UAE F1 in Schools acquired by Yas Marina

Formula 1 in Schools

May.23 (Grand Prix 247) Yas Marina Circuit has acquired the UAE franchise for F1 in Schools, the world’s leading multi-disciplinary challenge for 9-19 year-old students, a press release said.

The circuit will host an invitational national final of the competition in early June, which will see a UAE school team qualify for the 2010 World Championships in Singapore in September.

F1 in Schools challenges students to use software to design, build and race a miniature Formula 1 car made from balsa wood and powered by a single compressed air cylinder.  Working in teams of three to six, the students must also prepare a business plan, develop a marketing strategy and make a presentation to a panel of judges. Teams are awarded points for each aspect of their project and the overall winners will receive the Bernie Ecclestone F1 in Schools World Championship trophy at the world finals in Singapore. All members of the winning team will also receive a four-year university scholarship.

Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chairman of Yas Marina Circuit, said: “F1 in Schools is a tremendous initiative that we are very proud to support. It gives UAE school students a genuine opportunity not only to design and create a car but also to develop an understanding of teamwork, organisation, business and finance. It is an example of how Yas Marina Circuit is becoming both a global centre of motorsport excellence and an integral part of the community year-round.”

Richard Cregan, chief executive officer of Yas Marina Circuit and a patron of F1 in Schools in Ireland, said: “A number of schools across the UAE have participated in the F1 in Schools project over the past two years and those who feel ready will now compete here in June for a place in the world finals. We look forward to welcoming education visits as part of our circuit tours, and we will also be opening up the concept to corporate teams to enable adults to take part.”

Yas Marina Circuit is setting up the F1 in Schools Centre to enable visitors to the circuit to experience all aspects of the F1 in Schools challenge, making it the only Grand Prix track to have such a facility. The programme can last from a single term to a whole academic year — schools can decide their own schedule internally. Participating teams all receive a starter kit that includes all basic materials, including a block of balsa wood from which their car will be fabricated. They then must write a business plan, prepare a budget and raise sponsorship through cooperation with the business community.  Using CAD (Computer Aided Design) technology, the teams design a Formula 1TM car before analysing its efficiency in a virtual reality wind tunnel. Younger pupils in the 9-11 age group will design a dragster instead.

The cars are then fabricated with the use of CAM (Computer Aided Manufacture) software before being tested in wind and smoke tunnels. The final part of the challenge is the race, with teams competing along a special 20-metre straight track.

The cars must cover the distance as quickly as possible – the current record is just 1.02 seconds! Marks are awarded for each component of the challenge, resulting in an overall grade for each team. Each school finds its own winning team and they then move to regional, national and international competition at the F1 in Schools World Championships.

Andrew Denford, chairman of F1 in Schools, said: “F1 in Schools is delighted to have formed a partnership with Yas Marina Circuit. To have a centre of excellence for schools at one of the world’s premier Grand Prix venues, and to open up the circuit to children across the Emirates, will be a huge boost to educating all ages about the excitement of the Formula 1 business.

It will also open their minds to the many career opportunities that the industry offers in engineering and other disciplines. “We look forward to welcoming the next UAE national champions to our World Championships in Singapore in September and one day to hosting our World Championships at this tremendous location.”