Teams of students from Belfast and Newtownards were top in the Northern Ireland regional finals held last week.

Team Carbon, a group of students from Regent House Grammar School, Newtownards took overall victory in the Formula 1 car class and Team Zeiges, a second team from the school took the top honour in the Rookie class, and with these wins both teams have booked their places at the UK National finals of this global competition.

Regent House Grammar School collected three other awards, with Team Carbon having the fastest race car, recording a time of 1.214 seconds to win the Fastest F1 Car award. They were also presented with the Best Engineered Car award. The rookie team from the school also won Best Verbal Presentation award.

Two Belfast schools won awards with 2Fast4U, a team from Royal Belfast Academical Institute, taking the Best Team Identity and Best Display and Portfolio Awards. The Best Team Sponsorship and Marketing award was won by Victoria Vipers, a team from Victoria College, Belfast.

The UK National Finals will be held at Autosport International Show, Birmingham, in January next year. Victory at this event will earn the winning team a place in the 2010 F1 in School World Championships which will be held at an international Formula One Grand Prix.

The competition challenges students to design, construct and race a race car of the future, made from a block of balsa wood, and powered by a compressed air canister. The car is raced over a 20 metre track and the fastest time is recorded. Aside from the on-track action, teams also produce supporting evidence of their design, develop a sponsorship and marketing campaign and produce team merchandise, with all these elements presented with their race car at the regional finals.

The Challenge, in its ninth year, was introduced to the UK in 2000 and since this time has expanded to over 30 countries, with over 9 million students taking part around the globe. Bernie Ecclestone, President and CEO of Formula One Management gave his support to F1 in Schools by granting the challenge a world-wide protected trademark and a new logo in 2005. Since this time the initiative has built close links with teams and personalities within Formula One.

F1 in Schools is regarded by the Formula One fraternity as a platform for introducing Formula One to a global teen demographic. The student challenge is also helping Formula One shed its image as an elitist sport accessible only to multi-million pound budgets; on the contrary, F1 in Schools is open to any school with access to a simple computer.

The Northern Ireland regional finals took place with the assistance of a host of sponsors and supporters. Amongst these are the IET, Corus, Denford, Jaguar, The City University, London and KHP Consulting all of whom are continuing their support of F1 in Schools for the coming year.

Full list of winners:

1st place, Formula 1 Class                  Team Carbon, Regent House Grammar School, Newtownards

Best Rookie Team                              Team Zeiges, Regent House Grammar School, Newtownards

Best Engineered Car                          Team Carbon, Regent House Grammar School, Newtownards

Fastest Formula 1 Car                        Team Carbon, Regent House Grammar School, (1.214  secs)

Best Team Identity                              2Fast4U, Royal Belfast Academical Institute

Innovative Thinking Award                 Burnt Stars, George Stephenson High School, Killingworth, Newcastle

Best Sponsorship & Marketing           Victoria Vipers, Victoria College, Belfast

Best Display & portfolio                      2Fast4U, Royal Belfast Academical Institute

Best Verbal Presentation                    Team Zeiges, Regent House Grammar School, Newtownards

Team Carbon, a group of students from Regent House Grammar School, Newtownards took overall victory in the Formula 1 car class and Team Zeiges, a second team from the school took the top honour in the Rookie class

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