Morson news | Morson STEM Foundation | STEM
Morson-sponsored Salford Racing at Formula Student Silverstone 2023


Students from the University of Salford enjoyed a challenging, demanding and bittersweet weekend at the home of UK racing, Silverstone, in July while taking part in the IMechE Formula Student competition with their custom-designed racing car.

Europe’s most established educational engineering competition, Formula Student, sees university teams from all over the world produce a prototype for a single-seat race car, which is put through its paces on the Silverstone Circuit to discern a winner. This year, more than 130 teams entered for the competition, which was celebrating its 25th year.

Watch the story of their weekend below:

The Salford Racing team, comprising students from a variety of disciplines, had planned, designed, and built its car from the University’s Maker Space, a state-of-the-art facility funded by the Morson Group, which has also invested £10K to sponsor the car, and provided additional industry training. While allowing for the practical, real-world development of skills and techniques that are invaluable for students of all disciplines, the Salford Racing project exists separately from team members’ curriculums, with the project being completed out-of-hours on a voluntary basis.

The Maker Space is part of the Morson Group’s Changemakers programme, which builds on the company’s extensive efforts – in partnership with the University of Salford, Into University and other stakeholders – to help young people, particularly those from disadvantaged, underrepresented or marginalised backgrounds, to develop the confidence and technical skills to build a career in STEM.

salford racing

Ollie Parsons, an aeronautical engineering graduate who took on the role of Team Principal for the end of the 2021 season through 2022, talks about the important skills required to make the project work:

“This is a team which is expected to perform as working professionals, to create a car in their own time alongside their studies and do it off their own back. One thing I learned was that you’ve got to motivate people so showing the reward at the end which is Silverstone and the whole design experience. A big thing for me was understanding people, different ways of working.

There was a lot of change between 2021 and 2022. Operating principles within the team and morale boosting, and I hope since then the team have built on that and been able to plan for contingency and making sure that if there’s anything dropping out people coming up to exams getting stressed that they can forecast that and make sure resource is covered.

Morson were particularly useful in allowing students to go on critical courses like welding, fabrication, supporting us in buying beter parts. It makes a massive difference, and the student experience is improved because of it. It gives you that additional edge on other graduates. Aside from the monetary contribution, having the professional workspaces with engineers’ advice, it’s invaluable.”

The 2023 event at Silverstone

The Salford Racing 2023 team arrived at Silverstone on the Thursday of the event and was immediately up against it, with the engineers identifying an issue which required a complete disassembly and rebuild of the engine. As the team were against the clock to make it to scrutineering the following day, along with the rest of the tests the teams must go through ahead of Sunday’s running, several of the group opted to stay up all night.  

Hussain Zadran, aeronautical engineering student who designed the side panelling, utilising the water jet facilities at the Morson Maker Space, describes the situation and his reasons for joining the Salford Racing team:

“We had to rebuild it several times but we finally realised that it was something to do with the bearing inside, so we had to strip it up, take the bearing out and then rebuild.

The thing that attracted me to the project started all the way back when I came to the country. Originally from Afghanistan, at 13 I had to learn English from scratch and I’ve always been a person that wants to develop their skills further. I’m foundation year at the moment and I thought I’d join and there’s a lot more to learn.”

The team managed to complete the build on Friday afternoon, making it to scrutineering. Several issues were identified on the car, including lock wires on the throttle cable and clutch, which needed to be fixed before the team could make it through to the following stages. Following passing scrutineering and the tilt test, the team fell short at the noise test. Unfortunately, the engine issues that the team had had on the Thursday and Friday had meant that the car hadn’t been started, and the team was unable to do so at the noise test due to a battery issue. Frustratingly for the team, this meant they ran out of time to complete the tests and that they were unable to take part in the running events on the Sunday despite having a car that the stewards agreed was ready to go.

Nonetheless, it was a weekend of hard work, lessons and inspiration for the team as they look ahead towards making improvements for the 2024 event.

Click here to find out more about how we’re collaborating with businesses to understand their skills needs and aligning them with a strategy for creating career opportunities developing skills, delivering social value, and enabling brighter futures.