On Wednesday 8th February, four Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School students took part in the London and South-East regional finals in the F1 in schools competition. F1 in schools is a great opportunity for any student; it is an internationally renowned event with students from over 40 countries across the world taking part. The competition consists of teams creating a CO2 propelled race car, team portfolios, pit displays as well as gaining sponsorship via a marketing campaign, all very similar to the actual Formula 1, but on a miniature scale. The team from Queen Elizabeth’s named IQ Engineering, consisted of 4 team members; Jasmine Leech (year 12), Zoe Hatton (year 11), George Stonor (year 11) and Lewis Fowler (year 10). The team entered the competition last year and were highly recommended by the judges but did not win a prize, so this year they were determined to do better!
This year’s regional final was held at the CEME building in Essex. The London and South East finals are renowned as the toughest regionals to participate in, with so many schools taking part including previous winners from the National and International finals in the past. The team set up for the day full of confidence and were hopeful for some success to reward all their hard efforts over the past year. Team leader Zoe was hot on the case, ensuring the team was well disciplined and met all regulation requirements. During the day the team had to man their pits, deliver two presentations to a panel of professional engineers (judges), undergo car scrutineering by engineering judges, as well as take part in the race.
The day had been going very well and the team felt confident they had performed to their best in all areas, but did not want to get their hopes up too much as the competition was tough and judged on so many different criteria. Then it was race time - all cars ran and with only 3 to go, it was Team IQ Engineering’s first run of four down the track. The CO2 canister exploded and the car raced down the track. At the end of the track George was pleased to see it had survived in one piece. What about the race time - first place! The car continued to get faster each run but there was another team, which consisted of 5 first year Degree students, still to go. When the university students stepped up, their car unfortunately went 5 hundredths of a second faster than the car from Queen Elizabeth’s, however they were later disqualified for breaking 3 critical regulations whilst in scrutineering.
It was time for the judges to meet and decide on prize winners. When the presentation ceremony commenced, IQ Engineering were not aware that their rivals had been disqualified so were shocked and delighted to be awarded with the trophy for fastest car of the day. They were then presented with the award for Best Sponsorship and Marketing, 2 trophies! The team were delighted as this had already surpassed their expectations. Whilst waiting for the final major awards to be announced, it dawned on the team they could be in with a chance of winning the big one……and it happened, Best Team Overall, first place and entry to the National Final at Silverstone race track! Well done IQ Engineering, all at Queen Elizabeth’s are extremely proud of you!
If successful at the National Finals at Silverstone, the next stage of the competition will be the World Finals, which this year will be in Malaysia to coincide with the F1 Grand Prix week. Although reaching the Finals was only a dream to begin with, it has become clear to the team that they have a real chance now and with only 5 weeks to improve key areas of the car, in order to make it happen. This experience could not have happened without the help and support from those that have sponsored and supported the team. If you would like to help them reach the final stages of this worldwide competition, sponsorship opportunities are always available by contacting the school. Just like real F1 teams, organisations that sponsor and provide services will be advertised in their pit display, outfits, and car.
For more information about the event please visit: www.f1inschools.co.uk