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F1 in Schools World Finals: Judge Gary Anderson Expects tough competition
Posted By:   |  08 Nov 2013   |  6:08 pm GMT  |  14 comments

Next weekend’s Grand Prix in Austin is set to host the 2013 F1 in Schools World Finals, and Head of Judges Gary Anderson believes that the standards will be higher than ever.

The annual event, in which school children develop and produce a miniature Formula One car, is taking place in America for the first time, where a winning team will be chosen on Thursday 14th November.

The thirty-eight teams must produce a car of 21cm in length, which has been designed using 3D modelling and cut out of a block of balsa wood, that is to be raced along a 20-metre track, powered by a compressed air cylinder.

The world record for one run of the track stands at 1.020 seconds, set by Team FUGA from Northern Ireland in 2007.

Along with this each team has to prepare a portfolio and presentation for the judges, which is headed by Formula One veteran Anderson. The former Jordan designer is acting as Head Judge of the competition for the first time and is anticipating the standard to be higher than ever.

“I’m sure there will be close competition and fighting to the last run down the track,” said Anderson. “A good overall team spirit that is helpful to other teams that find themselves lacking in some area is something we always see in F1 in Schools. When I first started in F1 40 years ago the teams used to help each other when and if required – I want to see some of that because F1 has lost that inter team spirit and  hopefully F1 in Schools can bring some of that feel good factor back.”
With the competition in its ninth year, F1 in Schools decided to adopt a revised set of regulations in order to create a level playing field for new schools entering the competition.

“It was time to level the playing field, as some of the teams and schools competing have been involved in F1 in Schools for many years. We felt it was time to get them to scratch their heads with a new set of regulations.”

“Visually the car will be different,” added Anderson, “and the intention is to bring it a little more in line with F1 car concepts, although it is impossible to just cross reference the regulations. However, we have taken a step in that direction.”

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This f1 in schools thing is really great for the kids, We helped a local school win the competition a few years ago by building some custom low torque ball bearings / rotors (im a design eng for the bearing manufacturer), its actually really impressive what the kids come up with


Wish I had something like this back in school.


Hah! Found it.

Took me all of a minute. Lazy U.


Designed using 3D modeling? O.K.

Cut out of balsa wood? Do the students have access to 5-axis CNC machines? If not, you’re talking about state-of-the-art design and 1950’s manufacturing using an X-acto knife.

I’d bet there is a web-site about this somewhere with rules and stuff. Too bad you couldn’t include something useful instead of your generic information.


Totally unrelated but this guy should be your co-commentator James! Also, many thanks for the site. The analysis this week has been almost more interesting than the races themselves..


The school of my kids did indoor airplane models in competition against other schools. Feathers, balsa and a rubberband as energy source.

The interteam spirit mentioned in the article is mainly helping to repair. Tricks are not made public before someone lost in the tournament and hopes that at least his district will win. The tricks are then given just to nearby schools. Strangely enough these are the ones the kids battled for the local championships and the probably concurrents for next year.

Interteam help in Formula 1: last at this garage fire?

And of cause the boat race. When was this heavy rain and the mechanics and drivers build boats and raced them against each other in the box lane?


What a fantastic program, and to have Gary involved is awesome. Good luck to all the teams. (Go Canada)


Any chance of posting some footage of this event after it has been run? Very interested in seeing what the schools are coming up with and how the event takes place 🙂


+1 yes please….with Formula E and projects like the Bloodhound… it’ll be a great way to really garner the interest of the next generation…good luck to all taking part


Gary Anderson has been the find of the decade for BBC F1.

Just hope Brundle doesn’t try to tempt him away ……..

The Spanish Inquisitor

Perhaps Ferrari could learn something…


A bit hard on the current F1 teams, with regards to inter-team cooperation.

When Williams had that fire last year, didn’t the other teams help, during the incident itself, and afterwards with regards to replacing equipment.


That was good to see (the co-operation and support that is, not the fire), but I think Gary is maybe talking about the super competitive and super paranoid environment it’s become today.


Nice for the engineer students but how about mechanics? If you had training with hydraulics, AC electric drive, etc would an F1 team be interested in you?

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