F1 in Schools is an international competition. It has regional, nation and international stages.
As a team you will take part in your Regional Final, competing against other teams from your area. The team which wins the Regional Final will go on to compete in the UK National and will compete again against other regional winners. The winners will be the UK National Champions. This system is replicated in over 40 countries. Each country's Champions are invited to the World Finals where they will go compete to become World Champions and to win the Bernie Ecclestone F1 in Schools World Champions trophy.
It is a great competition, which gives you an opportunity to gain and improve many skills including; communication, team work and technical skills with various software. These skills will help you no matter what career you choose to pursue. Teams consist of between 3 and 6 people, you will be recreating the same process a real F1 team would, from a business plan to your car design. Technical skills you will use will be CAD (Computer Aided Design), CNC (Computerised Numerical Control) and many types of software to research and make you car. The competition will climax with racing your car on an F1 in Schools, 20m, track. However, it is not just about the speed of your car, awards are also given for innovation, and business strategy.
If you are not already thinking of taking part in this competition, I strongly recommend that you do so as it is really good and teaches you many important skills.
Step 1: See If Your School Is Already Involved
Many schools are involved in F1 in Schools so your school may already be. If you have not be informed about the competition and are interested in doing so, ask around some of the teachers to see if any are involved. I would recommend asking teachers who are responsible for extra curricular activities first and then the physics or design teachers as they are the most likely to know about the competition.
By asking teachers you will find out if your school is involved, if so good go on to the next step. If not by asking around you will show the teachers who can probably help to get involved what the competition is all about and hopefully some of them are interested enough to get involved and help you form a team.
Step 2: What Actually Needs Doing?
Form a team of 3-6 students, they must be 9-19 years old.
Allocate team roles. (see more about this on the next step)
Decide which class of the competition you will enter; Jaguar Primary School Challenge, Rookie Class, Formula One Class.
Register your team to compete at 1 of the 10 Regional Finals across the UK Click here to register.
Download the Technical and Competition Rules and Regulations.
Read the rules and then read them again to make sure you understand what needs to be done. I would also recommend taking a few notes about key things that need to be done.
For the CAD you can get a free copy of Autodesk software if you register and apply here.
Step 3: How to Get a Team Together.
Once you have got involved in F1 in Schools you will need to form a team. The rules state a team must be 3 to 6 members, one of which must be the team leader.
The team leader will need to be organised, and have some skills at organising others as it will be their responsibility to make sure work is done in good time and to coordinate the whole process. They also will have to play a key role in a presentation which is given to the judges during the competition and so should have decent public speaking skills.
The other roles which are needed are; a researcher, a designer, an engineer, a sponsorship coordinator, a marketing director and a portfolio writer. Many of these roles can be combined and the team leader can take on some of these responsibilities. I would suggest having all the car related tasks given to one or two people who can work as a sub-team and will be in charge of designing and making the car. The same can be done with all the sponsorship and marketing roles. However, I would suggest that everyone is involved in some way with all the tasks and no one person is left to do something.
Step 4: Making the Car
Once you have the CAD software the hard work begins. As you probably will not have used the software before I would recommend you do not try to make the car first. Instead just try making random shapes to get used to the software. Then once you are happy start working on the car. Once you have a basic design you will want to use some other software to test the aerodynamics of the car. As this is your first try at this, the first car design you make will not be perfect and so you will want to redo the design. This step is normally the hardest and will take the most time.
Once you have a final design you will need to actually make it using CNC machines and so you will probably need to talk to design and technology related teachers so they can tell you how to use the machine your school has, if you school doesn't have a suitable machine you will need to investigate other institutions which may have a machine you can use.
Step 5: Tips
The most important thing in the competition is not individual talent but team unity. If you do not work well together as a team you will not succeed.
Make sure to plan a time frame for each task as you do not want to realise a few days before the competition that some tasks are unfinished.
Do not focus too much on any one task and do not neglect task that might seem less important.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Check out our Twitter account @Blaze_F1_Team