We’ve covered the progress of the F1 in Schools challenge over the years. It’s the only global multi-disciplinary challenge in which teams of students aged 9 to 19 deploy CAD/CAM software to collaborate, design, analyse, manufacture, test, and then race miniature compressed air powered balsa wood F1 cars.
But what’s it like to actually be in one of the teams. Based in Latymer Upper School Team Blaze is formed of team leader Joe, in-house PR whizz Ed and engineer Ishan.
Here’s Ed’s account…
Why should you read this, for it is quite clearly just trying to promote a team. But then again “history is written by the victors” so is not all writing, at heart, promotion of the writer? Even if it is you might as well still read the article as I hope you shall find it interesting, and if you have taken the effort to read this the rest won’t take long to read.
About the challenge
Before I talk about my experiences and hopes in the F1 in Schools competition I ought to explain what it is. In a very brief way F1 in Schools is an international competition which involves students designing, building and racing a 30cm long CO2 powered racing car. The competition takes place over three events: regional, national and international finals, with the winners from each going on to the next round.
However, explaining something in this way would be like trying to describe a human as a mere congregation of flesh and blood. The competition is much more (if I were an unoriginal writer I might call it a “journey” but that would be heavily clichéd) than just a competition as it really helps to learn things and discover skills.
My current team consists of four members, two of whom, me included, were in a different team which competed a few years ago. In this previous team my job could not have been more different, I was dealing solely with the design and manufacture of the car and utterly ignored publicity and public relations and left that to other members.
This team dynamic seemed to make sense as I was doing a Design and Technology GCSE and so on the surface I was perfect for the job. That team did work and we realised that we were all reasonably good at our roles. We even came fifth in the London regional finals. But then when we came to start a new team, as some members had decided to prioritise other pursuits, we realised it was a rather odd team.
As I, the one thinking of doing Humanities at university, was going to do the engineering whereas our current team engineer was going to do publicity and PR when he wanted to become an engineer. We realised that this was not going to help us that much as we all wanted to develop skills that would help in the future. By swapping these roles we realised that we could actually do more things that we gave ourselves credit for.
Learning new skills
I learned that, although I was not the most social and was the one team member who did not use any social media personally, I could handle social media rather successfully. This is why we really are doing the F1 in Schools competition, not to win, but to develop skills and learn what we can do.
Also the competition really helped to show what F1 really is about. To people vaguely interested they would assume that this would be the cars. However, as soon as you start taking part in a competition based around F1 you realise that, although the design and manufacture is very important, the funding aspect is much more important.
There is no point having an intricate car design if it cannot be turned into reality. This requires funding and shows how pivotal the funding is, this pivotal nature is further shown by how all other things require money. This funding also shows the importance of publicity as raising sponsorship is much harder than someone might expect.
We need your sponsorship
Now back to that idea with which I started: promotion. I seem to have talked about many things about how great the competition is without promoting my team. And as I have hopefully shown you this competition is very useful, but the desire to compete alone is not enough. To be able to take part in the competition, we must raise sponsorship to fund the manufacture of our car and other things necessary for our success in the competition.
If you would like to support us in this competition, please do get in touch at Blaze.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also check us out on Twitter: @Blaze_F1_Team
And do remember that quotation, if we win we shall be able to write the history and let show what a great help our sponsors have been to us.