The British round of the Formula One World Championship is a prestigious and glamorous event, with only a select few VIP's being granted access to the private Formula One paddock. A team of local students won their taste of this exclusivity after being crowned F1 in Schools National Champions at the 2008 finals in Birmingham earlier this year.
Team Blaze from Ynysawdre School in Wales had the privilege of spending some time in the paddock as guests of Formula One and the Renault F1 team, with the highlight of their visit being a tour of the team's garage to see the cars being prepared for the British Grand Prix.
Four of the aspiring F1 engineers from Team Blaze: Patrick Pang, Team Manager; Nathan Dix, Design Engineer; Thomas Walbyoff, Manufacturing Engineer; and Lewys Jenkins, Resources Manager were lucky enough to see behind the scenes of a Formula One team at the track and were highly impressed with the opportunity.
Patrick Pang, Team Manager for the Blaze team commented, “We had a unique experience at Silverstone. So few people of our age have the chance to watch Formula One personnel at work and see close-up what they do. We had a chance to talk with some of them and learn more about what it takes to work in Formula One. We've gained a good understanding of the principles of racing car design from our involvement in F1 in Schools, so to see it in reality was really valuable and makes you realise how much you've learned from doing the challenge. We'd like to thank everyone at Renault and F1 in Schools for making our visit to Silverstone a trip of a lifetime.”
Founder of the F1 in Schools Technology Challenge Andrew Denford commented, “The weekend has been a great opportunity for the students to witness Formula One up close. They had unrivalled access to the teams and garages, and spent time talking to some very influential people. The Formula One teams have extended such warm hospitality to the students; we're very grateful for their support and for making it possible for students to gain a unique insight into the reality of Formula One and show how they could apply the skills they've learned in F1 in Schools to a future career in motorsport.”
Team Blaze won through a Regional Finals held at Corus in Port Talbot to take their place in the National Finals held in January. Taking the National Champions title brought the team a trip to the British Grand Prix and a place in the 2009 World Championships which are due to be held in the UK next year.
F1 in Schools is a global multi-disciplinary challenge for students aged from 9-18 to use CAD/CAM software to design, analyse, manufacture, test and race their miniature F1 car made from balsa wood and powered by compressed air cylinders. Working in teams of between three and six, the students prepare a business plan, develop a budget and raise sponsorship as well as designing and racing their car. The challenge inspires students to learn about science, maths, 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.
Photograph caption: Pictured from left to right in the Renault F1 Team garage - Patrick Pang, Thomas Walbyoff, Nathan Dix and Lewys Jenkins.British F1 in Schools Champions from Ynysawdre School visit F1 paddock at British Grand Prix
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