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Formula 1 student competition takes off

by / Comments Off on Formula 1 student competition takes off / 143 View / August 26, 2014

/ 1,200 participants from 13 countries finalise their single-seat racing cars
/ SEAT is the competition’s main sponsor and collaborates in the development of the vehicle designed by ETSEIB-UPC students

The fifth edition of Formula Student Spain, the biggest international university motorsport competition, will be held this Thursday the 28th until Sunday the 31st of August at the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit.

A total of 32 students from the School of Industrial Engineering of Barcelona (ETSEIB) at Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) have been working since September 2013 on the single-seat racing car that will enter the competition. Over the last year they have taken the lead in a multitude of initiatives required for the vehicle’s preparation. As professor Francesc Roure, academic director of Formula Student at UPC, explains: “The students start off with a blank sheet of paper and not only do they have to cover the technical aspects, they also need to develop a business plan and look for funding to carry it out. The exercise consists of designing a prototype that can then be built and also demonstrating that it functions during the race”.

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The students agree that taking part in a project like this is a very enriching experience, because it expands upon the training they receive in the classroom. “Thanks to this project, we are able to put our creativity into practice”, remarks David López, a student competing with the ETSEIB team for the third year. “We are always trying to develop innovative ideas and determine how we can apply them”, explains Alba Martí, another ETSEIB student.

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One of the most important features is that the university students come into contact with automotive companies and are able to exchange ideas with professionals from the industry. In this vein, SEAT has been the main sponsor of Formula Student Spain since its first year, and has collaborated on developing ETSEIB’s fully electric vehicle.

José de la Mota, project tutor at the SEAT Prototype Development Centre, explains that the company’s team has helped the young people with various aspects, “from managing the project to manufacturing the parts”, while it has also gained from this experience with the students thanks to  “that quality of freshness they have when they are at the studying stage”.

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A considerable amount of students participating in the competition are nearing the end of their studies, making this relationship very valuable to them. Meanwhile, for SEAT it provides an opportunity to discover young talent and potential candidates for its workforce.

Reaching the podium is one of the ETSEIB team’s goals, although they also confess it’s not the be-all and end-all. “Competing in Formula Student is more than rewarding”, concludes Ricard Basora, one of the 32 students who is excitedly enjoying the days leading up to the race in Montmeló.

51 teams will face off in this year’s competition, comprising a total of 1,200 university students from 13 different countries including Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, the United States and India. First held in the United States in 1981, Formula Student travels to different circuits around the world each year, offering young engineers the chance to show off their ideas and initiatives throughout the entire vehicle creation process – starting at the design board and ending on the race track.

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During the competition, teams must demonstrate the quality of their work through theoretical and dynamic tests, before measuring the vehicle’s endurance on the circuit. The judges of the competition rate the technical quality of the vehicle, the suitability and originality of its design as well as its overall viability in commercial terms.

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