A unique visit to the Scuderia Ferrari
Students from the Lausanne Racing Team, the EPFL team that intents to participate to the Formula Student in July 2019, visited the legendary Formula One team.
Formula Student is a world-wide engineering competition that opposes students from universities all over the world on the design and the making of a single seater electric Formula car. The newly association Lausanne Racing Team (LRT) intents to compete in the name of EPFL in the electric vehicle category in summer 2019.
Even though the project of building a car from scratch in such a short time looks impressive, the team is more motivated than ever. Indeed, they have created a partnership with the legendary Formula One team, Scuderia Ferrari, thanks to Mattia Binotto, Chief Technical Officer of Scuderia Ferrari and EPFL Alumnus. And thanks to the incredible organization and hospitality of Nick Collett (R&D) and Dennis De Munck (Recruitment) at Ferrari, 16 students of the LRT had the chance to visit the Gestione Sportiva of Ferrari at Maranello, in September. This two-day meeting aimed at realizing some design reviews of the first prototype to help the students move forward with the project.
Exclusive visits and precious advices
The students were first welcomed with some motivational words from Mattia Binotto, a few minutes before he leaves for the Singapore Grand Prix. They were then introduced to the world of Ferrari through some numbers, facts and exclusive visits of the factory. Followed a series of workshops with different engineers from each department of the R&D office.
One of the biggest challenge for the LRT will be the design of the chassis which has to be strong enough to be secure for the pilot inside and light enough to be performant. The student presented their work and the Ferrari engineers advised them on the simulation method as well as on the manufacturing techniques. “It was great to work with Ferrari’s engineers because they’ve been able to adapt their advice to our needs and our resources by giving us some easier and cheaper methods they knew for composite manufacturing, and by giving us a feedback and a better orientation on what we wanted
to achieve.” said Lucas Rongier, head of the chassis development division at LRT.
Even though the Formula One cars are mainly propelled by a combustion engine, they also use electric energy for braking and increasing accelerating performance. The Ferrari engineers had a lot of good recommendations on the electric concept chosen by the students. The choice of the battery pack and its configuration led to great discussions. As it turns out, the batteries that electric Formula Student cars use are quite similar to those used in Formula One. The members of the LRT also learnt about how they could modify the electric motor that they are going to buy in order to increase power and efficiency.
A mind full of ideas
The Aerodynamics of the project was also reviewed by an aero engineer from the Scuderia. This workshop helped the team to understand how their kit could be improved, especially concerning vortices management around the wings. They also got some good advices on how to control the air away from the wheels to reduce drag.
This closed the two days of collaboration and as said Alexis Couturier, head of
Aerodynamics at the LRT: “Thanks to the Scuderia’s kind advice and patience we left with the mind full of new ideas and extremely motivated for the upcoming months.” The Lausanne Racing Team came back to their campus full of motivation and ideas and the engineers fed back that they found the team’s enthusiasm «infectious». The two entities will go on working together as the students move forward on the development of their car.
Pierre Georges, président de Lausanne Racing Team