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Society Profile: Queen Mary Formula Student

Friday 3 March 2017

Queen Mary Formula Student are a collaborative team of students from various disciplines across the university who are working towards the goal of designing, building and racing their very own Formula 1 racing car in the IMechE Formula Student competition at Silverstone in July. They want to share with you all their progress, and many benefits they have experienced from being part of this fantastic project.

Firstly, could you tell us a bit about what Formula Student Society is all about?

In its most simple terms, Queen Mary Formula Student is Formula 1 for students. The team collaborate in a unique project which spans the entire academic year, considering the engineering and fundamental business of building a formula-spec car.

We are split into two main teams – the engineering team are responsible for designing, building, testing and eventually competing with a bespoke race car, and the operations team are responsible for the finance, marketing and administration functions which encompass the entire 40+ strong team.

The work we encounter requires regular problem solving, the ability to think critically and act fast to achieve our ultimate objective this year, which is to be the best newcomers of the annual IMechE Formula Student event.

Could you tell us more about the IMechE Formula Student event?

Formula Student is a world-renowned competition, which sees over 3,000 students compete in a high performance engineering project, which is not only extremely valued by universities, but also by the leaders of the motorsport industry. It is the benchmark for engineering graduates to meet, and a unique opportunity to gain real world experience in a racing team, competing against some of the most innovative minds in the industry.

Formula Student is aimed at innovative and enterprising young engineers. It gives a chance for students to be challenged, as they have to design and build a single-seat racing car to compete in a variety of static and dynamic events. The car must be low in cost, easy to maintain and reliable with high performance in terms of its acceleration, braking, and handling qualities. During the competition our team must demonstrate the logic behind our proposal and must be able to demonstrate that it can support a viable business model for all stakeholders.

More information can be found here.

What opportunities are available to your members, both engineering students and others? 

The members of our team are specifically selected by an experienced management team, undergoing an online test as well as face-to-face interviews before joining. Upon entering the team, our engineers are exposed to a research project unlike any other, delivering a depth of understanding which cannot be gained by simply reading a textbook. Similarly, our operations team gain a unique perspective on the day-to-day running of an automotive project with the ability to add value immediately after joining.

Furthermore, we operate a meritocratic platform where each individual is credited for their contribution to the team, with the opportunity to be featured on our monthly announcements for an outstanding contribution to our team. Everyone from our driver to welder learns something new and is given the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals, all of whom are equally motivated to deliver an operational car to Silverstone racetrack this year.

What has the society achieved in the past and how are you developing this year?

Following a refresh in our branding, we are currently in our second year of competition as Queen Mary Formula Student. We have taken delivery of our custom-made chassis made of mild steel and continue to integrate and mount parts onto it.

The design for all our parts are finalised and we are nearing manufacturing with an expanded and motivated team. The amount of effort and hard work done within Queen Mary Formula Student goes down in history as every week we manage to overcome barriers we have faced previously.

Our project is more than just work and no play, we organise events to improve team chemistry and members are strongly encouraged to communicate and talk with each other. Therefore, we have complete transparency within the team giving confidence to team members that they are always in the loop.

The team is built on sustainability, operating under the system that experience should be passed on to younger students to give them the confidence and knowledge to take over the project after experienced members have graduated or have taken a different path. Over 50 per cent of our members are foundation or first year students, and each department facilitates the next generation of engineers by nominating a deputy head of department.

Have you had any notable achievements so far?

This year’s Formula Student team has achieved a lot, starting with a visit by one of the editors of RaceCar Engineering magazine, Sam Collins who offered the team some tips and hints to improve further. This was closely followed by the first Queen Mary Formula Student engine start in the history of the team, which brought positive attention to the team from various parties, including the School of Engineering and Materials Science (SEMS).

The team took this key milestone as motivation to push forward, with the marketing team securing a spot on the IMechE website, which addressed our accomplishments thus far whilst further increasing our social media presence to keep our followers updated.

One of the more recent achievements has to be the confirmation from the IMechE that we will be competing in the Class 1 category of the competition, bringing us ever closer to reaching the ultimate goal.

What are the important things that you’ve learned while being a member of the society?

I think by collaborating with highly talented and motivated individuals from almost every area of the university, and bringing them together in this exciting project, we’ve all learned a great deal. Working with people who have different study backgrounds provides our members with the opportunity to see things from alternative perspectives that they perhaps hadn’t considered before. 

Also, being an engineering exercise, members of our team have stated the most impactful thing they’ve learned is how the parts that make up different aspects of a car come together to form a final product which is then rigorously tested.

Other skills that our team continue to develop during their time working on this project include: time management, communication, organisation and interpersonal skills. As Queen Mary Formula Student runs in parallel with our members' normal timetable, all the work done for this project is above and beyond typical lectures and tutorials. However, we’ve still found time to teach some members welding, the first time this has ever happened in Queen Mary Formula Student.

Put simply, our team finds creative solutions to complex technical problems by working together.

Do you have any plans to run any events in the future? 

In the near future, our team is planning to partner with a motorsport charity to help raise funds towards helping support the community in which we operate. Our plan is to organise a bake sale with motorsport activities to encourage donations towards the many great motorsport causes around the UK.

Arguably our second biggest event will be the release of our car to the university, serving as a focal point for all the hard work and effort which has been conducted within the team this year. The opportunity to showcase our first (as yet unnamed) car to all our partners and the students of Queen Mary University of London is something that we hope will make our university proud and will be an honour.

How can people follow your progress and keep in touch with your society?

We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with companies in any industry, providing tailored solutions to the corporate social responsibility needs of our valued partners. Please email qmformulastudent@gmail.com and a member of our outreach team will be more than happy to help.

We also have an expansive internet presence, which can be found below:

Website – www.qmformulastudent.co.uk
Facebook - www.facebook.com/QueenMaryFormulaStudent
Twitter – www.twitter.com/QueenMaryFS  
Instagram - www.instagram.com/qmformulastudent/  
LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/company/queen-mary-formula-student

Please look out for our soon-to-be-launched YouTube channel and car reveal later in the year!

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