The best young race teams in the UAE went head to head for a shot at glory in the National Finals of the F1 in Schools™ – The Formula One® STEM Challenge.
Held at Yas Conference Centre within Yas Marina Circuit, home of the FORMULA 1 ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX, the contest saw teams of students from schools all across the Emirates face off against each other using miniature race cars, each designed and built by the youngsters themselves.
The annual competition, created to encourage excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), challenged youngsters to create their own Formula 1® team and to design, build and race scale model cars at the Circuit.
The aspiring engineers had to work within strict design and budgetary limits to produce cars that are as powerful and aerodynamic as possible. They also marketed their projects, managed a budget, and tied up sponsorship deals, just like real F1® teams.
A 20-metre indoor track at Yas Marina Circuit witnessed some amazing action. Racing in pairs and powered by carbon dioxide cartridges, the small wooden cars sped along the straight course at speeds of up to 80km/h.
However, the contest was not decided by who won on the track. In addition to assessing the quality and performance of the cars, judges also looked at factors including team uniforms, design portfolios, verbal presentation skills and promotional pit displays.
Not only challenging for a shot at glory in the UAE National Finals, the teams were also competing for the chance to fly the flag for the UAE against hundreds of students from all over the world at next year’s F1 in Schools™ World Championship finals, to be held in Singapore.
In a fantastic day of action, team Neutrino from Cambridge International School Dubai were crowned National Champions in the Professional category, with the Blu Comet Racing team from GEMS World Academy Dubai named champions in the Rookie category. Blu Comet also picked up awards for fastest car and best verbal presentation.
Paul Bray, F1 in Schools Specialist, said: “We have been hugely impressed by the quality of the entrants in this year’s contest.
“Each team has shown incredible enthusiasm for the F1 In SchoolsTMProgamme and outstanding knowledge of STEM subjects.
“Yas Marina Circuit is proud to support the spirit of innovation in students across the UAE and we wish the winners success at the World Championships next year.”
Abdulla Al Shammari, Community Manager at Yas Marina Circuit, said: “This year’s National Finals of the F1 in Schools™ – The Formula One® STEM Challenge was a bigger and better than ever with more schools competing from both private an public sector schools.
“All of the students who took part have been working towards this event for a long time and on the day they showed exceptional talent in conceptualizing, designing, and building both their teams and cars, not to mention racing against each other on the track.
“Each of the youngsters who took part have proved they have developed their science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills, all of which will be of great importance after they graduate and start on their path toward a successful career.”
“The F1 in SchoolsTMProgamme keeps growning year on year and the talent we have seen on show throughout the whole completion has been exceptional. The programme itself has now been established for several years and we now look forward building on the solid foundations we have put in place which allow us to play our part in developing the leaders of the future. Yas Marina Circuit is truly the meeting place of Champions.”