Winning Together: Victoria Hough brings uOttawa experiences to Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One

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Victoria Hough
The 2024 Formula 1 season just opened, and a Gee-Gees electrical engineering student has inside access to one of the world's top teams. Victoria Hough is midway through her Industrial Placement with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One in Brackley, U.K., working as an Electronics Systems Test Placement Student.

Hough has been with Mercedes-AMG Petronas since July, joining midway through the 2023 Formula 1 race schedule, experiencing the design and build of the 2024 car, virtual testing, and just recently was part of the official on-track test days before the first race of 2024.

It's an exciting combination of the electrical engineering Hough is studying and her love of competition and sport. Although she was the first in her family to pursue an engineering degree it was her grandfather's passion for F1 which sparked her career path.

“During the 2020-21 COVID-19 school year I was spending a lot of time with my grandparents and he'd always be watching the races,” says Hough, who is from Beaconsfield, Quebec. “I realized there was a link to engineering within sports, and I thought that was something I could do. It seemed perfect.”

Once inspired, Hough took action. In her third year at uOttawa she joined uOttawa's Formula SAE team, even though she was already part of the Gee-Gees women's rugby team. Hough also joined the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers as the Women in Engineering Chair.

The Formula SAE uOttawa team was vital experience for Hough, who emphasizes that the small team was a huge boost in her learning. She was the electronics lead but also assisted in other portions of the build such as laying composites for the aerodynamics, engine fire-up and tuning, livery design and fabrication and helping the team grow by directly mentoring multiple electrical engineering and computer science students.

“I gained more of an understanding of the whole system of the car,” says Hough. “I was able to use that in my interview for this placement, and now I take care of all the faults throughout the whole car, so I need a good knowledge of the overall electronic system.” 

The Formula SAE uOttawa team

“I look through the data when there's a fault reported and try to debug the issue,” describing some of her duties at Mercedes-AMG Petronas. “I'm really grateful that I got to do so much overarching work with Formula Student. I was ready for this placement position because of that overall view. I learned so much from my team in Formula Student, and the core principles I was able to bring to Mercedes.”

Hough was a member of the Gee-Gees women's rugby team from 2019 to 2022 and won one conference championship and three national medals during her time. More importantly, she found a community that supported her in developing her skills and interests outside of rugby.

“It's empowering to be on a sports team, especially as a female, because everyone wants you to do well. It's uplifting. Sports taught me that you fully have to uplift each other because you're not going to win if you're pushing someone else down.”

For Hough, many of the values at Mercedes-AMG Petronas reflect that Gee-Gees environment. “All the values that the company has - working as a team, being a progressive company that cares about team cohesiveness - it's similar to the things I learned with the Gee-Gees, and I feel that connection.”

The most famous member of Mercedes-AMG Petronas, Lewis Hamilton, often uses the saying, “We win and lose together.” All of Hough's uOttawa experiences have led her to believe that too.

“Being a member of the Gee-Gees and Formula SAE uOttawa, the friends and the people I met, the people who helped me – I wouldn't be here without them.”

Members of the Gee-Gees women's rugby team.

This article was first published on the Gee-Gees website.