Formula Student Regulations

This section is to give you a general overview of regulations for Formula Student and wider motorsport.

Formula Student Regulations

Formula Student competitions around the world use one of two sets of regulations, either the FSAE or the German/UK rules. These rules are very similar but their are some differences between the two so make sure you know which rules you are using and read them carefully.

As well as these two different sets of rules some national competitions have their own variations of them, this reflects national ideas/fashions, operational constraints, local legislation and other restrictions. Please make sure you read the rules for each competition you are competing in very carefully.

On this site when we refer to Formula Student regulations we are usually referring to the UK (FSUK) and German regulations. The majority of the European competitions now run on these regulations. If you are competing under Formula SAE regulations then you need to check the regs to see if they are the same.

Motorsport Governing Bodies

Regardless of which set of rules you are using there are a few quirks you should be aware of. Formula Student rules are written independently of rules which govern the rest of Motorsport. Motorsport rules for cars are written by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, (known as the FIA) and by National Sporting Authorities (known as ASN's). In the UK our ASN for car racing is Motorsport UK (formerly MSA).

The fact that Formula Student rules are written independently of rules written by the FIA and ASN's means that sometimes they are not compatible with each other. For example under Formula Student rules you can use roll bars which have a much smaller diameter then those permitted by the FIA. That is why you cannot find FIA homologated roll bar padding which fits your roll bar.

What is Homologation?

Homologation is the process where the governing body (usually the FIA, sometimes the ASN) will test an item to make sure it meets the regulations. Homologation is usually carried out for items which have some form of safety implications/requirements (although some championships require homologation of entire cars).

In wider motorsport items such as harnesses, fire extinguishers, rain lights, racewear, seats and fuel bladders are all items which sometimes require to be homologated by championship/event regulations. Often in a championship not all of these items are required to be homologated, only some of them. The homologation standard is presented as an 8 digit number, the first 4 digits are different for different items (harnesses are 8853, roll bar padding is 8857), the last 4 digits refer to the year that set of homologation rules were written.

Formula Student regulations often refer to homologation numbers for certain items, so it is important to make sure the items you purchase meet these requirements (and don't forget to check the year).

What is SFI?

SFI is another set of homologation standards. Some championships allow SFI homologated items (both sets of Formula Student rules allow SFI harnesses for example). SFI is far more common in North America then in Europe but you do sometimes find SFI being used in wider European motorsport. SFI is very common in drag racing although it is used else where as well.

How to Read Regulations

Whenever you read a rule in a set of regulations for motorsport you should ask yourself three questions:

  • What is this rule trying to stop me from doing?
  • Do I want to do that thing anyway?
  • If I do want to do it then how can I get around this rule and do it anyway?

By asking these question you can think of ways of getting around rules which are trying to stop you from doing what you need to do. You can also identify rule which do serve a purpose and understand which limits not to push. Many championships/events have been won not by the fastest car but by the team which understood the regulations the best. Motorsport is the study of attention to detail.