Frequently Asked Questions about the UK’s Formula Student competition.
When and where is the next UK competition taking place?
Provisional dates are Wednesday 22 July to Sunday 26 July 2020 inclusive and it will be returning to Silverstone, the home of the F1 British Grand Prix. The confirmed dates for FS2020 will be released by December 2019 at the latest.
Why is the competition held in July?
Our event date is largely driven by the venue, Silverstone Circuit and the availability of the National Complex. Many events held at Silverstone, including the F1 British Grand Prix, Moto GP, Silverstone Classic and World Endurance Championship as well as FS, have been held there for many years and event dates tend to remain the same or very similar year on year. As a result, the potential to move dates, particularly within the window of opportunity for European events is slim. We do try to avoid clashes with other European competitions as much as possible and there is an annual meeting of the European event organisers with this as part of the agenda. The reality is, however, that there are around 10 weeks in the summer where competitions can realistically take place and more than 10 European events so clashes are, unfortunately, inevitable.
Why is the event held at Silverstone?
Firstly, Silverstone Race Circuit has excellent facilities, is the Home of British Motorsport and is centrally located for British teams and from ports/airport for those travelling from Europe and further afield. The decision to move the event to Silverstone was taken around 12 years ago and since moving there, FS has grown exponentially in terms of number of teams entering. As such, a move from Silverstone would require us as organisers to identify an alternative with the same capacity and standard of facilities (including large expanses of relatively flat asphalt, garages with power and water supply, space for holding the Business Presentation event and ceremonies and a well-equipped, professionally operated campsite within walking distance) in a location that works for everyone.
Is there an entry process for teams to enter?
Unlike the majority of other competitions, we do not have an entry quiz. Team selections for the UK competition are made by the organising committee based on your submission of a Design Concept Specification outlining your plans for the competition year. Teams are accepted or otherwise based on the BLC, at which point they are required to pay their entry fee to secure their place. From 2020, a place in the competition will not be guaranteed until payment is received.
What do we need to do to enter?
Simple: make sure that you visit the Team Information area of the FS website for an overview of the rules, key dates for document submissions and make sure you get your documents submitted on time to minimise penalties. Then make sure you submit your Design Concept Specification in time.
We have built our car/s to FSG specification, can we still enter?
Yes! Since 2018 we have amended our rules to enable teams building FSG-spec cars to compete in the UK competition. This is covered within the UK supplementary rules, which are updated after Learn to Win in October.
Who is the competition open to?
Any team made up of those studying for a University degree qualification. This may also include those studying for foundation degrees or apprenticeships at Technical Colleges if there is a link to a University. The competition regularly sees first time entries and returning teams from across the UK as well as Europe, Australia, the Middle East, Asia and more: we welcome all teams who want to participate and excel in their chosen field of engineering.
There are three classes of entry available; Formula Student, Concept Class and FS-AI.
For running vehicles with IC, EV or Hybrid powertrains the Formula Student competition exists, where the rules are principally the same as FSG and FSAE but with UK specific supplementary regulations. For new teams who may wish to embark on a 2-year design project, Concept Class exists to provide an opportunity for initial design feedback and the opportunity to test the manufacture of a few components or a rolling chassis without the requirement to design and manufacture a running vehicle in a single competition year.
We also offer FS-AI, an autonomous class with options for teams to either develop their own autonomous FS car or utilise the IMechE’s autonomous vehicle platforms, the ADS-DV. Additionally, if using the common platform, teams can choose to have shared use of the IMechE’s vehicle or even purchase their own for ongoing R&D.
How much does it cost to enter?
The competition entry fees for 2020 are as follows:
- Formula Student: £1650 + VAT
- Concept Class: £595 + VAT
- FS-AI: £1000 + VAT
Is there any financial assistance available for teams?
Yes! In the last couple of years, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers has expanded their financial awards scheme so that teams around the world can apply for and receive funding to compete. Check out the application forms here to secure up to 8,000 GBP for your team.
Why should we take part in the UK competition?
- We are the longest-running Formula Student competition in Europe, now in its 22nd year
- The competition is owned and operated by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the largest professional engineering institution in the world with over 120,000 members worldwide
- The UK competition takes place at the historic Silverstone circuit, a current F1 Grand Prix venue, with cars running on the same track
- As one of the first events in the European events calendar, it’s a fantastic opportunity to get some early testing, feedback and, hopefully, silverware
- Our Judges and Scrutineers have a wealth of experience in industry that can help you not only during the competition but in your careers
- Our sponsors include some of the top engineering employers in the UK and the world and they acknowledge that Formula Student graduates are some of the best engineers available to employ
- We are the most International competition with representation from the largest number of different countries. We pride ourselves on being an inclusive and open competition whilst remaining competitive
- The organising committee are motivated to help as many engineering students as possible to experience and benefit from everything Formula Student has to offer the next generation of professional engineers
- Because racecar. Seriously!
What are the different FS-AI / Autonomous classes?
We organise two different FS-AI competition classes: Automated Driving System (ADS) and Dynamic Driving Task (DDT).
ADS: Teams compete with an autonomous car that they have developed and built completely themselves, such as entries from Starkstrom Augsburg and Team Bath Racing Electric. This is intended for experienced teams who are using cars that they are converting to autonomous vehicles or are building from scratch.
DDT: Shared use or private ownership of the IMechE’s own ADS-DV (Autonomous Driving System Dedicated Vehicle) platform, teams develop the software and drivers required to complete a series of ‘missions’, adding any other sensor or processing hardware they need within the rules. The platform is completely open and available for all teams to take a look; view full details on the FS website.
By running our own autonomous vehicle, we allow teams with limited budgets, manpower or other resources the chance to get started with autonomous systems development and hone their skills - including teams of computer science and electrical engineers.
Can we purchase our own ADS-DV?
Yes, in fact the UK’s Coventry University are the first team to invest in their own ADS-DV to develop their autonomous vehicle systems. It is not currently necessary for your team to have your own ADS-DV in order to compete in the DDT class, however the benefits of doing so include exclusive access to your own vehicle, more freedom to test multiple sensors and mounting points and ongoing R&D for your University.
Importantly, funding is available from the UK Government to assist teams with purchasing an ADS-DV platform. If your university is interested in the ADS-DV platform, please contact us for more details.