The cars of Formula One (F1) racing are commonly known to be the fastest road-course racing cars in the world due high-performance engines and design. In the global F1 in Schools Competition, students design, manufacture, and, finally, race miniature F1 cars made of balsa wood. Andover Competitive Engineering Society (ACES) is now preparing for the F1 in Schools Competition.
Over the past two years, ACES has won numerous titles at engineering competitions at the state, regional, national, and international levels. Most recently, ACES placed second in regionally and first at the state level. The national competition will take place in Austin, Texas.
The team is composed of six members: co-heads Kunal Vaishnavi ’18 and Vish Dhar ’19, Ruide Wang ’18, Sebastian Frankel ’20, Sam Sheehan ’20, and Emmeline Song ’20.
Together, these team members must design, manufacture, and race a F1 racing car powered by a CO2 cartridge for the F1 in Schools Competition. The team, in addition, must also create a portfolio called a Pit Booth. This portfolio details the design of the team’s car as well as how funding was acquired to manufacture the car.
Sheehan said, “There are a lot of teams that have worked so hard on this all year, and everyone really wants to win… This takes pretty much all day.”
Song wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “I’m excited to learn more about engineering and design while meeting some of the top engineers in the world! This is also a chance for our team to develop our leadership and teamwork skills.”
F1 in Schools is a non-profit organization. Its mission, according to its main website, is “to help change the perceptions of science, technology, engineering, and maths by creating a fun and exciting learning environment for young people.”
ACES meets weekly to discuss what they have been working on and how they will move forward with their car design. As the competition approaches, they continue to work on 3D-printing their car.
Vaishnavi said, “We’ve already designed it in a 3D software. We’ve got our design, and we’ve done our analysis on it. Now, we are going to a local makerspace to manufacture [the car].”
According to Vaishnavi, the team will be meeting on Sunday to race their car in the Smith Center. In order to print the car, ACES had also raise funds and obtain sponsorships.
“Over break, me and Kunal went to Salem, N.H., and we drove up and down the road going to local businesses and asking them if they would be willing to sponsor us. We got a couple yes’s, but we are still waiting for the transactions to come through,” said Dhar.
As a club, ACES primarily focuses on entering engineering competitions of their choice. All club meetings are spent preparing for future competitions and furthering their most current project.
Meetings are structured around debriefing and then distributing tasks for the upcoming week, so that work can be effectively completed.
“I think one thing we can improve upon as a team in general is just hitting our deadlines, because I think often because we are busy at Andover, we end up having to push things back, so it’s hard for us to get things in on time,” said Vaishnavi.
Dhar said, “In the last competition, we were always on the wire. On the last day, the morning of the competition, we were working on our car and on our Pit Booth, which is not the ideal situation.”
Outside of meetings, the team works to hone the design of their F1 car. The team maintains frequent contact in order to keep members updated on the team’s progress, according to Vaishnavi.
“I would definitely say we work well as a group, and we always have this line of constant communication with each other so we can bounce ideas off each other and anticipate things coming ahead of time. Our ability to work with each other is really prized,” said Vaishnavi.