Formula North 2012 took place this past weekend - May 24 to May 27 - at the Barrie Molson Centre in Barrie, Ontario.
It was Canada's first-ever student engineering design competition. Spanning over 4 days, consisting of both static and dynamic events, the event promised to be quite intensive and exciting.
While around 20 teams participated at Formula North 2012 bringing about 5 to 15 members each, mostly male, it was interesting to see that the executive staff and the event organizers of Formula North were mostly female.
Formula North 2012 was successfully run by a team mainly led by females who were all under the age of 25.
Engineering has long been perceived as a male-dominated field not to mention the macho atmosphere at most motorsport competitions. Formula North Inc. has acknowledged this issue in one of their interviews with Samantha Kurcsis, blogger at Girls Like F1 too (www.girlslikef1too.com). The interview (which can be found at www.formulanorth.com) speaks about how challenging it can be for a female in the F1 industry but also shows that there is a growing number of females interested in automotives and motorsports.
Formula North 2012 incorporated females in a variety of roles at their first annual competition. From the chair of the entire event, Cathy D'Souza, to the technical inspector, Simren Gill, right down to the drivers for some competing teams - females ran the show. It was therefore not a surprise when the organizers were told from participants, audience members and even judges how impressive it was to see so many females involved in such a thought-to-be male dominated industry.
Attendees at the event, along with volunteers were pleasantly surprised to see some of the teams having chosen a female driver who was comfortable driving an F1 style open cockpit car.
This surprise shows that there still does exist some sort of gender division of labour even in today's 21st century, but the fact that it was pleasantly received can be appreciated.
This initiative was the epitome of a grassroots event, showing that small ideas can indeed lead to a successful 4 day long event and make quite the impression on the audience. Formula North 2012 showed that females in the engineering industry do indeed know a thing or two (times a thousand) about the industry.
It can only be hoped that such an event like Formula North, while showcasing Canadian ability to host an engineering design competition also showcased the growing number of women in the F1, automotive and motorsport industry as actual active participants and not just behind the scenes showgirls, continues to grow.
A huge congratulations goes to the Event Chair and the organizers involved in making the success of Formula North 2012.
For more information on Formula North:
Twitter: @FormulaNorth #FN2012
Facebook: Formula North