Girls in stems, Martina Lizzeri and the Formula Student racing car

The championship is that of the SAE formula, one of the most important racing prototype races in the world. It is on these international circuits that students from the most prestigious universities compete with their racing vehicles, such as that of the Dinamis team from the racing department of the Polytechnic of Milan. A formula-style single-seater, designed and produced by students from the various faculties of the Milanese university.

Formula student races

“We participate in the Formula student races, which are world championships where students from all over the world design and build these particular car prototypes. Our goal is to try to create a car that is as fast as possible, reliable and obviously the lightest possible. Our prototype in particular is an electric prototype that uses four motors with a limited power of 80 kW by regulation” explains Martina Lizzeri, mechanical engineer at the Polytechnic of Milan, in the university’s Dinamis team.

“Our cars are optimized for the courses we drive on, which are very narrow courses, with many corners and very few straights, so what matters for our cars is responsiveness and acceleration in corners mainly.”

The project is evaluated in seven events, which judge the performance on the track, the engineering design, and the economic-financial analysis of the car.

“We design everything from start to finish just as we try to do for production so it’s all done in house, apart from particular processes for which we have to rely on our sponsors. What matters most is the students’ resourcefulness. We look for to be as creative as possible, in fact we used many innovative technologies, also designed by us, to try to achieve the objectives”.

The ANVUR report

The latest ANVUR report on enrollment data in technical-scientific universities reveals that, despite efforts, the presence of women has been practically blocked for 10 years. In 2022 it reached 37%. A percentage that drops further when you look at engineering and IT, where it stops at 20%.

“In our team we are 17 students, so we are very few, because there are 130 of us in total, so just over 7%. In my department, then, there is me out of 25 people – says Martina Lizzeri – In my opinion, in the end the reality is that the Formula 1 field is still preferred by the male gender. But it is certainly not something that precludes the participation of us girls.” And once girls also choose these paths, the change will be increasingly rapid.