Students experience life in the electric fast lane



L-R: Ali Russell, Director of Media and New Business Development at Formula E, Angus Cameron, Bernard Hollands, Susie Wolff, Team Principal of Venturi Formula E Team, Bruce Thomson and Craig Hamilton

A group of students from Heriot-Watt University have travelled to Germany for a rare insight into the racing glamour of Formula E and to find out what it takes to succeed in motorsport.

The four students from the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, flew to Berlin where they met with Ali Russell, an economics graduate of Heriot-Watt who is now the Director of Media and New Business Development at Formula E.

Ali recently got in touch with the University to invite students to the latest stage of the Formula E Championship as his personal guests and to give them a unique learning experience.

Having worked on our own electric race car, I am full of admiration for the technicians and engineers of all Formula E teams.

Craig Hamilton, Low Voltage Lead of HWRacing

Craig Hamilton (20), Bruce Thomson (23), Bernard Hollands (20) and Angus Cameron (22) were selected as they are part of the university's HWRacing Formula Student team, which is currently developing an electric powered, high performance single seater racing car for the Formula Student Competition at Silverstone.

Over the course of two days, the students were given access to the pits where they met, among others, with the Venturi racing team and learnt more about the motorsport and the technology that powers it from Team Principal at Audi SPORT ABT Schaeffler, Allan McNish.

They also watched the qualifying laps as well as the main race at the famous Tempelhof Airport Street Circuit.

Craig Hamilton, Low Voltage Lead of HWRacing and who is studying Robotics Autonomous and Interactive Systems, said: “The chance to talk directly with a Team Principal about the work they do and to be able to discuss some of the problems we have experienced with our car was incredibly helpful and something none of us expected.

“Having worked on our own electric race car, I am full of admiration for the technicians and engineers of all Formula E teams. To design a vehicle that can move that quickly using clean energy is an amazing achievement and to watch it live was an incredible experience.

“All in all it was a great experience, we learned a lot and made some great contacts in electric motorsport that we look forward to working with in the future.”

Formula E is a ground-breaking FIA single-seater championship and the world's first fully-electric racing series, featuring 11 two-driver teams racing on temporary city-centre circuits. It is the brainchild of FIA President Jean Todt, who envisioned creating a championship to showcase the vast potential of electric vehicles.

Director of Media and Business Development at Formula E, Ali Russell, said afterwards: “Formula E's popularity is growing all the time and like any sport it is extremely competitive at the elite level, not just from a driving point of view but also in securing a job with a team.

“I know first-hand the excellent standards of learning and teaching at Heriot-Watt University and I wanted to offer current students the chance to learn about the challenges and opportunities of Formula E.

“The University has an exceptional reputation particularly in engineering, economics and business - all highly specialist areas of study relevant to motorsport - and race teams are always hungry to find the best team members to give them the edge on their competition.

“I hope the students found the trip a rewarding experience.”

On June 21, HWRacing will unveil its fastest ever racing car at an event held at the University's Edinburgh Campus..

The team's progress can also be followed on Twitter @hwracing on Facebook HWRacingOfficial and on Instagram at hwracing_fs

Heriot-Watt University regularly offers unique learning experiences for its students and works closely with companies around the world to produce industry-ready graduates.