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Thomas Stocks

Thomas
Stocks

United Kingdom
Motorsport is the perfect place for anyone like me with a love of Physics and a desire to push to be the best.

More about Thomas

After graduating from NTU, Tom Stocks began his exciting role as Graduate Data Engineer for the Alpine Formula 1 Team. We chatted to him to find out more about his career and his NTU memories.

Q. What influenced your decision to study Physics with Astrophysics at NTU?

A. NTU’s Clifton campus is an inviting, modern and just a friendly place to be. You can usually guarantee that the gloomiest building on a given campus is where physics is taught, but at NTU there was no such building that stood out and in fact all the facilities were bright, welcoming and very well equipped.

Q. What is the most important thing that you learned?

A. My course has given me a great understanding of the scientific process. The thing I notice most is a healthy skepticism which has helped me greatly in Formula 1, where we have to challenge our own work to make sure what we deliver is excellent. Countless practical tests and pieces of research on my course have made me understand that not every new endeavor is successful and when that reality presents itself as often as it does in Formula 1, I feel ready to face it.

Q. What does a day in your current role involve?

A. A typical day begins knowing exactly what I am going to be working on that day thanks to our planning process. After a short call to make sure our team are free of blockers in our work, we set about building. We work on our goals for the day, keeping track of how much time we spend on such things. This is so we can feed that information back into the planning process to make sure we don’t overstretch or underwork ourselves as we push to be the best developers we can be. As a graduate, a treat is always having a conversation with a senior member of staff and realising those crazy ideas you had are good industry practice and literature exists out there for you to read more on.

Q. What attracted you to this field of work?

A. Motorsport is the perfect place for anyone like me with a love of Physics, namely mechanics, and a desire to push to be the best. Here, people understand that the bit of extra time you want to take to make something excellent is more than justified.

Q. What challenges have you faced?

A. The Motorsport industry is all about challenges. Both in technical aspects and in human performance, whoever can overcome a set of challenges the best, wins. On the human performance side, often you can find yourself questioning if you’re good enough, but we all understand that and as with any challenge, we try and work to combat it together, usually by taking the time to observe the root of the problem.

Q. What have been the highlights and biggest challenges of your career so far?

A. The highlight of my career so far has to be the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix. We, as a team, work hard - that shows in our progress and that day it showed in our race execution. When the opportunity for something great revealed itself, we took it and won. By contrast the toughest challenge is maintaining that work ethic when things outside the teams control nullify all the hard work. Coming in and just going again is tough but the team spirit, especially here at Enstone, helps take the edge off.

Q. What are your plans for the future?

A. I’m confident in saying I’ve found my place. For now, I just want to continue the rapid rate of learning that we are all currently experiencing in my team and to see how high it takes us.

Q. If you had a time machine, what would you go back and tell yourself at uni?

A. There have been a lot of ups and downs in my journey to where I am and changing any of them could change the outcome. I don’t want that, so probably just some lottery numbers!

Follow Tom on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/1996stocks/

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