Formula Student is the most important inter-university car competition in Europe. Based on a formative interdepartmental project initiated in the United Kingdom in 1998, more than a hundred universities from all over the world meet annually in each of the European circuits that host this event. It entails the challenge of designing and building a high-performance car to overcome the different static and dynamic tests, to acquire technical knowledge and to push the innovative capacity of every team.
Endorsed by world-renowned engineers including Ross Brawn, former leader of Mercedes AMG F1 team and Formula Student patron. More than just building a car, the essence of the competition is to inspire and challenge future engineers to be more enterprising, innovative and competent.
The competing teams will emulate an industrial company by undergoing different processes ranging from the investigation and design, and the actual production and prototype testing, to the economic and marketing management. All these will be evaluated by expert juries from the automotive industry.
The competition was born in America in 1981, originally created by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and was first called Formula SAE. Nowadays, the competition is organized by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in the United Kingdom. Formula Student uses the original rules from Formula SAE, but with some variations. In Spain, the event organizer is the Sociedad de Técnicos de Automoción (STA).
Formula Student is based on the hypothetical scenario in which a company hires an engineering team to develop a small race car for non-professional drivers. Competing students will design, construct and test the prototype, while adhering to the competition rules and ensuring the prototype’s safety. They will also be in charge of cost evaluations and will be doing a presentation facing a fictitious investors group.
The competition is divided into two categories. The first one deals with a commercial evaluation, the business plan presentation and the delivery of detailed reports about all the components of the car, justifying the decisions made in opposition to other alternatives. This category is equivalent to 32.5 % of the total points.
In the second category, the car undergoes series of tests to guarantee its safety, brake capacity, tilt stability, and electrical insulation on the basis of competition rules.
Once the jury’s approval is obtained, the team will compete in a second wave of tests, which will evaluate the car’s dynamic characteristics, cornering, acceleration, efficiency, reliability and autonomy. This second category is equivalent to 57.5 % of the total points, with 17% of these (10% of the overall points) being specifically for fuel consumption.