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US team wins F1 in Schools World Championships
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US team wins F1 in Schools World Championships
Posted By: James Allen  |  22 Sep 2010   |  3:27 pm GMT  |  44 comments

The F1 in Schools World Finals, supported by LG, took place in Singapore this evening and was won by Team Unitus from the USA.

There was a good turn out from the F1 Paddock with racers Kamui Kobayashi, Lucas di Grassi and Lotus Technical director Mike Gascoyne among the personalities handing out awards. I hosted it for the sixth year in a row and was stunned by the increase in quality of the entries from last year to this.


It was the most closely fought championship so far in the event’s 10 year history, particularly for the podium places, with a team from Germany in third, a collaboration between Australia and the UAE in runners up spot and the Americans on top.

F1 in Schools is a multi-disciplinary challenge in which teams of students aged 9 to 19 use CAD/CAM software to collaborate, design, analyse, manufacture, test, and then race miniature gas powered balsa wood F1 cars. It has the full backing of F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who dropped in this afternoon to check out the action and meet the teams.

The chair of judges this year was former Jordan, Jaguar and Stewart technical director Gary Anderson,

“I’m blown away by it,” said Anderson “The professionalism of the organizers, we’ve had a team of judges. The students and teachers are very professional, they sit the other side of the desk explaining why they’ve interpreted a certain rule a certain way– it’s like F1 backwards, I’ve been the other side of the desk arguing with the FIA!”

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44 Comments
  1. Phil Curry says:

    So this is where the USF1 funds went…

    1. Marty says:

      You beat me too it!
      Unitus? sounds like a name from the apprentice!
      :-D

      Nah, but well done to the team in all seriousness.

      1. James Allen says:

        Sounds like a union..

      2. Galapago555 says:

        Guess it means “united” in Latin.

  2. Rob Haswell says:

    Hi James, what are the development areas on the cars – is it all aerodynamics? Do you have any good pics of the entries?

    1. Phil Bishop says:

      yes pics would be great

    2. James Allen says:

      I will do when I see them in the pit lane over the next few days

    3. Philip Taylor says:

      It’s pretty much all aerodynamics, yes, but there are also challenge like making the weight limit. Our team in 2007 had balsa wood for our wheels as well which annoyed our competitors. And everybody exploited the rear wing rule so it has been tightened up since. So you can’t modify your “engine” but everything else it F1 related in some way.

      The 2006 world champions turned up to defend their crown with a plastic (not sure which type) front wing. This was allowed as it was written in the rules that you could. What wasn’t allowed was their attempt to exploit the open wheel racing rule. Worded “the wheels must be fully visible from above the car” they had extended this plastic wing over the wheel in transparent material!

      1. Steve Earle says:

        It sounds fantastic! I’m left wondering though, did anyone turn up with a double diffuser or flexi front wing etc. :-)

      2. tank says:

        genius! I bet it flexed a bit too.

      3. jonrob says:

        Excellent! Adrian Newey type thinking, exploit the rules and the way they are written.

        As Arian said recently if other teams don’t challenge his design legality, then he has not pushed the rules far enough

      4. Nick says:

        I don’t know why the FIA doesn’t knock all this rules interpretation stuff on the head, by simply including the reason behind each rule in the regulations. e.g. all that stuff about holes being visible or not from under the car that was exploited with the double diffusers – why not preface those regulations with “In order to limit the amount of downforce generated…”. Then it becomes impossible for a team to play innocent and stick to the letter (rather than spirit) or the rules.

      5. jonrob says:

        ” why not preface those regulations with “In order to limit the amount of downforce generated…””

        No if you put “in order to limit”, then you have to give a limit eg a total downforce of say, 1200KgForce. But that is not possible for the FIA to measure (currently).

        There is no such thing as “Spirit of the rules” guess who I am quoting there.

  3. Banjo says:

    It really does sound like a fantastic competition James. Do you have different catergories for different age groups or is it just one big group?

    Nice to see an American team taking part and winning, can only be healthy for the sport to further develop it’s fan base in the states. Who knows, they may well one day be the engineers behind a successfully lead US based F1 team.

    1. James Allen says:

      Just one big competition here, but there are different classes at national level including primary school level and also an off road tyre class. But the F1 in Schools is the biggie

  4. theRoswellite says:

    …as a teacher of 25 years I can attest to anything that motivates, even inspires, those that make up our future….our students. Max kudos to F1 and Bernie (a first for me).

    As the racing simulations continue to improve in all aspects of their virtual reality, how long will it be till we see teams from schools or larger entities (nations?) racing in competition?

    Many students who “can’t” compete at regular school activities might excel at computer racing; and as the current programs require not only coordination but knowledge of car set up perhaps it might be a bridge to careers in related technical disciplines.

    The behemoth of school inertia sometimes has trouble with lagging behind the real and current interests of our youth.

    (This would really give Drivers Education a new direction…!)

    1. Conor says:

      They don’t actually race the cars. Its about designing and manufacturing them. Also theres a huge organisational and business side to the competition. Nothing to do with computer games what so ever. And its Andrew Denford you should be thanking h founded the competition

      1. Ral says:

        They don’t race the cars? Because the article says they do. Not disputing either, I don’t know anything about the competition other than what’s written here and that it sounds really cool.

        If they do race them though, that made me kinda wonder what advantage, other than weight, balsa wheels would give you? Is it literally just the wheels made of balsa, still draped in rubber, or just the wood on whatever surface is raced on?

  5. Marty says:

    James,

    As you are a patron can I ask if the rules are the same from last year?
    I seem to remeber the school that won it previous (Irish I think) were a lot younger looking?

    Was it open to 19 year olds last year?
    I’m not trying to take anything away, just curious.

    1. James Allen says:

      No, they were in final year of school. They were here tonight to present and are now in their first year studying engineering at University

      1. Marty says:

        Ah right, cheers for that.
        Well I hope they are enjoying it.

  6. Robert Lujan says:

    U S A!! Now can we also be included in the games here on James On F1? I am so happy to be an American who loves F1 right now.

  7. Pranav says:

    James…Are you in Singapore yet? The weather forecasts are all pointing to a wet Singapore GP..I’m really salivating at the very thought of that…How do you see it panning out in the wet?

  8. Richard says:

    I wish this initiative was around when I was at school. It sounds like an amazing opportunity for any student to be involved.

    Congratulations to the winners.

  9. The name Unitus comes from the fact that it is two schools that combined together. I’m the proud mom of the short redhead. :)

  10. Sebee says:

    James

    Since you are quite responsive – any way you could give us engine status update per team and driver? How many has each used? How many failed? How many available?

    1. tank says:

      http://www.vivaf1.com/reliability.php?featuretabs=0

      the tabs above the table will direct you to all the info you could want.

      plus it was posted in an earlier blog entry.

      1. Sebee says:

        Thanks. This link is quite good. I wish there was a chart with aprox mileage on each used engine. I wonder how this will play out next year with 20 races for 8 engines.

    2. Azlas says:

      You can find that info here:
      http://www.formula1.com/news/features/2010/9/11273.html

      on the official f1 website. I’m pretty sure this is the reason James hasn’t mentioned it since its publically available.

  11. TIKO PAVONI says:

    Congratulations to the American Team…James I keep having dreams of a Miami Beach GP…Oh well!

  12. caveman says:

    all sounds pretty cool, any vid for us armchair folk?

  13. Nando says:

    How much does this cost to the schools? Are the entries fee-paying or independent schools, or is the local technology college going to have a realistic shot?

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s all kinds of schools. The kids raise sponsorship money, that’s part of what they are judged on

      1. Mattw says:

        So… Real congratulations to Team Unitus then, who managed to raise their sponsorship at the same time which USF1 didn’t!

  14. Iain M says:

    So can we see what the car they did looks like?

  15. Buck61 says:

    The status of each driver and engines was listed 2 days ago on gpupdate.net

    1. James Allen says:

      It’s also in my post Monza LG Tech Report

  16. Kieran says:

    Can I just say what a pleasure it is, seeing all of the positive comments here. I’m sure any of the teams who read the site would enjoy every ones kind words.

    Well done to the US team, as well.Do we have a new Adrian Newey in our midst, perhaps?

    Kieran

  17. Rich says:

    I wish we had this type of thing when I was young! All I had to muck around with was basic lego or mud!

  18. Giuseppe F1 says:

    Hi James

    Any news/insight from you planned at all on the recent ‘Group Lotus v Lotus Racing’ civil war development and potential ART/Toyota involvelment in a new ‘Group Lotus’ F1 effort to compliment the recently purchased ART GP2/GP3 teams (interesting going up against Fernandes’ new Air Asia GP2 team? All sounds like it is going to get very messy and would LOVE to read your take on it all – especially as I understand that Fernandes is due to make some special announcements in Singapore this weekend?

    1. James Allen says:

      I know a bit about this and will post on it soon

  19. yashar says:

    Dear James

    I would like to become a professional formula one racer in the future,how should i start? I have already passed some karting course in my country ,Do you offer this kind of course or program dedicated to this matter? Do you know any school (anywhere) that offers this kind of course?

    Many thanks in advance

    Yashar

    1. James Allen says:

      What country are you in?

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