F1 in Schools is a global multi-disciplinary competition that challenges secondary school students to design, build and race miniature compressed-air powered balsa wood Formula One cars. The competition inspires students to use IT to learn about physics, aerodynamics, design, manufacture, branding, graphics, sponsorship, marketing, leadership, teamwork, media skills and financial strategy, and apply them in a practical, imaginative, competitive and exciting way. F1 in Schools Challenge is not all about speed, competing teams are also judged on the quality of their engineering, graphic design, resource management, portfolio, media skills, handling of sponsorship and verbal presentation of their work.
The starting line for all students like ourselves is to form a team of 3 -6 members in either the junior or senior category. We formed our team from a group of past winners and competitors from our school, consisting of Lee Campbell, Pauric Dempsey, John Harding and David Hatton (For more information see ‘About us’). Our first challenge in the competition was to prepare a Five Page Plan consisting of our goals in each area of the competition, from car design to marketing. This was submitted along with an extra innovation page which can earn a possible 10% extra of top of your overall score.
There are 4 regional finals in March across the country where around 100 teams battle it out for just 30 places in the national finals in April. At the regional finals, each team goes head to head on track for the time trial and reaction racing. Before any racing happens, each team must pass the scrutineering checks by the judges in parc ferme to make sure their car complies with all regulations. Of course, there’s far more than just the racing - each team has their own Pit Display stand, where they have to present their 20 A3 page portfolio along with the rest of their work to a team of judges with expertise in all areas from engineering to marketing. As well as undergoing a number of judging sessions at their pit displays, teams are expected to give a 5 minute verbal presentation to another team of judges away from the main competition area, using clear concise language along with visual aids to portray what they have achieved and impress the team of judges by leaving a lasting impression. At the end of the day the teams gather around the main stage area to hear if they are lucky enough to progress to the National Finals.
By the time the National Finals comes around about a month later, teams are expected to have prepared everything from a new improved portfolio to a further developed car as the standard rises dramatically from the regional finals, and the competition heats up. The National Finals, held in Griffith College Dublin in April, take the same shape as the Regional Finals but with the added pressure for the teams of competing for a range of prizes from the Innovative Thinking award to Best Team Identity and of course, the coveted main prize; getting the opportunity to represent Ireland at the F1 in Schools World Finals 2014 in Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.
The F1 in Schools World Finals brings together over 30 teams from 22 countries across the globe to compete for the coveted Bernie Ecclestone World Champions Trophy. The event, which has been planned to coincide with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, is due to return to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi for the second time in 3 seasons and is expected to attract big names from up and down the F1 paddock. Teams spend many months preparing for this incredibly tough competition in the hopes of receiving one of the amazing prizes on offer, or placing on the podium. The winners are crowned as World Champions, and are awarded scholarships to City University London, along with the Bernie Ecclestone Trophy.