Meet Your Scrutineers:Lead Electrical Scrutineer

  • Introduce yourself briefly.

My Name is Dennis Schuckmann, I am 27 years old, born in Halverde and currently living in Karlsruhe. I began my career as an Industrial Electronics Technician Apprentice, from which I proceeded to get a master’s degree at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

  • How did your journey start with Formula Student?

In 2014, during my first semester at UAS Osnabrück a few team members from the Ignition racing team introduced their project to all first-year students. After their presentation I visited the info evenings and afterwards applied for a spot in the electrical department. Right now I cannot think about my studies in Osnabrück without going to the garage and learning there with all the people around you that share the same passion as you.

  • What inspired you to become a Scrutineer?

About a year ago, I had to go abroad to finish my studies, so I left the Ignition racing team and worked as an industrial electronics technician to save some money for my final year in Sweden. During my working time I thought about of being a scrutineer. I really wanted to give something back to the Formula Student community and without a fair amount of scrutineers the competitions wouldn’t be possible as they are right now. I also want to help the teams to improve with the right feedback. Therefore I applied for FSA as a scrutineer and got accepted. I went to FSA without having ever visited the competition, nor did I know anybody there. Afterwards I was sure that I have made the right choice to become a scrutineer and continue to do so.

  • In your opinion, what makes a high class Formula Student team?

Reliability, Ron Denis once said:”If you want to finish first, first finish”. I believe this is entirely true, you can have the fastest car in the world; if it isn’t able to complete the endurance you will not win the competition and I have seen that many times during my time as a team member. Every good team is also well prepared for scrutineering and practice with their alumni at least once before the competition period starts. We scrutineers will know it very fast if a team is well prepared or not, If they have spend enough time with their documentation and the inspection sheet, if they know how to prepare all the tests that are necessary to pass.

  • What advice would you give to participating teams?

Be prepared for scrutineering, at FSN we want to give you the best start in your season possible with high quality scrutineering. So please practice the scrutineering beforehand with some alumni and think about possible questions that we might have. Have all your components like wires or fuses that you might have to present to the scrutineers with you. Check your car right before the competition if it can perform all the tests that are necessary to pass the technical inspection. Print out your rules questions that you made at FSG and ideally have two identical folders ready with your documentation, because it might happen that you will be in electrical and accumulator inspection at the same time. Prepare all the necessary documentation ahead of the next step in the technical inspection sheet.

  • What are the common mistakes you’ve noticed whilst being a Scrutineer?

Sometimes the folder with all the documentation has vanished or several conductive parts that are near HV wires are not connected to the ground, the only guy that knows how to perform a certain test during scrutineering or can explain how their system works is nowhere to be found.

  • How did you choose FSN?

In 2017 the Ignition racing team qualified for the very first FSN edition. During this time I have seen many things that I disliked and criticised. Therefore, after I had my first time as a scrutineer at FSA and during my time in Sweden, I applied to be a scrutineer at FSN. My initial intention was just to be a scrutineer at FSN and help out with the ESF and the scrutineering process itself, but afterwards an application for the spot as the electrical lead scrutineer became available and I really wanted to improve the competition immediately and therefore also applied for that position as well.

  • What is your favourite thing about FSN?

The fast responding time to criticism from Teams. I really like the feedback that teams will give me during and after the competition. I love to improve the competition and therefore criticism is very important to me. Luckily, I am not the only person that thinks so at FSN and therefore I believe that this is the favourite aspect of FSN to me.

  • What do you think will be the next big thing in Formula Student?

During 2010 the Formula student Team from UAS Zwickau introduced the concept of 4WD with their first electrical car “eHorst” in Europe and since then the European teams have been dominant in the electrical category. My next big thing in Formula student would be a regular visit from the best electrical European teams to the American and Asian competitions.

  • What is the best thing and hardest thing about being a Scrutineer?

The best thing is to see all the beautiful cars up close and to actively help the team to have a good start in their season with the scrutineering that we offer. The hardest thing to do would be to say that the time on the last scrutineering day has run out and the team has to push their car out of the scrutineering area. To see all the disappointed faces is a really hard thing to deal with because most of us know how that feels like.

Picture Credit: FSA