Along with many sporting events, the Formula Student competition has not been able to take place in the physical realm which of course is a major blow to those students who invest so much time energy and skill at the chance to gain real world experience of building a race car from scratch and pitching it against teams from all over the world.
However, a glimmer of hope is the rapid adaptation of the competition format to the virtual realm and Tamara de Jong, Business Development Lead at Oxford Brookes Racing, this year fielding an electric race car has been keeping SPAL in the loop:
“The IMECHE and the University have been working hard on various solutions to still make 2020 a year of innovation, that can be done safely. Discussions have begun to reopen campuses in the near future, in compliance with social distancing.
“At this stage, we are still discussing ways to safely restart OBR's physical operations and OBR20 car manufacture. It is deeply upsetting for not only you as our partner but especially for our many Masters students who only have a short time with the team. However, we are all fully committed to ensuring the health and safety of the team and the University at all times.
“The team has been focusing efforts towards remote based work, detailed handover documents for all subsections, and of course University projects, with the aim to fulfil our mission in creating a multi-year legacy, ensuring that the 2020/2021 team can transition to our electric era with ease.
"Recently, the IMECHE has advertised the Formula Student competitions to take place in a virtual format this year - focused on design, manufacturing and business strategy - much like industry has had to refocus in a powerful way.
“While the dynamic events, and car build remain on hold until next year - we are confident that the team will produce excellent results as a virtual contender. The format of the competitions is still being finalised by the IMECHE Formula Student, and we will update you when we have more concrete information.
“We will keep you informed as to any new developments on the now two-year journey for OBR20. The journey will certainly make for an innovative and competitive competition season when we all return to the track beyond COVID19.We hope to see you soon again, and thank you for your support.”
Another layer of complexity to the competition and we are so impressed with how Formula Student teams are responding, we await further news with anticipation.