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Building a racing car to take on the world. Cristian Cimpoesu seizes his opportunity

Published: 27 November 2017
Formula Student Car
Picture of Formula Student Car

Master of Engineering (MEng) Aeronautics and Astronautics undergraduate Cristian Cimpoesu is embarking on the challenge of his career to date. He is in charge of aerodynamics on the University of Southampton’s Formula Student racing car, now in the design stage for the tough international competition in July 2018.

The third year student already has experience of the contest as he worked on the car’s rear wing in 2017. Last year Southampton came 25th but Cristian vows the team will at least get a place in the top 15 this time. He says Formula Student is the perfect combination of hard work and enjoyment:

“Designing the car was probably the best formative experience I’ve ever had: skills like leadership, teamwork and initiative all come naturally in this environment, and the culture of the team is a huge factor. The best thing about it is that you tend to have a lot of fun, so before you realise, the first 11 weeks of term have passed and, not only have you designed a race car, but you’ve also become highly skilled at what you are doing.”


This year’s 25-strong team is already at work. Cristian says he needs to keep students enthusiastic and committed to make sure the project stays on schedule. His ambition is to complete the design and build phase early so there is plenty of time for thorough testing both on the track and in the University’s sophisticated RJ Mitchell wind tunnel.

“The highlight of the year is watching the team come together, putting their blood, sweat and tears into finishing the car on time. Working alongside such passionate and like-minded engineers last year gave me a sense of belonging that I haven’t experienced anywhere else and it motivated me to continue pushing myself both in my degree and in my role with the team.”

Picture of the team
Picture of the team

In common with many at Southampton, Cristian aims to get a job in Formula One after graduating and is sure the experience of succeeding in Formula Student could hold the key. His ambition to secure a career in the industry may depend on the finals of the competition at Silverstone and in the Czech Republic.

“This is a very exciting time, as you get to see two of the greatest racing tracks in the world and interact with other teams and prospective employers such as Mercedes AMG, Ferrari and Williams, It’s also a tremendous opportunity to learn from the more experienced teams. Watching your car roaring through the cones truly is a special experience and it makes you feel all those long and painful nights designing and building it were worth it in the end.”

Read more about the Southampton University Formula Student Team (SUFST) on their Facebook page.

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