Botwnnog students fly the flag for Wales as they race to Malaysia for 2011 F1 in Schools World Finals
The honour of representing Wales at the forthcoming 2011 F1 in Schools World Finals is very important to five Botwnnogstudents who will be travelling to Malaysia next week to compete in this prestigious global educational competition. The Welsh speaking 16 year olds from Ysgol Botwwnog, a team named Fflam, won through Regional Finals to compete at the UK National Finals where they were second overall and Wales National Champions. They now face the ultimate challenge of racing against 22 teams from 17 different countries for the 2011 F1 in Schools World Champions title. This crown also brings with it the Bernie Ecclestone World Champions trophy and coveted Motorsport and Automotive Engineering degree scholarships at City University London.
Fflam Team Manager, Steffan Jones, says of the team's success so far, “It means a lot to us to be Welsh champions as we're very proud of our country and having the opportunity to represent Wales at an international level, in the company of students from around the globe, gives us the chance to promote Wales as a country in its own right, rather than just as part of the UK.”
The F1 in Schools World Finals take place from 19 – 21 September in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Each team of between three and six students forms their own Formula 1 team to design, build, test and race a miniature F1 car of the future. They bring together their work to present to a judging panel with a verbal and written presentation to support their model car, which is raced on a specially designed test track. At the World Finals each team will bring along a pit display, three identical cars and portfolio, as well as having prepared a presentation for the judges. The cars race on a 20 metre track, with the cars covering the distance in just over one second, a speed barrier which is yet to be broken by any student team since it was set by Team FUGA from Northern Ireland at the 2007 World Finals at 1.020 seconds
Jones explains, “There is no other competition like this one, which encompasses so many different areas and skills. Some of our team are interested in engineering, but others were attracted by the creative elements and for me, as I'm looking to go into a management career, I could see the values of being the leader of the programme and learning skills which would be useful for my future.
“We've linked with local, regional and countrywide businesses to secure funding and also practical support, both of which have been really valuable to us. Our car was painted in the paintshop of the local RAF base, RAF Valley in Anglesey, (where Prince William is based) which is usually used to paint their planes. Axis Precision, a local CNC Milling company, gave us our wheels and axles for free, which was very helpful too and we have linked with Bangor University who provided the resources for us to manufacture our front wing. We also have a lot of sponsors who have been very supportive; all of them are Welsh companies, as we wanted to keep our nationality very strong as we're representing Wales.We'd like to thank every company and individuals that have helped us, as we couldn't do this without them.”
Jones and his team mates are looking forward to their Asian trip, saying, “The project has taken over our lives and we've spent most of our summer working on it. Since the UK National Finals we've made lots of improvements to our car and our aim is to do well in Malaysia. Last year's Welsh champions, Team Zenith, won an award, so we'd like to improve on their success. Winning is important, but having talked to Zenith, I think the whole week of the World Finals will be amazing. They've said it will be an experience we'll never forget. The pressure of the competition will be intense, but we'll also meet so many students from different backgrounds, in a country which we've never been to before and, as a bonus, we'll go to a Formula 1 Grand Prix.”
This unique student challenge is the largest global educational initiative promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). It now takes place in 34 countries around the world, with an estimated 18000 schools competing. For further information visit www.f1inschools.com
The honour of representing Wales at the forthcoming 2011 F1 in Schools World Finals is very important to five Botwnnog students who will be travelling to Malaysia next week to compete in this prestigious global educational competition....
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