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Posted on April 29, 2013

F1 in Schools in the Middle East – Watch this Space! By Steve Nevey F1 technical business expert, formerly with Red Bull Racing

As part of my Business Development role with the fabulous F1 in Schools educational initiative, I have the occasional pleasure to meet some of the inspirational students who participate in the program. F1 in Schools is currently active in more that 40 countries, making it a truly Global initiative that encourages children to develop an interest in the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).

One of the regions where F1 in Schools is really beginning to take hold is in the Middle East. With the Formula 1 World Championship making the first of its two annual visits to the region, for the Bahrain Grand Prix, I took advantage of the opportunity to visit some of our Middle Eastern participating countries, with the F1 in Schools Founder and Chairman, Andrew Denford.

Our first port of call was Manama, Bahrain, in the week leading up to the Grand Prix. F1 in Schools participating school, St Christopher’s, will once again be holding an inter-school competition, to decide who will go on to represent Bahrain at our 2014 World Finals. The selection process has already taken place to choose the team that will compete in November of this year in Austin, Texas. It was our pleasure to remind the students of the relevance of F1 in Schools and to describe the resemblance that F1 in Schools bears to the real process that a team like Red Bull Racing employs to, first of all, secure sponsorship and then design, analyse, make, test and race its own F1cars.

Since we were passing through Bahrain, it seemed rude not to visit the F1 paddock, to catch up with old friends and to remind some of the current F1 sponsors of the important work that F1 in Schools is doing in nurturing a brilliant stream of fresh talent into the sport. Any support from the current pool of F1 sponsors is always gratefully received.

Nevey (L) with Andrew Denford and students (Peninsular Agency)

Our next stop was Doha, in the sovereign Arab state of Qatar. Our destination, the Doha British School, is using F1 in Schools as a very relevant program for teaching the STEM subjects and will be representing Qatar at the World Finals In Austin. The exiting thing about this visit was, not only that the school had invited other local schools to our presentation and workshop, but that our friends at Williams F1, who have a technology center on the Qatar Science and Technology Park, also attended; CEO Alex Burns explaining the relevance of F1 technology and the importance of F1 in Schools as a first stepping stone to an exciting career in engineering.

My final destination was the beautiful city of Beirut in Lebanon. This previously troubled region is looking to inspire its next generation of business and technology talent through the magnetic appeal of motor racing, with F1 in Schools as the vehicle. Lebanese race driver, Khalil Beschir, is leading a small team of brilliant individuals, as Middle East Motorsports Management, to deliver the F1 in Schools program into the region. Our launch event was well attended by local and national media.

We look forward to some exciting local competition amongst the Middle Eastern F1 in Schools rivals and welcome them into the F1 in Schools Global family.

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