Formula Student


History of Formula Student

From its inception in 1981, to its move to Silverstone in 2007, Formula Student has a rich history influenced by leading figures in the automotive industry and F1.

1981 - The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in the United States started running its Formula SAE programme.

1998 - Three US cars and four UK cars competed in a demonstration UK event, which was held at the MIRA Proving Ground, Warwickshire. UT Arlington (USA) were the overall winners with University of Birmingham taking the top spot for UK teams. 

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers accepted management of the European venture in partnership with SAE, and the competition has taken place at the end of each academic year since then.

1999 - The event was held at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, with Rochester Institute of Technology (USA) taking the overall win and Leeds University scoring top of the UK teams. 

2000 – CSU Pomona (USA) took the overall win at the NEC, with Brunel University scoring top of the UK teams.

2001 – Georgia Tech (USA) took the overall win at the NEC, with Leeds University scoring top of the UK teams.

2002 - The event moved to Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire.  Georgia Tech (USA) took the top spot for the second consecutive year and Brunel took the win for UK teams.

The first Driver Training Event took place at Three Sisters near Wigan. It was open to all teams who had finished building their FS cars and wanted to practice on the track before the main event in July. 

2003 – University of Toronto (Canada) took the overall win, with Oxford Brookes University taking the top spot for UK teams.

2004 – RMIT University (Australia) were the top scoring team, with Oxford Brookes University leading the UK teams for the second consecutive year.

2005 – University of Toronto (Canada) took the overall win, with University of Hertfordshire taking the top spot for UK teams.

Approved by the Learning Grid, an initiative set up by the DTI and funded by the industry body Motorsport Development UK in order to promote engineering and encourage students to choose a career in the industry.

The annual programme of FS events expanded. Learn to Win was held at Silverstone in October 2005, incorporating one day seminars for new teams to learn how to build their car and perform well at the end of the year, as well as driver training to give the teams a chance to get their previous year's cars on the circuit.

The Institution's regional teams also organised FS-related events, such as university team presentations and lectures.

Welcome speech to students given by Ross Brawn, former Scuderia Ferrari Technical Director.

2006 – University of Toronto (Canada) took the win for the second consecutive year, with Oxford Brookes University taking back the crown for UK teams.

Ross Brawn became Patron of Formula Student.

Pat Symonds gave the welcome speech to students at the main event.

2007 - July 2007 saw the event move to Silverstone Circuit, Northampton. The students worked on their cars in the pit garages used by the Grand Prix teams just a week before! The competition's dynamic events were then held on the famous National Circuit.

RMIT University (Australia) took the top spot with University of Bath securing the UK team win.

2008 - The Class 1A category was introduced. This exciting new category, sponsored by Flybrid Systems and supported by EEMS, favoured the low CO2 nature of the fuels and the smaller engine capacity.

University of Stuttgart (Germany) took the win with University of Bath retaining the UK honours.

2009 – University of Stuttgart (Germany) retained their title with University of Bath taking the top spot for UK teams for a record three years running.

Damon Hill OBE attended the live event at Silverstone.

2010 – TU Munich (Germany) were overall victors and University of Hertfordshire took the honours for UK teams.

An FS standard electrics box was developed for all the Class 1A teams, which measures the current and voltage passing between the electrical storage (battery) and the drive motor(s) on the electrically powered cars, essentially an electric meter, to accurately determine the electrical consumption of the vehicles during the Endurance event. The device also acts as a data-logger to capture information.

Bob Bell became an FS Ambassador.

2011 – University of Stuttgart (Germany) retained their title with University of Hertfordshire taking the top spot for UK teams for the second year.

2012 - Class 1A and Class 1 are merged; conventional combustion engines now compete head-to-head with electric and other alternative fuelled vehicles.

Chalmers University (Sweden) took the overall win and Oxford Brookes University were the top scoring UK team.

James Allison became an FS Ambassador.

2013 – ETH Zurich (Switzerland) won the overall title and University of Huddersfield took their inaugural UK top spot.

Leena Gade and Paddy Lowe became FS Ambassadors.

2014 – TU Delft (Netherlands) took the win with Oxford Brookes top of the UK leaderboard.

2015 – TU Delft (Netherlands) took a second consecutive competition win and University of Bath were the top UK team. David Brabham became an FS Ambassador.

2016 – University of Stuttgart (Germany) reclaim the crown and University of Bath retain the UK top spot.

2017 – Cardiff Racing take the title with their combustion engine car, ‘Gwyneth’, and are crowned the inaugural British winners of FSUK

2018 – The 20th anniversary year of the competition saw Monash Motorsports (Australia) dominate the competition, coming first and third with their combustion engine car and electric car respectively. Runners up Oxford Brookes take title of top UK team. 

2019– This year saw the first Italian winners, with MoRe Modena Racing's combustion car winning by a large margin, while runners up Oxford Brookes University (UK) retain their title as the top UK team. The first FS-AI competition takes place, with University of Edinburgh (UK) becoming the inaugural overall winner.

2020 – With the world facing the Coronavirus pandemic, this year saw the competition move entirely online, with teams presenting their work in online presentations and competing in Lap Time Simulations and Sim Racing in place of the dynamic events. University of Bath (UK) win the Virtual Static Events, University of Surrey (UK) win the Virtual Dynamics Events and Oxford Brookes University (UK) win the FS-AI competition for the first time.

2021 – In order to overcome ongoing restrictions with the Coronavirus pandemic, the competition ran as a hybrid event, with those teams that were unable to join at Silverstone competing in virtual presentations. Teams who were able to join online but who had limited time in their workshops to work on a new car could enter a two year old car under amended rules. Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (India) secured their first Concept Class victory, while HKUST (Hong Kong) won the first Lap Time Simulation event and Sim Racing events held online. At Silverstone, University of Sheffield (UK) were a force to be reckoned with, securing both Best Overall Second Year Vehicle and Overall Winner, making them the second British team to do so in the competition's history. Overcoming a dramatic collision from the Coventry University (UK) car in the Endurance event, Staffordshire University (UK) were able to repair their car and complete the Endurance event, securing second place overall and Best Overall First Year Vehicle. In FS-AI, University of Bath picked up the lion's share of Static event awards, however no team scored any points in the FS-AI Dynamic Events.

Get in touch

If you have a general question about Formula Student, we'd like to hear from you.

FS Partners

  • no alt
  • Ansys
  • JLR
  • Tata Elxsi

FS-AI Partners

  • no alt

FS Category Sponsors

  • Multimatic
  • RS
  • Onshape
  • Faraday
  • Avonside Safety Management
  • Bentley Motors

FS Exhibitors

  • no alt
  • Embed UK
  • AWE Aldermaston
  • no alt
  • no alt
  • no alt
  • no alt