An Australian Secondary School has been crowned world champions in this years fiercely competitive F1 in Schools World Final, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The Pentagliders from Brooks High School in Tasmania produced the best engineered car and the fastest; completing the 20-metre sprint in 1.084 seconds, beating the times of 22 other schools from around the world to claim the Bernie Ecclestone World Champions trophy.
The F1 in Schools challenge was set-up in 1999, aiming to make the teaching of engineering and technology more exciting for young people. They aim to stimulate the notion of team work and creativity in a sporting context by making each team completely responsible for every aspect of the challenge.
Each team develops a car on Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, which can then be tested for aerodynamic efficiency using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software. Cars can then be built and tested for improvements in wind tunnels, before taking to the track for the final sprint.
The Pentagliders, consisting of four team members, have worked for two years on their vehicle and they will each receive Automotive and Motorsport Engineering degree scholarships at City University London. Team Manager, Amy Winter, spoke of her delight upon being named as champions. “It hasn’t sunk in yet, we’re just blown away to have won. I’ve been working towards this for five years and Pentagliders has been a team for over two years.”
The team members were invited into the F1 paddock Thursday evening to meet leading F1 figures and receive their trophy from Bernie Ecclestone, a keen supporter of the programme. World champion car designer Adrian Newey of Red Bull took time out to examine the winning car and discuss its engineering with team members.
F1 in Schools has grown significantly, spreading to 34 countries, with over 12 million students having taken part. It is acknowledged by many leading figures in F1 as an important initiative as the sport strives to find passionate and creative engineers for the future. And we are starting to see more of them being picked up by teams; one former US student starts work at McLaren shortly.