Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) and the McLaren Group have announced a new initiative which will use the science behind Formula 1 to help encourage young people to take an interest in science at school.
The programme is part of GSK’s Scientists in Sport campaign, which will be unveiled this week at the Big Bang national science fair (14-17 March).
It aims to inspire 11-14 year olds to continue studying science as research suggests not enough roles in science technology, engineering and maths occupations are being filled.
Together with McLaren, GSK are running a competition called “The Fast Forward Challenge” where schools are being challenged to design a test to help improve the performance of their drivers – Jenson Button and Sergio Perez.
The winner will have their test carried out by a member of the McLaren team and will have the chance to visit the McLaren Technology Centre where the team train.
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: “Formula 1 is one of the world’s most exciting sports, pitting fearless, highly skilled drivers against one another.
“But beneath the sporting contest is some of the most advanced technology on the planet and no racing could happen without the scientists and engineers who develop our cars.
“It’s vital that for the good of Formula 1, and more importantly for the good of society, that young people are inspired to study science and maths.”
Teachers who want to sign up for Scientists in Sport or the Fast Forward Challenge should visit www.scientistsinsport.com
GSK and McLaren began a partnership in 2011 with one of GSK’s consumer brands, Lucozade, appearing on the car and the drivers’ overalls and supplying drinks to the drivers and team as part of their preparation for events.