Team pulse win the 2008  f1 in schools world championshipsThe educational and vocational benefits of competing in the Formula One in Schools Technology Challenge have always been one of the key attractions to schools and student teams. Plymouth student Andrew Lees, one of the current World Champion team members, has exemplified this with his work experience and university plans. His involvement in the Challenge opened the door to a work placement at the ING Renault F1 team for three months this summer. With a place at Cambridge University requiring industry experience as part of the entry condition, Lees has been able to use his F1 in Schools success to his advantage.

Lees, Technical Engineer in the Pulse team from Devonport High School, Plymouth, Devon, won the 2008 F1 in Schools World Championship title with his fellow student team members last year in Malaysia. Following this success, Lees approached F1 in Schools patron and Renault F1 Executive Director of Engineering, Pat Symonds, for a work experience placement. Symonds, impressed with the accomplishments of the budding engineer, was granted a coveted three month placement at the leading F1 team.

Lees said of winning his work experience with the Renault Formula One team, “During the prize giving in Malaysia, Renault F1 Executive Director of Engineering Pat Symonds was at the event and we had a good chat with him after the prize giving. Then about six months ago I was searching for a placement and I wrote to Pat (Symonds) to ask if there was anything available within the Renault F1 team. He remembered me from the event and offered me three months at the team's headquarters in Enstone, Oxfordshire.

“I started five weeks ago at the factory, where I've been working in the Vehicle Performance Group department. My main project has been working with the engineers on a graphical user interface; it will simulate the ride on the car once it is finished. Working in such a professional and dedicated environment is a great learning experience for me. It's brilliant and really enjoyable. It is a very engaging job which constantly challenges you and presents you with new problems and the need to solve them.

“I will move onto the Research and Development department to broaden my experience which will be another excellent opportunity for me to learn another area of engineering. I will be working on fatigue testing and analysing how long parts will last on the car. That will be totally different for me to do for the next six weeks and I'm really looking forward to it.

“Part of my offer for my university place is dependent on me having time in industry and to have it at Renault F1 makes it even more prestigious. I have really enjoyed it so far, I would definitely consider this something I would like to do in the future.

“I would definitely recommend the F1 in Schools Challenge to anyone interested in engineering or the many other skill sets which this initiative uses. It has opened so many doors for us as a team. It has improved my maths, engineering and presentation skills, as well as giving me confidence to talk in front of people. I've learnt that the saying 'if at first you don't succeed, try, try again' is absolutely true. It took us nearly four years in the competition to win the World Championship title and we succeeded in the end.”

Executive Director of Engineering of the Renault F1 team, Pat Symonds, commented, “I first met Andrew and the Pulse team at the world finals in Kuala Lumpur. They stood out even among the incredibly high standards at the finals as four very talented young men who will be assets to industry and I'm sure they have very successful careers ahead of them. Andrew's grasp of the mathematics and physics that are the basis of engineering was outstanding and I was pleased to offer him work experience to enable him to see first hand the expertise, motivation and excellence you need to operate at this level. He is very enthusiastic and willing to learn, and our engineers have been very impressed with the foundation skills he has and the interest he shows in the work.  The F1 in Schools programme has certainly given him a head start in his career and it shows the value of students participating in this very worthwhile initiative.”

The F1 in Schools challenge encourages students to design and build a scale Formula One car out of balsa wood using CAD/CAM software. The car is then raced down a 20 metre track powered by a compressed air canister. The teams also replicate a Formula One pit garage/display for their cars, create team wear and develop marketing programmes for their team.  The 2009 F1 in Schools World Championships take place London, from 15-17 September this year.

The educational and vocational benefits of competing in the Formula One in Schools Technology Challenge have always been one of the key attractions to schools and student teams. Plymouth student Andrew Lees, one of the current World Champion team...

Back to F1 in Schools World | Added 9 years ago