F1 in Schools: a challenge for aspiring engineers

Miniature cars used in a big challenge that provides a deep experience.

F1 in schools is an exciting and dynamic challenge for engineering students that involves building and racing miniature cars. This fantastic event gives students from primary school right through to university level the chance to experience many of the fundamentals of engineering including teamwork, design and planning, manufacturing and testing, and of course making your work come to life for the race.

F1 in schools conjures up the feel of a classic derby environment, putting real-world engineering skills and high tech tools and techniques to the test. Teams of three to six utilise computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software to plan and create their F1 miniature in a setting that's both exciting and high-paced.

Sounds like fun? It is! But it's also much more than that. It's one of the most successful Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs in the world and has reached 20 million students in 40 countries. The competition takes place at regional, national and international levels and even allows for international teams to compete at the world finals.

The depth of experience offered by F1 in Schools is perfect for budding engineers who want to enter a global marketplace.

Valuable skills for engineering students

The cars, powered by compressed air, take students beyond the realm of hobby racing by segmenting the experience into 12 stages. Each stage exposes the team to engineering processes and business practices:

  1. Team formation: the team is formed, named, and roles are distributed.
  2. Business plan: the team develops a plan for business and sponsorship.
  3. Design phase: the team uses Computer Aided Design (CAD) software to design their entry based on parameters put in place by the International Rules Committee.
  4. Analysis: Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software is used to gauge aerodynamics in a virtual wind tunnel.
  5. Build: the team determines the best machining plan using Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software.
  6. Testing: using smoke/wind tunnels, the team tests their car’s aerodynamics.
  7. Pit booth: the team creates a display to relate their work to judges. The display covers every stage and is focussed on team identity.
  8. Scrutineering: the team submits their car to the judges to ensure it complies with rules and regulations.
  9. Engineering judging: the team answers questions about their car and build choices from a panel of judges.
  10. Presentation: the team performs a verbal presentation to the judges that covers all facets of their project.
  11. Portfolio review: a 20 page document is put forth to the panel for judging.
  12. Race: the team races their compressed air powered F1 car against others for a shot at 1st place!

Australian students love F1 in Schools. If you have students who would be interested in the challenge tell them today! For more information, visit the official website for F1 in schools.

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