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Thread: 2016 Formula Student UK (FSUK)

  1. #41
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Clarke View Post

    I know you are 'speculating' and finished with a 'winkie' but that speculation is not helpful.

    What I would like to know is who were the scrutineers who led the checks that led to disqualification?


    As far as I know it was Michael Royce.
    Rennteam Uni Stuttgart
    2008: Seat and Bodywork
    2009: Team captain

    GreenTeam Uni Stuttgart
    2010: Seat and Bodywork / Lamination whore

    Formula Student Austria
    2012: Operative Team

  2. #42
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Sydney Australia
    Thanks Ben,

    I had heard from another source that is was Michael and Suzanne Royce.

    The trick is... There is no trick

  3. #43

    Right to respond


    You have been a contributor to this forum. You want to use the opportunity to give your side of the story?


  4. #44
    Claude, Pat, Ben, et al,
    To set the record straight, Dan Jones, who is the current Vice-Chairman of the FSAE Rules Committee was the Chief Scrutineer at Formula Student again this year. As has been the case for the past number of years, I helped him out at the post Endurance Parc Ferme. Suzanne was also at the competition, working the initial scutineering and Driver Change during Endurance, but was not a part of the inspection team in Parc Ferme.

    This was the first year we have had any post Endurance problems at FS UK in the 19 years I have worked it. I believe we have had some energy meter DQ's on the electrics, including 1 again this year, but nothing mechanical.

    Making sure that the aero components are within the rules is not something that can be done quickly. It requires attention to detail and must be done on a flat, horizontal surface. Therefore, at FS this year, the Parc Ferme inspections were done on the steel plate surface of the weigh bridge inside the Scrutineering Building. During the inspections, we allow one member of that team to be present (no other competitors present). This year, when we found some "problems", we re-inspected each of the four teams in question with several members of that team present, and even had them confirm the methodology AND each of the measurements we took. The numbers were confirmed and passed on to the competition organizers who had to decide what action to take. They are the ones who decide if a team should be penalized, and if so, what the penalty should be, not the scrutineers. The scrutineers are just the policemen, not the judges or juries.

    Following the decision to DQ the teams (there was a fifth for an energy meter violation, I believe), there was a general statement about the DQ's posted at the competition. I believe 4 of the teams protested the DQ. A protest Committee heard the protests, and after some discussion, denied them, letting the DQ's stand. Since the competition, I understand that the teams who were DQ'd have already received individual letters from IMechE with a full explanation. I also understand that in the next couple of days, so that everyone has the full, correct information and is not relying on rumor and innuendo, IMechE will post a full explanation of the the reasons for the DQ's and why the protests submitted by four of the DQ'd teams were denied. When it is posted I will add the link to this thread.

    Earlier on this thread, I think someone said "it was only 1 or 2 mms". Sorry, FSAE/FS teams need to understand that these dimensions have no tolerance. A 20 mm restrictor is 20.00, +0.00, -20.00! Teams seem to understand that. So why don't they understand that the widths and heights of the aero components are that way too? If the scrutineers allow an extra 1 mm, why not 2mm? And then why not 5mm, etc? Where would one stop? The rules are the rules, like it or not, and the scrutineers' job is to enforce them. That is why scrutineers are never the most popular people at a track (unlike Design Judges??!!)

    Michael Royce.

    P.S. Although I was not a part of it, I believe there was one team DQ'd after Endurance at FSAE Lincoln this year.

  5. #45
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    NSW, Australia
    Yeah... a precision machined restrictor with a single reference point (the throat diameter) is not the same as some composite measured (actually, re-measured) relative to some rubber. When the rules are not written correctly one should look to the intent of the rules for best judgement. It doesn't sound like that was the case.

    UoW FSAE '07-'09

  6. #46
    Mr. Royce, Claude, Pat and others interested.

    First of all thank you Mr Royce for your view. I've been attending FSUK for 16 years now and indeed this was the first time I've seen anything like this. Many records were broken this year, I just never expected it to be this way.
    Please allow me to give my 2cents.

    1a. Rules=rules right? Let's investigate.
    The reason for DQ was given in the violation of T9.2.1b (front wing width) and T1.2.3 (comply with the rules at all times during the event).
    However: where in the rules does it state that breach of these rules is an automatic disqualification? In the FSAE rules I found 18 counts if the word "disqualification" an 7 counts of "forfeit", none of them in T1 or T9, but very specifically in other articles.
    In fact T1.1 states the following: "The following requirements and restrictions will be enforced through technical inspection. Noncompliance must be corrected and the car re-inspected before the car is allowed to operate under power."
    So does that say that a DQ should not be possible at all in these cases? No, I'm saying is that it's not in the rules and therefore it's at the discretion of the organization to apply a penalty they see fit.

    1b. Rules=rules. Let's investigate further.
    Let's take a look at the Post Event or Parc Ferme rules. The only ones I could find is D8.16 Post Event Refueling and D8.24 Post Event Engine Check. To my suprise NOWHERE in the rules does it state that any other checks (e.g. wings) are to be carried out.
    Yes I've checked FSUK rules too.

    So far for the rules=rules discussion. Suprisingly the imposed penalty nor the post event check is in the rules.

    But let's not stop here. What about the Intent of the Rules for e.g. T1.2.3?
    I could imagine that there are 2 cases which justify a post event check on cars, even though it's not described in the rules:
    1. Suspected safety issue with the car.
    2. Suspected foul play by the team (intentionally or not) which gives a clear unfair advantage.

    I deliberately say suspected, because the teams should be innocent until proven guilty.
    I would argue that none of these 2 cases applied to the teams that were disqualified. They simply didn't put on other (not inspected) wings in order to get an advantage and it was certainly no safety issue.

    So now what? It's not in the rules and it's not against the intent of the rule.............

    But we're forgetting the most important thing: common sense. Dear organizing committee of FSUK, one of you said: we're trying to teach the teams a lesson. With all due respect, you're teaching them the wrong lesson.

    You should be teaching them that a penalty should be applied according to the severity of the breach of the intent and, after that, the letter of the rule. You should be teaching them that Formula Student has become more than an just engineering competition in which everybody blindly follows the letter of the rules.
    You should be teaching them about the spirit of the competition. Just look at how teams tell each other about their designs, how they interact and how they help each other out.

    Did those disqualified teams cheat? No. Did they gain an unfair advantage? No. Did they pose a safety hazard? No. Did it make sense to disqualify them? No.
    In my humble opinion, above all you should be teaching them to use the single most valuable asset that they have: their common sense.

    Kind regards,
    Miki Hegedus

    Faculty Advisor Formula Student Team Delft

  7. #47
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Perth, Western Australia
    Here is the rule allowing technical inspection at any time:

    A3.7 Right to Impound
    SAE and other competition organizing bodies reserve the right to impound any onsite registered vehicles at any time during a competition for inspection and examination by the organizers, officials and technical inspectors.

    Here is the general regulation providing latitude to the competition organisers:

    A3.10 General Authority
    SAE and the competition organizing bodies reserve the right to revise the schedule of any competition and/or interpret or modify the competition rules at any time and in any manner that is, in their sole judgment, required for the efficient operation of the event or the Formula SAE series as a whole.

    The rule about maintaining specifications:

    T1.2.3 The vehicle must maintain all required specifications, e.g. ride height, suspension travel, braking capacity (pad material/composition), sound level and wing location throughout the competition.

    The rule about right to reinspect:

    S2.8 Correction and Re-inspection
    S2.8.1 If any part of a vehicle does not comply with the Rules, or is otherwise deemed to be a concern, then the team must correct the problem and have the car re-inspected.
    S2.8.2 The judges and inspectors have the right to re-inspect any vehicle at any time during the competition and require correction of non-compliance.

    There is a link to the concept of "mechanical integrity". There is merit to assume a car may be only deemed to pass this requirement if it passes technical inspection:

    D8.18.8 Mechanical Problem
    No time penalty. The time taken for mechanical inspection under a “mechanical black flag” is considered officials’ time and is not included in the teams’ total time. However, if the inspection reveals a mechanical integrity problem the vehicle may be disqualified under Rule D1.1 “Vehicle Integrity and Disqualification”. If the car has a tire puncture, the team may opt to change the wheel and tire for an identical wheel and tire. In cases where the puncture is caused by track debris and not a result of the component failure on the vehicle, the time will not count towards the team’s total time. Tires must be changed in the driver change area.

    This is a reference to the following:

    Vehicle Integrity and Disqualification
    D1.1.1 During the Dynamic Events, the mechanical integrity of the vehicle must be maintained.
    D1.1.2 Any vehicle condition that could compromise vehicle integrity, or could compromise the track surface or could pose a potential hazard to participants, e.g. damaged suspension, brakes or steering components, fluid leaks, dragging bodywork, lost or loose body panels, or a malfunctioning brake light will be a valid reason for exclusion by the official until the problem is rectified.
    NOTE: If this happens during the Endurance Event, it means disqualification from the heat.

    I would say here that the term mechanical integrity is poorly defined, but I would say that it would not be far from correct to assume this means compliant with technical regulations in the context provided. This is up for interpretation so would defer to the organisers in terms of definition as per A3.10.


    In review it is clear that the organisers have the right to reinspect any vehicle at any time. The rules do not enforce a Parc Ferme, but they leave the option open to scrutineers and organisers. Some competitions do not choose to conduct post event technical inspection, but there is previous examples of this being applied, and teams being disqualified for not meeting post-inspections.

    In any race it is reasonable to assume that anyone gaining an advantage from breaking the rules is likely to be fast, hence the basis for technical inspection of high performing teams. This was similar to the reasoning used for Hertfordshire being required to disassemble their fuel system for inspection (which they passed).

    Unfortunately Delft was found to be non-compliant in what was a routine post event check clearly allowed within both the wording and intent of the rules. It was a minor infraction.

    From a logical point of view once the infraction was noted by the scrutineers the organisers had a difficult decision to make. They clearly needed to apply a penalty to preserve the integrity of the competition. The two options would be an arbitrary points loss or a DQ. The former has some very obvious problems as they would then be deciding the exact finishing place of the offending team, it also has to my knowledge no precedent in the competition. The latter does have precedent (although maybe not for the particular violation).

    Knowing Michael Royce and some of the scrutineers (also having scrutineered at a previous competition) I find it hard to believe that any would be happy to find teams non-compliant to the rules in these inspections, and would have much preferred to have the cars pass easily.


    Finally any argument about the "spirit of the competition" are inherently flawed. Students, teams, organisers, judges, faculty advisers, industry etc. all have different ideas as to what is the spirit and intent of the competition. If we refer to A1.3: Good Engineering Practices we have the following:

    Vehicles entered into Formula SAE competitions are expected to be designed and fabricated in accordance with good engineering practices.

    Many of us have worked in engineering fields where a limit is an absolute limit (sometimes in cases where the standards appear poorly defined or inappropriate). Believe it or not some of the organisers believe this competition offers a chance for some students to learn particularly difficult lessons about compliance while playing with racecars instead of on bigger projects where much more is at stake.

    Personally I think the penalty was very harsh, but felt that given the circumstances the organisers had few reasonable options.

    Kind Regards,


  8. #48
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    The last thing I'd do is to defend the rules book. There is quite a lot of it which makes scrutineering an unnecessary complicated task. Giving the dimensions of aerodynamic devices relative to tires and to the ground is bullshit ...
    The rule T3.5.5 is still in the rules book as the years before. The only way to interpret it in a way that will somehow work is to only apply it ... [in a limited way]...
    Thanks for response. I guess all scrutineers at all these competitions must make similar ad hoc interpretations of these many stupid Rules, just so the students can have some sort of "educational exercise" (ie. actually drive their cars on the track).

    But will the Rules Commitee make any attempt to improve the situation? From recent experience the answer if definitely not.

    The FS/FSAE-Rules have been getting steadily worse (ie. more complicated, with the addition of many very poorly written clauses) with each successive iteration. Well, at least for last several re-writes... And "open and transparent" discussions of these changes are non-existent. Students are rightly expected to "defend" their decisions, but not so the RC.

    The controversial DQs at this FSUK (ie. most of this thread) are the direct result of the atrociously written Rule changes. The RC owes an apology to the disadvantaged Teams. The RC members should then admit to themselves that they are NOT COMPETENT at their jobs, and quietly retire.

    The FS/FSAE-Rules need to be thoroughly revised, in a competent way. This is most easily done by adopting a completely open and transparent approach (because the oversight of many eyes catches the bloopers). The primary objective of such revision should be to return to "improving the education of young engineers", and to move away from yet another "Mini-F1 competition".

    The only way above will happen is if current FS/FSAE Teams, and their alumni, MAKE IT HAPPEN.


    (PS. Bemo, enjoy FS Austria. It looks like a well-organised, and fun ( !), competition.)

  9. #49
    As promised, the IMechE has now published its rationale behind the disqualifications at Formula Student. The link is:

    I fully understand that you and your team are really upset about what happened. Be assured that experienced scrutineers take no pleasure in having teams disqualified at any motorsports event, especially at FSAE, FH or FS, where the students have put countless hours and their hearts and souls into the car. The Delft team has been a pleasure to work with in the past, and I hope that will be the case at any future competitions where we are both present.

    Thank you for your post. Nuff said.

    It appears you have an ongoing problem with the FSAE Rules, as I seem to recollect you have expressed similar feelings on a number of prior posts. As a previous Chairman of the FSAE Rules Committee (2000-9), I personally wrote many of the current rules. Writing rules that are clear, concise, easy for some one for whom English is a second or third language, plus making it relatively easy for the scrutineers to enforce, is no mean task. I say that having had to study the rules for F1, WEC, Moto GP, Formula E, SCCA Club Racing, Pirelli World Challenge and Rally America as well as FSAE/FS and Formula Hybrid all within the last year. Is your problem with specific rules or with the Rules in general? If it is the former, and yes, there are some with which I am not particularly enamored, then perhaps you should submit a proposed change to the Rules Committee for consideration. That is how it is done. If it is with the rules in general, perhaps you should volunteer to take on the task of re-writing them.

    Michael Royce.

  10. #50
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Royce View Post
    ... Is your problem with specific rules or with the Rules in general? If it is the former, and yes, there are some with which I am not particularly enamored, then perhaps you should submit a proposed change to the Rules Committee for consideration. That is how it is done.

    Having spent well over half a century "doing things", I have found that there are a great many things that are a complete waste of time doing, so I don't bother doing them.

    One of these is to "submit a proposed change to the Rules Committee for consideration.". I know this is a waste of time because I have already submitted such proposed changes very publicly, for many of these ridiculous rules. I know that RC members have read these public proposals ... and then ignored them (see next paragraph). I know that private submissions would receive even less consideration.

    For example, see bottom page 3 this thread, and the link there, for the case of the "bent tube" Rule T3.5.5. Read the linked thread and see that RC members were well aware of the problems with this Rule well over a year ago. This Rule, if strictly implemented, would make every tubeframe car (that I have ever seen) illegal, and subject to a post-Endurance DQ.

    So, for example, if Monash did well at FSUK-16 (ie. no broken driveshaft) and were given a post-Enduro re-scrutineering, then would you have failed them because of T3.5.5? Their frame has many nodes that are, strictly speaking, illegal!

    Anyway, the root cause of the problems with the Rules is the "Peter Principle" (ie. "people rise to their level of incompetence, and then fight tooth and nail to stay there..."). The more than doubling in size of the Rule Book over the years is the direct result of many incompetent dimwits trying to justify their position on the RC by "making their mark".

    As I (and, yes, others also!) have pointed out many times, there are umpteen very poorly worded clauses in the Rules, mostly in the most recent additions. There is almost no attempt at clear definitions (eg. what is an "aerodynamic device", and how is it different to bodywork, or the driver's helmet...). And I have seen elephants in zoos that produce better drawings than those that appear in the official FSAE Rule Book.

    These FS/FSAE competitions are, primarily, supposed to be about "educating young engineers". As such, the Rule Book should be an archetypal example of "clear communication". (Very briefly, this means it should be "complete" (= with all relevant info), and "concise" (= all info given only once, such as in a correctly-drawn "engineering drawing" for dimensional data).)

    At the moment the Rule Book is a disgrace. But "submission of proposed changes" to the current RC will make no difference. It is the RC itself that has to change.


    (PS 1. Read Bemo's post, top page 4, to see that he must ignore Rule T3.5.5 for certain nodes, just to allow tubeframe cars to run.)

    (PS 2. Taken from your linked IMechE pdf. -> "The rules limits are absolute and not subject to any tolerance...". All engineering dimensions have tolerances! The implied "tolerances" for wing-widths are "+0/-[outside of tyres dimension]". Good engineering communication would make this clear.)
    Last edited by Z; 08-02-2016 at 10:43 PM.

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