F1 in Schools ....

mets F1 on track

Winning students given exclusive F1 paddock access

The British round of the Formula One World Championship may have hosted the stars of F1 and celebrities from TV and films, but Silverstone was also the destination for motor racing champions from F1 in Schools, an inspirational national and international student challenge.

Students from the winning F1 in Schools at the National Finals held in Birmingham earlier this year were given a rare insight into this prestigious and glamorous event, courtesy of Silverstone Circuit and Formula One, including grandstand passes and tours of the VIP area – the Formula One paddock. Some of the teams were also lucky enough to visit a team garage.

Pulse, a team of students from Devonport High School, Plymouth, were crowned World Champions during the Malaysian Grand Prix in March this year. The students were given a tour of the BMW Sauber F1 team garage by the team’s test driver, Christian Klien. As reigning champions, they’ve also been living life in the fast line. In a star-studded week, the students enjoyed three unique occasions – being given a VIP tour of the House of Commons, meeting HRH Prince Andrew in St. James’s Palace at a UK Trade and Investment event, and being given an F1 garage tour. They also have another treat this week, a trip to the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking.

Team Blaze from Ynysawdre School in Wales won their taste of this exclusivity after being crowned F1 in Schools National Champions at the 2008 finals in Birmingham earlier this year. They had the privilege of spending some time in the paddock and the Renault F1 team, with the highlight of their visit being a tour of the team’s garage to see the cars being prepared for the British Grand Prix.

Hippos Strike Back, a team from St.Gregory the Great School, Oxford, were winners of the 11-14 years age group at the National Finals and they were delighted to visit the McLaren garage and pit area. Meanwhile, Spectrum, a team from Robert May’s School in Odiham, toured the Toyota garage and were given a very detailed insight into the workings of the team and its powerful engine.

Primary school students the Antrim Griffins, from County Atrimm won the Juniors National title. Although they were not able to see behind the scenes in a team garage, they were photographed with a host of stars including Ross Brawn from Honda Racing F1 team, Louise Goodman from ITV, Mark Blundell, ex-F1 racer and commentator for ITV, as well as HRH Duke of Kent and Sir Jackie Stewart.

Founder of the F1 in Schools Technology Challenge Andrew Denford commented, “The weekend has been a great opportunity for the students to witness Formula One up close. They had unrivalled access to the teams and garages, and spent time talking to some very influential people. The Formula One teams have extended such warm hospitality to the students; we’re very grateful for their support and for making it possible for students to gain a unique insight into the reality of Formula One and show how they could apply the skills they’ve learned in F1 in Schools to a future career in motorsport.”

F1 in Schools is a global multi-disciplinary challenge for students aged from 9-18 to use CAD/CAM software to design, analyse, manufacture, test and race their miniature F1 car made from balsa wood and powered by compressed air cylinders. Working in teams of between three and six, the students prepare a business plan, develop a budget and raise sponsorship as well as designing and racing their car. The challenge inspires students to learn about science, maths, aerodynamics, design, manufacture, branding, graphics, sponsorship, marketing, leadership, teamwork, media skills and financial strategy, and apply them in a practical, imaginative, competitive and exciting way.