Five Essex students have missed out on a long, leisurely summer holiday, but they are not complaining. In the race to win the F1 in Schools World Champions crown, this team of 17-year-olds from St. John Payne Catholic School in Chelmsford, have been meeting up in their school classroom throughout the holidays as they prepare for the biggest week of their lives, travelling to Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur, to compete at the F1 in Schools World Finals.

Emily Latham, Anna MacBride, Michael Smith, Edward Talboys and Timothy Tillett are the brains behind Dynamic, one of the 23 teams who will by vying for a very special prize of Automotive and Motorsport Engineering university scholarships to City University London and the prestige of lifting the Bernie Ecclestone World Champions trophy in this Formula 1 linked global educational challenge.

The Dynamic spokesperson and Resources Manager for the team, Anna MacBride explains, “Making a racing car out of balsa wood and creating a team to go with it may sound simple, but it's not. There's so much more to F1 in Schools than this. Everything has to be created from scratch, following tight rules and regulations. The car is designed on 3D CAD software, just as they do in Formula 1 teams, then it has to be tested, before we manufacture it and test it again. Alongside this, we put together a team identity with branding which goes through every aspect: our portfolio of work, team uniforms, merchandise and graphic display. Not forgetting the need to secure sponsorship, this is a major task.

“It's a very time-consuming project for all of us and we've lived and breathed F1 in Schools for years now, but it's addictive, we enjoy the challenge of competing and, working towards our goal of winning so much that we're prepared to give up our holiday time and after school hours. We all know that it's good to do this from an educational perspective, but for us, it's rising to the challenge and seeing whether we can create the best F1 in Schools team that makes it worthwhile.”

MacBride says of the long journey the team have been on to try and take the title at the World Finals, “It all started over three years ago when we entered a team for the first time in F1 in Schools. We competed at the South East Regional Final but although we didn't make it through to the Nationals we were already hooked on the challenge.

We entered again in 2010 and won a place at the National Finals. The competition at the Nationals was really tough and everyone's cars were really well designed, but amazingly, we won overall which meant we could go to the World Finals in Singapore later that year. It was a fantastic experience and we were really proud to win the Williams F1 Best Verbal Presentation award. When we got back we talked about doing F1 in Schools for another year. It didn't take us long to decide we'd give it another crack. After winning at our Regional Final again we were taken aback when we successfully defended our National title and were confirmed for the World Finals this year.

“Preparing for this year's event has probably been even more nerve-wracking and stressful as we know how difficult it is to win, but we're very determined to take the title, so we've spent all the time we can on the project. Since winning in March we've put in a tremendous amount of work improving every aspect from the car design and livery through to the graphics, the team uniforms and the marketing.

“Have we done enough to win? We just don't know.  We've teamed up with industry much more this time which has helped us in various areas. We have a special finish to our car which reduces drag and hopefully that is going to surprise the other teams. We've also been linking with City University to do testing with high speed cameras which analyse the car movement in a high degree of detail. Working with Olympic Sign Services we've been able to improve the standards of our graphics too. So we've think we've upped our game all round, but only time will tell when we get to Malaysia. “

The F1 in Schools World Finals take place from 19 – 21 September in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Each team of between three and six students brings 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.


Five Essex students have missed out on a long, leisurely summer holiday, but they are not complaining. In the race to win the F1 in Schools™ World Champions crown, this team of 17-year-olds from St. John Payne Catholic School in Chelmsford, have...

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