enjoy the rest of your time there!
Interviewer: Daisy Bradley
Blog Editor: Mehar Aziz