IMechE deputy president and chairman of Formula Student

IMechE Formula Student (FS) is an engineering competition that captures the excitement and enthusiasm of motorsport as its driving force. One of the key reasons it was established is because the world is crying out for good young engineers. The next generation of young engineers is going to be crucial to solving our energy, environment and transport problems, and FS gives them a chance to learn in a unique environment.

FS gives graduates the experience to hit the ground running. It teaches them how to turn theory into practice. It shows them how to operate to cost scales and deliver on time. Sound like the real world? It is. These are some of the brightest minds in the world building a race car from scratch. That’s a pretty amazing achievement.

When we started 11 years ago, we had no idea how rapidly the competition would grow. We now have incredible support from some of the world’s biggest names, from Honda F1, Toyota, Shell, Airbus to Learning Grid and Flybrid Systems who have worked with us to develop the Class 1A Alternative Fuels category this year.

People sometimes ask me if we should be encouraging students to build race cars in an era dogged by so many environmental problems. My answer to that is an unequivocal yes. When resources are scarce we cannot afford to build anything that uses more energy and materials than it needs – that is fundamental to race car engineering. These highly efficient machines have been developed through trial and testing and that is exactly what we should be encouraging students to do. Learn, strive and achieve. I am certain that Class 1A will grow and I congratulate Hertfordshire University for winning in the first year, and to Oxford Brookes and Coventry for entering.

Engineering is changing the face of our planet and shaping not just our future but the next generation. Indeed, it is the next generation that you will be reading about.

If you would like to take part in Formula Student next year, please visit

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