Scrutineering

The formula student competition has a rules book with rules for a lot of parts in the car, ranging from mechanical fastening to measuring the Lithium cells voltages and rules that do not affect our car because we designed it differently.

Throughout the year when designing an electric car, the rules book is a close friend. Printed out and put in a binder the rules never left my desk because it is one of the most important aspect to winning a competition.

Every competition starts with scrutineering of the car to check for rules compliancy on driver gear, mechanical and electrical aspects. The rules are checked by a group of experienced engineers that go through a checklist to verify that your car complies to the intent of the rules and other safety aspects.

Grounding, brake plausibility, sensor failures and more gets checked. Datasheets, calculations and test all collected and ready to shown to the scrutineers is the best way to get through this process.

Being able to pass these tests is more important than you might think, at FSG there are 120 teams that all want to be able to drive their car, so they first have to be checked and everyone has his own time slot to prove their car is compliant.

If something is wrong and you run out of time you lose your time slot and you have to wait until the rest is finished, here you lose on valuable testing time and might even force you to miss one of the events.

In the end we passed all FSG scrutineering in one go because we decided at the start of the year to make sure we would not design in a way that there is any chance of failing. But as always after scrutineering and during design the discussion about what a rule actually wants you to make is sometimes quite vague. You have to find the intent of the rule and this is what gives a lot of discussion throughout the years with alumni and team members. In the end the car has to get through so we do not play around with the rules to much and just make the best out of it.