The national winners of F1 in Schools in 2009, 'Velocity', from St John Payne Catholic Comprehensive School in Essex, were treated to a day to remember when they visited Williams F1's headquarters at Grove in Oxfordshire recently.

The student team of David Nicholls, Patrick Delaney, Hannah Griggs, Ronald Lee, Gemma Morris and William O'Donnell were given an exclusive tour of the Formula One team's factory, including the car build workshop areas, pattern shop, composites, the research and development department, manufacturing and production, as well as the wind tunnel test facility. The day also included a visit to the Williams F1 collection. Housing over 38 of the team's seminal race cars, the Williams F1 Grand Prix Collection is the largest private collection of Formula One cars in the world, charting the team's 32 years of motor racing history.

Frank Williams founded Williams Grand Prix Engineering in 1977 and, together with Patrick Head,  built the first eponymous car the following year. Since then, Williams has won 16 FIA Formula One World Championships, nine for Constructors' in partnership with Cosworth, Honda and Renault, and seven Drivers' titles with Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Nelson Piquet, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve.

Patrick Delaney, Team Manager, Velocity, said of the visit, “It was an amazing day out for us. We were given a unique insight into the inner workings of a top Formula One team and it was a great privilege. The work that goes into designing, building and racing a Formula One car is just immense, but you can only appreciate this when you actually have this opportunity to see behind the scenes.

“There are around 500 people all dedicated to putting the best car possible out on track for the F1 season and they work really hard all year round. The visit to the trophy room in the museum shows how important this is and the success that the team has had, as there are loads of trophies on display.

“One aspect of the visit which I can relate to is the teamwork that is shown by Williams F1. Teamwork played a really big part in Velocity's success, as we all had to work together closely to make sure we had the best car and were the best team in the competition. After visiting Williams F1 I am sure that I want to have a career in Formula One. I am also lucky enough to be having work experience with the team later this year, which will give me the chance to experience F1 first hand and it will be excellent for my future career prospects.”

Andrew Denford, Chairman and Founder, F1 in Schools, said of the team's visit to Williams F1, “We are indebted to Williams F1 for giving our F1 in Schools winners the opportunity to visit the factory. I know how much of a privilege this is and how much the students appreciate experiencing the reality of the industry.”

The national winners of F1 in Schools in 2009, ‘Velocity’, from St John Payne Catholic Comprehensive School in Essex, were treated to a day to remember when they visited Williams F1’s headquarters at Grove in Oxfordshire recently. ...

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