Two months in and it’s game on!
Today, the last race of the Formula 1 season took place in Brazil. It was full of fantastic overtaking moves and drama as positions were still to be decided in both the Constructors and Drivers Championships. Now the season is officially over, the teams and their staff will be able to get some rest before they start work again in readiness for the first race in March 2014.
The reason why I have mentioned this is because I am now coming to realise just how closely linked Formula Student is to motorsports such as Formula 1. The dedication that we give to our work is unbelievable, but because it is something that we love, it doesn’t concern us very much. Not everyone in the team may be interested in Formula 1 in particular, but we are all interested a common goal: making a vehicle drive as fast as we can with the tools we have! This is why motorsport teams are always looking at the engineers that take part in Formula Student: we all potentially have the ability to be the future of racing design/aerodynamics/powertrain etc.
UH Racing took part in a Formula Student event about two weeks ago at Bedford Modern School with Oxford Brookes University and University of Bath where we were able to show our cars to the general public and give secondary school pupils an insight into what engineering is all about and why we do it. There was also a Business Presentation in front of important staff from the top racing teams (McLaren, Williams, Caterham, Lotus, Red Bull) as well as automotive companies, such as Aston Martin, Nissan about the work we had done the year previously and how that was going to link into some of the work in the coming year. I am pleased to say UH Racing won the Business Presentation competition, but there were some strong performances from both of the other universities. It was my first taste of Formula Student competition and I loved it! It was a chance for the team to get to know each other outside of a university setting and also to see what the competition are doing and how they came up with ideas.
We have able to meet with some our sponsors recently to prepare for the manufacture of our vehicle. We had a visit from Loctite a few weeks ago and I didn’t realise just how many adhesive products they make for the automotive industry! Their presentation to us was superb and the guys that work there are very knowledgeable: you could describe to them exactly what you wanted and they could tell you the adhesive number straight away without missing a beat. Some of the team have also been to visit ATL Racing Fuel Cells and find out more information about the work they do there as well as the advanced technologies that they use and integrate into their Fuel Cells.
At the same time, the team has been able to recognise that we are university students and need time to socialise too. We have been on a trip to see the film Rush (which is an absolute must-see for not only the story of the 1976 Championship fight between James Hunt and Niki Lauda, but Chris Hemsworth…) and have other activities in the pipeline, which has been able to ease the pressure of being a final year student somewhat. With all the deadlines that I have to meet for our other modules (this is not the only thing I study this year) and also my part time job, it’s nice to have something to look forward to and be able to take your mind off the work, even if it is only for a few hours.
Finally, I will quickly mention this: it’s been a hot topic in the engineering world recently that Vince Cable (the Business, Innovation & Skills Secretary who came to visit us last month and sat in our Formula Student car) has announced that Britain has the lowest percentage of female engineers in Europe and wants to address this issue in the near future. I have been asked a few questions about this by people so here is my response: there’s an imbalance simply because of how engineering is viewed in society. I went to an event a couple of months ago where I was talking to secondary students about engineering and they asked why I didn’t become a hairdresser. The view that engineering is a men’s profession has been ingrained from such a young age that some girls and women view it in a negative light. I do engineering because it is my passion and it is what I love. If you aren’t able to do what you love then what are you really doing?
I’ll leave you all to think about that last statement.
Thanks for reading and I shall see you soon! Don’t forget to keep up to date on our UH Racing Facebook and Twitter pages..