Introduce your team briefly.
We are Cardiff Racing, based in Cardiff, Wales. We are a very diverse team, made up of both engineering students, as well as people from other schools. We place inclusivity at the core of our team, with anyone available to join, right from their first day at university. This means there can be a 9 year spread of experience between our newest and oldest members. We are very proud of being Welsh, although we still hate testing in the rain.
How did the cancellation of the formula student competitions impact your team?
We have been mainly impacted by the missing competition experience this year. We always gain so much as a team in the run-up to, and at the competition, whether that is in gathering data for future years, improving the skills of our team and our drivers, or just having loads of fun. Obviously, that is all missing this year which is a shame.
How did your team deal with the situation, what challenges did you face and how did you resolve them?
The situation really impacted us a month before the deadline for all the marked reports, meaning that a lot of work that required the use of facilities had to be canceled, as there was no access to it. Meetings were also made much harder, as they had to be transitioned to online, which still meant collaborative work was possible, but there is nothing like being able to sit around a table, bouncing ideas off each other, and working through a design.
What will you do differently for the online event?
We have taken this opportunity to give the less experienced members of our team a chance to take part in static events, and to be a bit more experimental in our approach to things. This means we can try a much more aggressive strategy, without the risk of sacrificing points in a physical event.
What is your biggest achievement in Formula Student so far?
This is by far our win at FSUK 2017, making us the second UK team to win an event, and the only one to win the UK one.
Do you believe the future of Formula Student can adapt to the COVID-19 crisis and how?
Being an engineering challenge, participating in Formula Student means that facing new problems is a key part of what we learn to do. As such, we’re confident that Formula Student will be able to adapt to the challenges presented by COVID-19, just as we and every other team overcome challenges every year. As to how this might work, the virtual competitions this year look like a good solution- we’re still working toward the same goal as in the past, and still taking on all the challenges we would otherwise face as a team. (Although, naturally, we’d love to be back racing in person someday soon!)
What can the Formula Student organizing bodies do to help the struggling teams due to the current events?
I would say that the most likely situation where a team is struggling after the current event would be financial, in which the Formula Student organizing bodies may be able to help. Obviously, this isn’t possible on a large scale, so the teams that cannot continue without extra funding should be prioritized, as the rest of the field will all be leveled by all suffering from reduced budgets for the coming year.
Do you think there are any positive outcomes for the competition from the current situation?
Yes, I think it will give the teams a great opportunity to work on their cars next year, with loads of testing, and an opportunity to test new parts on the car without worrying about whether the car will be ready for the competition in a months’ time.
Do you think it is beneficial for the teams to participate in an online competition and why?
Yes, we are expecting a lot of benefits to come from the online competition. As mentioned earlier, we are trying a load of new things for these events, just to see what sticks, which should help us to gain more points in future years. Also, by allowing the less experienced members to get an experience of the events, the team as a whole will have a much better skillset, very beneficial for next year.