The formula sae
Formula SAE is an international competition, reserved for university students, which involves the design and production of a racing car, evaluated during a series of tests based on its design qualities and engineering efficiency.
The competition was established in 1981 with the aim of creating a university event, regulated to give students the opportunity to put into practice what they have learned during their studies and which, at the same time, would bring benefits for companies. Since 2017 Formula Student Germany has been proposing its own version of the competition, renaming it “Formula Student.” It is a 360-degree testing ground for students as it allows them to prepare for the world of work, design according to compromises (time, people, money), thus developing planning and project management skills.It also allows you to learn soft skills how to work effectively in a team, communication, public speaking and leadership.
The SAE Formula, therefore, is the perfect example of learning by doing.
These are the main reasons why this competition is held in high regard by the main international companies active in the automotive and other sectors, which sponsor both the competition itself and individual teams. Many companies often turn to Formula Student teams considering them preferential bases for the recruitment of new staff: some companies, especially in the motorsport field, include participation in Formula SAE competitions among the mandatory requirements for candidates in numerous positions.
The tests that each team must face are divided into two categories: static events and dynamic events, which in turn are made up of multiple tests. To access the dynamic events, the cars are subjected to a series of checks and inspections by the judges, who verify their compliance with the regulations, especially as regards the rules designed to guarantee safety.
- Business Plan Presentation: The teams display a business plan in front of a group of potential investors (the judges of the competition with an engineering and economic background) who must be convinced, through a sales plan and an adequate marketing strategy, to invest in the project presented.
- Design Event: consists in the presentation of the complete project of the car. The goal of this event is to judge design choices and efforts and how they meet market needs. The vehicle must be presented fully assembled and ready to compete.
- Cost Event: concerns the economic aspect and focuses on the analysis of the Cost Report produced by the team indicating the quantities of materials and components of the car used for their project displayed on tables that contain indications of costs (raw materials, machine hours, labor ). The evaluation of this test takes into consideration how much the students are aware of the necessary compromise between budget management and performance to be achieved.
The dynamic events consist in testing the built car on the track, which will have to face four different tests: Acceleration, Skidpad, Autocross and Endurance & Efficency, which will show the judges acceleration, stability, best time and reliability of the designed prototype.
The endurance test is the event that closes the race weekend, and aims to evaluate the overall performance of the prototype. For this reason it represents the main event of a Formula SAE competition. It takes place along a track very similar to the one in which the autocross test takes place, for a total of 22 km. Once the endurance has been completed, a ranking is drawn up and consequently points are assigned for the fuel economy. Fuel economy is a critical aspect in motor racing, as well as showing how effectively the car has been prepared.
The race result is obtained from the sum of the static and dynamic events: a score is assigned to each test, the one who reaches the highest score wins. The result obtained is nothing more than the fruit and commitment of a year of work, it is what the team and individual students have learned, put into practice, and prepared for the racing weekend.
The race before putting teams from all over the world into competition is a challenge with oneself, it is the culmination of the team’s commitment, together with the awareness of the mistakes made along the way: it is the closing of a circle made of passion, experience and dedication.
The Formula student is theory that meets practice, is a step towards the world of work.