Australian team crowned F1 in Schools World Champions 2013 in Texas

2013 F1 in Schools Champions

2013 F1 in Schools Champions

For the second year in a row, an Australian team have seen off the competition of 37 other student squads to be crowned F1 in Schools World Champions 2013 at the ninth world finals in Austin, Texas, on the eve of the United States Grand Prix.

A1 Racing, a team made up of six teenage students from two schools 3000 kilometres apart, not only won the coveted Bernie Ecclestone World Champions trophy but also received highly-prized Motorsport and Automotive Engineering Scholarships for City University, London.

The Australian squad worked hard to achieve their dream of taking the F1 in Schools World Champions title. They had earned their place at the event after success in the Australian National Finals earlier this year and as well as claiming victory were presented with the Fastest Car Award. Joining A1 Racing on the podium were the runners-up from USA, Allegiance Racing from Southeast High School, and Unlimited Acceleration from Lessing-Gymnasium Winnenden, in Germany, who stood in third place.

A1 Racing team manager Jacqueline Cunninghame, who oversaw the six students from Pine Rivers State High School, Queensland and Phoenix P-12 Community College, Ballarat, Victoria, said she was incredibly proud of their success: “We can’t believe we won, it’s just amazing. There were so many good teams, it was really tough, so we’re really happy to have won this. It means everything to us.”

Finalists in Austin

Finalists in Austin

For one team member, Dylan Sexton, celebrations had to be put on hold as he was forced to return to his hotel room to sit a Business Management exam minutes after the team received the trophy. “I’m already 12 minutes late,” said the 17 year old student, “so I’ll have to celebrate later”.

F1 in Schools challenges students to create their own Formula One team which is commissioned to design, manufacture and race the fastest miniature Formula One Car of the Future; a 21cm long scale model designed using 3D solid modelling software and machined from a block of balsa wood, incorporating 3D print technology in its front and rear wings.

At the World Finals each team brought along a pit display, their cars and portfolio, as well as having prepared a verbal presentation for the judges. The cars were raced on a 20 metre track, with the cars covering the distance in just over one second, a speed barrier which is yet to be broken by any student team since it was set by Team FUGA from Northern Ireland at the 2007 World Finals with a time of 1.020 seconds.

The F1 in Schools 2013 podium in Austin, Texas: (middle) 1st place A1 Racing from Australia, 2nd place (left) Allegiance Racing from USA, 3rd place (right) Unlimited Acceleration from Germany

The F1 in Schools 2013 podium in Austin, Texas: (middle) 1st place A1 Racing from Australia, 2nd place (left) Allegiance Racing from USA, 3rd place (right) Unlimited Acceleration from Germany

Andrew Denford, Founder and Chairman, F1 in Schools said of this year’s World Finals, “I’m always blown away by the professionalism, innovation, engineering capabilities and overall dedication shown by the World Finals teams. This year there was an incredibly high standard of work and it made it very difficult to judge. A1 Racing shone out from their rivals and deserved all their success and the World Champions title.”

“But it is not only the academic excellence that we have seen at the World Finals,” adds Denford. “F1 in Schools changes lives around the world and these boys and girls will have formed friendships which will last a lifetime. I know that they will all have learned life skills which will be invaluable throughout their careers and I’m very proud to have been able to give these great students this opportunity.”

A1 Racing’s Ben Marshall is an example of just how life-changing F1 in Schools can be. The 17 year old is a lifelong sufferer of High Function Autism Asperger’s Syndrome , he says, “I couldn’t really talk to people, approach people or introduce myself to people, but being in the competition and learning all the new skills, it has given me so much confidence – I just want to talk to everyone, it has just changed my life, I love my life now.” (F1 in Schools)