Lights out in race for Formula 1 Engineering Scholarships

A racing car on a track

University of Strathclyde students are being offered the chance to secure a prestigious Formula 1 Engineering Scholarship.

Strathclyde is one of six universities in the UK and Italy participating in the motor racing organisation’s scholarship programme, which is entering its second year.

Two places will be available to undergraduate and postgraduate Strathclyde Engineering students each year until 2025 through the programme, which aims to increase diversity and inclusion across Formula 1, and is part of a wider drive within the sport.

Each scholarship covers the full cost of a student’s tuition, together with living expenses, for the full duration of their degree.

Formula 1 has also committed to creating employment opportunities by offering apprenticeships and internships across the business.

Professor Stephen McArthur, Executive Dean of Strathclyde’s Faculty of Engineering, said: “Students from disadvantaged backgrounds already face a number of additional pressures as they progress through higher education. Having to face challenges not experienced by their peers can create inequalities in attainment, with these often being felt more keenly by students whose gender, ethnicity or background are underrepresented in their field of study.

“The comprehensive package of support in the F1 Scholarships will continue to give students the invaluable opportunity to focus on their own development and fully immerse themselves in university life. Perhaps most importantly, investment in their education is a notable vote of confidence, sending a clear message that they belong both in the industry and career that they are pursuing.”

Spogmai Bibi, a student in Strathclyde’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, was one of the recipients of the 2022 scholarships. As part of the programme, she spent a month working at the headquarters of Formula 1 team Williams Racing, during which she worked in several departments, including Aero Design and Additive Manufacturing.

Spogmai said: “The aerodynamics department at the Williams F1 Racing team has allowed me to collaborate closely with a highly skilled team, in which my understanding of computational fluid dynamics (CFD), computer-aided design (CAD), wind tunnel testing, and data analysis was significantly honed.

“I explored a variety of departments within aerodynamics where I was introduced to the different procedures each department follows. I would not have been aware of the unique processes and challenges faced by other departments had I restricted myself exclusively to one department in aerodynamics. As an example, if I devoted myself solely to Aero Design without exploring the model shop, I would have missed out on valuable knowledge about the diverse stages involved in making a component. As a result of this experience, I have gained a much greater understanding and insight into the world of F1.

“In addition to the technical aspects, what made this experience truly memorable was the opportunity to work with team members from diverse backgrounds. The exposure provided me with an understanding of a variety of unconventional paths individuals can take to join the team. It was a testament to the fact that there are many different avenues to becoming a part of this world-renowned team, and it broadened my perspective on the varied routes one can take in the pursuit of excellence in the motorsports industry.

“Moreover, witnessing the unwavering dedication to speed and innovation that defines F1 was truly astonishing. It has been a transformative experience for me to have been part of Williams, one that has deepened my passion for engineering as well as motivating me to pursue the field of motorsports more seriously.”

Patrick Okedion is a Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering student and also received an F1 scholarship.

Applications for the scholarships are now open and will close on Friday 6 October. Apply and seek further information

The scholarships were launched following a US$1 million donation from the Non-Executive Chairman of Formula 1, Chase Carey.