Some great news on F1.com yesterday – Rob Smedley has become a patron of F1 in Schools.
F1 in Schools is a competition that does what it says on the tin. School children have to design a car to race in a time trial against other schools. They are judged on all aspects of the project, from design, manufacture, marketing, sponsorship as well as their presentational, organisational and team work skills.
I was lucky enough to judge a regional final and the national final at the Autosport Show last year, enabling me to see first hand the amount of time and effort that the students put into the competition.
I didn’t know what to expect going into my first event but I was blown away by the level of talent on display. Students had learnt such a huge amount in a short space of time, learning hands on skills as well as theoretical & having knowledge that I certainly didn’t at their age!
They each had designed a ‘pit’ with a display of their work, as well as written portfolio explaining it all. They also performed presentations explaining what they did – all valuable skills that they will no doubt use in the future, whatever their careers end up being.
The design of the cars is fairly strictly controlled. All start off life as a block of wood and the students use CAD to design their ‘F1’ car, test them in CFD, before machining the cars.
A couple that I managed to take photos of (well there was more but they are too blurry to use!):
Students had to complete business plans and work with companies to try to gain sponsorship. A lot even had marketing ideas and had produced merchandise!
The teams essentially work as a scale version of a motorsport team and its a fantastic way to introduce the students to engineering. F1 in Schools is a high profile competition with wide support up and down the pitlane and hopefully it continues to nurture the engineers of the future!
To find out more see the F1 in Schools website.