Failing brakes, broken pedals, being deemed too loud to compete… these were all issues Warwick Racing had to contend with when we journeyed to Silverstone to compete in the Formula Student UK (FSUK) competition.
Unfortunately the combination of these problems meant we were unable to compete in any dynamic events, but the team learnt a valuable lesson: if at first you don’t succeed, patch everything up with duct tape. And if that doesn’t work? Try. Try again.
For the 2014/15 season Warwick Racing underwent a radical restructure. What was once a purely academic project reserved for fourth years was transformed into an extracurricular, multidisciplinary task force. However, such changes come with teething problems, and for us these problems culminated in a lack of pre-event testing of the finished car. Without sufficient testing we had no way of knowing where the weak points on our car were, and thus what could go wrong.
Further, we didn’t have the chance to wear our brakes in, nor did we know that once we did the repetitive loading it would cause the pedals to break. What hurt us most of all, however, was the discovery that our roaring engine was several decibels over the circuit’s noise limit.
Despite the disappointments at Silverstone, a couple of weeks of hard graft and nifty fixes allowed us to compete in every dynamic event at the Formula Student Germany (FSG) competition. To come so far in such a short space of time is a great achievement – just think what we could do with a whole year of improvement!
Formula One is regarded as the peak of motorsport, yet even great teams such as Ferrari and Williams have struggled to produce a competitive car at times. Those same teams have fought back to become Mercedes’ strongest competitors this season, showing that building on past failures paves the way to success. Warwick Racing are following suit, making note of our past mistakes and preventing them from happening again.
Our biggest set-back last year is already no longer an issue – as this is our second year as an extra curricular project, we won’t have the turbulent transition phase that previously threw us off balance, and the new management team have been working tirelessly since the summer holidays to organise sponsorship deals, promotional events, and testing days.
To combat the technical errors faced last year we have started testing much earlier, and indeed we have already ventured out on to the track to test the limits of the WR5, acquire data from this, and assess how WR6 can go forward. Though having a completed car is still a long way off yet, testing at this stage is useful in developing individual components and for training the drivers. Any possible issues will be spotted far in advance of the competition, giving us plenty of time to eliminate them.
We are also now aware right from the start of just how noisy our car is and can therefore plan accordingly to develop an exhaust muffler that should hopefully see us through the noise test without any problems!
As cringe-inducing as it sounds, the only real failure is giving up when the going gets rough. We’ve been through the rough, and we’ve learnt from our mistakes. Warwick Racing is back, and we’re stronger than ever.
Written by Clara Nicolson.