Madrid – a quarry of Formula 1 engineers

The arrival of the Formula 1 Championship in Madrid in 2026 offers great opportunities for the local automotive industry, a sector that several universities in the region have been promoting for many years. There are already several Spanish universities, such as Carlos III or Francisco de Vitoriathose who take part in the Student Formula, an international competition in which educational institutions from all over Europe compete and which “particularly values ​​engineering innovation over performance on asphalt”, according to Victor, group leader teams of the University of Francisco de Vitoria for four years.

Daniel Garcia-Pozuelo, professor Carlos III University witnessed the growth of this discipline in our country. “We fought for these activities to be recognized as credits by universities. and that there are many sponsors involved in the project. This is a great opportunity to train the professionals of the future so they can gain experience in the competitive world,” he says proudly. His “team” took the name Mad Formula Team in 2021, after being forced to revamp due to the effects of the pandemic and the temporary flight of sponsors.

It is on these days that all teams applying for participation will have to undergo entrance tests imposed by the organization, theoretical exams that evaluate the participants’ knowledge in various fields. Only the best will ultimately take part in the competition. “But despite the great demands, there is always solidarity in this sport. In competitions, it is quite normal to see teams lending pieces to each other. or tools, even if you always keep some factory secrets,” say both Madrid teams.

Within Formula StudentThere are different categories based on the energy that powers the vehicles. There are internal combustion engines, hybrid and electric, which require a larger budget. However, “in this competition, a larger budget does not guarantee better results on the track,” says Francisco de Vitoria University. In competition, it is also necessary to justify every euro invested and evaluate the results achieved for each budget. Project work is also assessed and collaborations from other disciplines are taken into account. outside of engineering, such as marketing, brand image building, or community building.

The dream of all participants is to one day dedicate themselves to a professional activity, as Andrea admits, who came to Madrid two years ago from El Salvador to fulfill her calling. “Since I was a child, I would get up early to watch any car competition. My idols have always been engineers and front of the riders who were celebrating the podiums,” he says from the box of the Francisco de Vitoria University.

Alvaro, as a driver of the same team, defines himself as “the person responsible for making the most of the technical characteristics of the car.” He has been driving a car since he was four years old and assures that “these cars “They’re very kart-like, light weight and very easy to turn.”. For this reason, one of the factors that is most valued in competition is the safety that these cars offer. He laughs as he tells his driving school anecdote: “I made the same mistakes I did in the race, I tend to get too comfortable with the accelerator.” Having a driver’s license is an important requirement to start.

Alonso as inspiration

All of them consider this hobby almost as a “second career or job,” devoting up to 30 hours a week to it. “Sometimes it is difficult to choose between devoting a few hours to developing a car or passing an exam,” admits the conflict, Victor from Francisco de Vitoria. He is already at the final stage of his university studies, and his role is to make sure that the replacement in the team is as traumatic as possible. “Every five years the equipment is completely renewed, and it takes a lot of effort to make a project work over the long term,” he explains.

Both teams are confident that the announcement of the new Madrid Grand Prix will attract new fans and investors and will contribute to the development of the sport in the capital and throughout Spain. All participants also share the influence of motorsport figures such as Fernando Alonso or Antonio Lobato, who ultimately inspired an entire generation of future professionals. “They are 90% to blame for the fact that we want to devote ourselves to this”Alvaro assures.

Budget aside, persistence and passion are the best formula for growth in this discipline. Projects require a minimum of five years of experience, such as at the Francisco de Vitoria University, to develop a design, a business plan and gain experience at legendary circuits such as Assen, the Hungaroring or the RedBull circuit in Austria. In fact, at the Mad Formula Team they believe that Madrid’s commitment to the sport will allow the creation of a national team again and that new drivers will be produced who can replace Fernando Alonso or Carlo Sainz in a few years. The competition’s objectives include increasing the number of women registered and promoting the transition to single-seater vehicles powered by renewable energy.

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