F1 in Schools

The mission: “To help change perceptions of engineering, science and technology by creating a fun and exciting learning environment for young people to develop an informed view about careers in engineering, science, marketing and technology.”

What is ‘F1 in Schools’?

‘F1 in schools’ is a competition for teams of three to six school children to design and manufacture miniature CO2 powered racing cars. Pupils will then meet at regional, national and international levels to race their cars.

So what’s involved?

Pupils are expected to manage the whole project from scratch, construct a Business Plan, secure sponsorship, as well as design and build the cars themselves. CAD software (computer aided design) and CFD (computational fluid dynamics) are used in the design process, the same used by Formula 1 designers, and the cars are manufactured on a CNC machine. For schools without this equipment, there are manufacturing centres around the country where the students can watch the car being made via video conferencing. All teams must submit documentation supporting their cars, including 3D rendering of the final concept and orthographic projections of the car.

Eventually, the miniature race cars will be timed over a 20 metre course. The current record for such a car is 1.1 seconds – an average speed of 18.18 m/s! Teams will initially compete regionally, with the winners going through to national, before international finals.

Prizes are not only awarded for the overall winner, prizes are also awarded to the winners by age group, fastest car, the best engineered car, and best team sponsorship and marketing.

Is it an officially backed project?

‘Formula 1 in Schools’ was set up in 2000. With fewer engineering graduates than ever before, the scheme was launched to encourage budding F1 designers and mechanics to follow such curriculum. Since its inauguration, over two million school children have taken part, from over twenty countries.

‘Formula One in Schools’ is supported by aficionados from the sport itself. Bernie Ecclestone has officially endorsed the scheme and ITV’s commentator James Allen is patron, other such names including Ross Brawn (formerly of Ferrari), Sam Michaels (Williams) and Mike Gascoyne (formerly Toyota’s head of engineering) have actively supported the scheme.

Why it is a good initiative?

It allows young minds a unique chance to do something that is not traditionally available to them, whilst promoting the sport. It provides students a chance to promote their own technological skills, as well as inspire their creative and innovative traits, potentially launching their journey into Formula One.

The scheme is open to both boys and girls, with female students now making up 40% of all entrants, a proportion unmatched in modern day F1.

For more information, the Official ‘F1 in Schools’ website can be found here: https://www.f1inschools.com/