Interview – Deefholt Dynamics Team

Introduce your team briefly.

The Deefholt Dynamics Team 2020 consists of 57 students from the Diepholz campus. The students graduate from PHWT with a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, mechatronics, mechanical engineering, or industrial engineering.

The history of the team goes back to 2006, in this year a racing car was designed and manufactured at PHWT for the first time.

How did the cancellation of the formula student competitions impact your team?

The cancellation of all the formula student events was of course a big shock and also a big disappointment for the whole team. Especially since we had successfully qualified and registered for 3 events this year.

In addition, the team is completely exchanged each year, as it is intended by the university. This means that we cannot participate in any event as active members. But of course, we will visit the 2021 team at the events next summer.

How did your team deal with the situation, what challenges did you face and how did you resolve them?

After the schools and universities were closed and the events were canceled, we first discussed how to proceed. But we quickly came to the decision that we wanted to complete the DD20 without any time pressure. We have been working on the car and the static disciplines, such as the business plan, from home as much as possible. For a short time, we are able to continue working in our workshops with the corresponding hygienic requirements.

The biggest problem with the home office is that it is only possible to continue working to a limited extent, as you can only work digitally. But now that we can go back to university, this problem is solved.

There is also the problem that of course our sponsors and manufacturers also suffer heavily from the Corona crisis. Therefore, they can understandably only support us to a limited extent. For this reason, we are very grateful for any support we still receive. We are currently trying to solve this problem in order to produce more parts ourselves.

What will you do differently for the online event?

For the online event, the focus is on the theoretical development of the car and thus on the preparation for the Engineering Design Event. We will try to explain the things we would have shown directly on the car digitally with pictures.

What is your biggest achievement in Formula Student so far?

Our biggest achievement in Formula Student is a third place at the Endurance in Assen 2018.

Do you believe the future of Formula Student can adapt to the COVID-19 crisis and how?  

I think for an event like Formula Student it is difficult to adapt to situations like a worldwide pandemic. Formula Student thrives on the fact that people from different countries work together, exchange ideas, and compete with a race car in different disciplines. It is hard to do something like that digitally.

Nevertheless, we can learn from the crisis how important digitalization is and that it is possible to work in a decentralized way within a framework.

But for me Formula Student is not conceivable without real events.  

What can the Formula Student organizing bodies do to help the struggling teams due to the current events?

In view of the deadlines, the teams that have problems should be given a delay so that they have the opportunity to hand in all documents too.

Furthermore, even if the documents for the canceled events are no longer needed, there should be the possibility to get feedback so that you can improve in the future.

Do you think there are any positive outcomes for the competition from the current situation? 

I think the positive thing about the whole situation is that creativity is encouraged, and this has made an online event possible, for example. Maybe there will be more possibilities for the future.

Furthermore, as a team, you have learned to deal with crises and still try to make the best out of it. And that it is important to have a good digital communication possibility.

Do you think it is beneficial for the teams to participate in an online competition and why?

Yes, I think the biggest advantage is to get feedback. So, you can still prepare for the next season in the best possible way. You get the chance to present what you have been working on for over half a year. And of course, if you do well in the event, you have advantages for the next year.

Personal Statement

I and the whole team are very happy about the fact that despite the whole difficult situation an event will be organized this summer.
I think this creativity and commitment is what makes Formula Student so special.