Each year Formula Student (FS) challenges university students from around the world to design and build their own single-seat racing car, which is then put to the test at the famous Silverstone Circuit. University teams from multiple disciplines work together, developing creative solutions, building teamwork and communication skills, and learning how to deliver projects to budget and deadlines.

Formula Student has been run by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers since 1998, and since then, tens of thousands of competitors have come through the competition, with graduates now featuring in every Formula 1 team!

Formula Student is

  • A high performance engineering project.
  • An unmatched demonstration of real-world engineering experience for engineering employers and the motorsport industry
  • An intense, ten month long project, teaching students teamwork, business skills and technical ability

The Challenge

“A manufacturing firm has asked you to develop a production prototype for a single-seat race car for autocross or sprint racing. The target customer for the final product is a non-professional racer, with high standards for performance and value for money.”

Events and Scoring

As Formula Student aims to develop well-rounded engineers, each team is assessed not only on their cars performance and their understanding of the engineering behind their design, but on their overall business proposal. This is done in a series of static and dynamic events.

Static Events

Design 150 points

Students must be able to explain how their cars materials, components, and systems come together and how their design meets the needs of the intended market

Business Presentation 75 points

In this event, the judges play the role of the potential investors. Each team has to present a business case that sells their concept to them.

Cost and Sustainability 100 points

Here teams provide an accurate estimate of the cost of their car in a limited production. They should be able to show the judges where they’ve spent the money and added value. They are also required to understand how much energy is required to produce their powertrain.

Dynamic Events

Skid Pad 50 points

In motorsport straight line speed isn’t everything so the skid pad lets teams show how well their car goes around corners. Cars need to have good lateral grip to complete a figure of eight in the quickest possible time.

Acceleration 75 points

This event focuses on the car’s powertrain performance and driveability and on the suspension’s ability to provide maximum tyre grip. The measure of acceleration is the total time it takes to travel down Silverstone’s pit straight from a standing start.

Sprint 150 points

This tests the car’s manoeuvrability and handling qualities on a tight 800m course. To do well, cars have been quick as well as nimble around the corners.

Endurance 300 points

The biggest test of the teams is the 22km endurance race where the cars have to prove their durability. There is also a mandatory stop, driver change, and hot restart that really test reliability and the team’s ability to efficiency make changes to pedal positions, seats etc.

Fuel Efficiency 100 points

Efficient design is about more than how the car looks. Customers will expect their car to be as green and fuel efficient as possible. Top electric cars should achieve 125 grams of CO2 per km during the endurance trial.