Australians win F1 in Schools

The F1 in Schools competition came to climax last week with the World Championship between 17 teams from 11 different countries. The competition is for 11-18 year olds to design and model F1 cars, formed in balsa wood and powered by carbon dioxide which are then run on a 20-metre track. In order to design the cars the pupils study such things as fluid dynamics to determine the best possible shape for their vehicles. The teams were competing for the Bernie Ecclestone Trophy (a smart move by the organizers) and for three-year scholarships to study Motorsport and Automotive Engineering at City University in London. The winners were a team of youngsters from Trinity Grammar School in Melbourne, Australia. Second place went to a team from St Albans College in Pretoria, South Africa with third going to the reigning champions Bloomsburg High School from Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.

F1 in Schools was launched in Britain in 2000 and has recently been given the right to associate itself with the F1 logo, which the Formula One group has trademarked. The scheme is seen as a good way to get new generations involved in F1 both as engineers and as fans. The competition will expand to 23 countries in 2006.

The Motorsport and Automotive Engineering course at the City University is based on the foundation of the training for a BSc in mechanical engineering but then specialises on automotive and motorsport engineering with studies of project management; chassis engineering; automotive materials; powertrain engineering; internal combustion engines; engine control and management; car suspension, braking and steering mechanics; vehicle aerodynamics; and automotive CAD/CAM/CAE. The course includes practical engineering as well with students participating in another racing competition, known as Formula Student, in which the students build a full scale racing car.

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