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F1 in Schools World Finals set to be biggest ever
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F1 in Schools World Finals set to be biggest ever
Posted By: James Allen  |  15 Sep 2010   |  11:57 am GMT  |  14 comments

The F1 in Schools programme, of which I am a patron along with many of the leading technical directors in F1, is all set to host its World Finals next week in Singapore.

The competition, which is also backed by F1 sponsor LG Electronics, is open to children from nine to school leaving age. Teams of students have to design a model car from a block of balsa wood, which is fired down a 20 metre track using gas canisters in the back. It is an exercise in research, CAD/CAM design, manufacturing, aerodynamic testing and racing.


It is a junior version of F1 from the engineering point of view and this is why it has been such a hit with the likes of Adrian Newey, Ross Brawn and Mike Gascoyne, all of whom are very engaged in the programme. The idea is to attract children to the idea of a career in engineering.

This year the chair of Judges is former Jordan and Jaguar technical director Gary Anderson,
“I’m keen to have a hands-on role in this F1 in Schools World Finals and to see for myself the quality of work which these students are producing and the efforts that they are all putting into designing and building their own miniature race cars,” said Anderson. “I’m sure that it will be no different to the real world of Formula One, with teams looking closely at the interpretation of the rules to find any competitive advantage. We just need to make sure they stay within the boundaries that are set!”


This year’s competition features 26 teams from 18 countries, all competing from the Bernie Ecclestone Trophy and a scholarship to study engineering at City University, London. I’ll be hosting the presentation next Wednesday night in Singapore. Last year a team from Northern Ireland were crowned champions and received the trophy from then world champion Lewis Hamilton.

The appeal to F1 and to Ecclestone in particular is that it exposes F1 as a concept to over 5 million children worldwide. F1 struggles to reach the younger generations in any other way.

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14 Comments
  1. Banjo says:

    The only problem i have with this competition, is that i never got to take part. I wish something like it was around while i was at school. It seems like a fasntastic idea, getting young children to think logically about how to solve simple engineering problems. Something to get them interested in not only F1, but, engineering and physics. Two vital subjects which no country should under value.

    Maybe you could get Bernie to introduce another category for F1 enthusiasts of any age? I’m sure it would be hugely popular.

    1. jonrob says:

      “The only problem I have with this competition, is that I never got to take part.”

      Yes I am just 50 years too late as well :-)

      Remember the great egg race on BBC2 back in the black and white telly days? This is a very good parallel teaching engineering principles.

      Never find out why we did all that Steam in my OND Engineering Diploma. Now they want volunteers for the local steam pump and I’ve forgotten it all. :-(

      1. JohnBt says:

        Nothing wrong with keeping your ‘dreams’ alive.
        In fact it’s a very healthy way of living.

    2. Phil Bishop says:

      “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

  2. sean cleary says:

    The team that won last were from the republic of Ireland!

    1. Team Fuga says:

      Yeah we won for Northern Ireland in 2007.

  3. Chris Q says:

    If they’re propelled by a gas cannister from the back shouldn’t they look more like ThrustSSC than Formula 1 cars?

  4. Kishan says:

    It’s easy, just shape it like a bullet….. So what do I win????

    1. jonrob says:

      Bullet shape will not stay on the ground, needs some aerofoils to stay straight and not fly off.

  5. Chuck says:

    I’d be interested to attend this event since I am from Singapore. Any idea if this is open to public? The website did not say much about it though…

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, I believe it is. Contact the Polytechnic where it is being held

  6. Galapago555 says:

    James, I’ve just read this piece of news at fomula1.com

    http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2010/9/11269.html

    A fantastic “side effect” of the programme!!

  7. mtb says:

    Great to see that your are involved in such an initiative James. Undoubtedly it will help to turn F1 into a true world sport.

  8. Philip Taylor says:

    Gary Anderson was a massive help to us and explained a lot about F1 design that allowed our guys to develop an F1 in Schools car.  Glad to see he’s getting involved in the bigger picture.

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