Mission Statement

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

Andrew M Denford Founder and Chairman, F1 In Schools

Thursday, 17 January 2008



‘Blaze’, a student team from Ynysawdre School, Bridgend, Wales raced their Formula One car to victory today to be crowned UK champions at the National Finals of the prestigious F1 in Schools Formula One Technology Challenge, held at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham’s NEC.

The aspiring Formula One designers of the future developed their own scale model racing car for the Challenge, putting in over 300 hours of work each to realise their dream of producing a winning F1 car. The students’ dedication and passion for the project included designing the car with CAD software, manufacturing it using CNC technology, and testing it on their own test track.

Patrick Pang, Team Manager, Blaze, said of winning the 2008 F1 in Schools title, “We’re over the moon! We’ve put a lot of effort into our car for this year’s Challenge and we’ve got the best reward we could get. The standard is really high and we didn’t think we’d get the overall title today, so we’re really pleased. We won the Welsh title last year, but this is a really big accolade and we just can’t believe it.”

With over 200 teams competing this year, Blaze fought through the tough South Wales regional final to win a place at the National Finals. At this event they were pitted against the best teams from around the country, beating their rivals to take the crown. The team’s car posted one of the fastest times of the day and their presentation also scored top marks, with the team showing their initiative by raising £3,500 sponsorship support from local companies, and raising funds for their programme with a range of activities including sales of Tshirts, posters, badges and keyrings.

The Ynysawdre school team win a place at the 2009 World Championships, which will be held alongside an international Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2009. At the World Championships teams from 20 countries around the globe will compete to win the Bernie Ecclestone World Championship Trophy and secure a coveted scholarship at City University London to study Automotive Engineering, a highly valuable prize which will give the students a firm foundation for an engineering career. They also win VIP tickets to this year’s British Grand Prix.

The National Finals featured 23 awards, with 17 different schools from across the UK taking home the trophies. Blaze won the 16+ age group as well as the overall title, beating Spectrum F1 from Robert May’s School, Odiham, winners of the 14-16 years age group and The Hippos Strike Back from St Gregory the Great School, Oxford in the 11-14 years age group. In the Primary School finals Antrim Griffins from Antrim Primary School, Northern Ireland took victory with St. Canice Primary School, Dungiven, North Ireland runners up and The Red Rose Rockets from Clifton Primary School, Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire.

This year’s search for the best young engineering talent in the UK took the judges around the country with 11 regional finals and around 2000 students participating in the Challenge which aims to encourage students to consider engineering as a career choice.

Andrew Denford, Founder and Chairman of the F1 in Schools Technology Challenge said of this year’s National Finals, “Every year the standard gets higher, the students produce more sophisticated designs and presentations and show tremendous engineering understanding, at a very early age. Their knowledge and experience of using advanced CAD software will undoubtedly give them a head start for an engineering-based career.

“F1 in Schools showcases the prospective engineering talent that we have in this country. By nurturing it with programmes such as this, we can sustain the UK engineering industry and hopefully we’re also seeing the next generation of Formula One designers in this Technology Challenge; youngsters to follow in the footsteps of successful industry personalities such as Ross Brawn, Adrian Newey, Mike Gascoyne and the other technical directors in Formula One.”

The F1 in Schools competition challenges students to design, construct and race a Formula 1 car of the future, made from a block of balsa wood, and powered by a CO2 (carbon dioxide) gas canister. The car is raced over a miniature two lane track and the fastest time is recorded.

Aside from the on-track action, teams also produce supporting evidence of their design, develop a sponsorship and marketing campaign and create team merchandise, with all these elements the team originally presented with their car in front of a panel of judges at the regional finals. The winning team from each age category then won their place at the national finals, where the level of competition steps up a notch.

The Challenge, in its eighth year, was introduced to the UK in 2000 and since this time has expanded to 29 countries, with over 7 million students taking part around the globe. Bernie Ecclestone, President and CEO of Formula One Management gave his support to F1 in Schools by granting the challenge a world-wide protected trademark and a new logo in 2005. Since this time the initiative has built close links with teams and personalities within Formula One.

F1 in Schools is regarded by the Formula One fraternity as a platform for introducing Formula One to a global teen demographic. The student challenge is also helping Formula One shed its image as an elitist sport accessible only to multi-million pound budgets; on the contrary, F1 in Schools is open to any school with access to a simple computer.

The National Finals take place with the assistance of a host of sponsors and supporters. Amongst these are the IET, Make Your Mark, Jaguar, Silverstone Circuit, Denford, City University London, RAE, SEMTA, and KHP Consulting, all of whom are continuing their support of F1 in Schools for the coming year.

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