GCSE engineering students hope to be ‘F1 in Schools’ UK champions

Students at Bradfield School, Worrall are gearing up to compete at the National Finals of this year’s F1 in Schools STEM Challenge at Silverstone this week.

Two teams of students from Sheffield have been hard at work designing and building their own miniature F1 cars in the hope of winning a place at the World Finals in Austin, Texas this year where teams from over 40 countries will compete.

The competition aims to get children excited about engineering. It challenges them to not only manufacture and test their designs using high-end technology, such as 3D printers and routers, but to manage their team’s marketing and sponsorship too.

Bradfield School’s Head of Design and Technology, Sam Booth, who has been running the competition for the students said: “Things are becoming more and more academic which is a bit of a shame really, especially in design and technology. Doing competitions like this gets the students up out of their seats and gets them really thinking about real world problems and also having a bit of fun at the same time.”

Steel Racing, a team made up of boys from year 11 have made it to the Nationals for the second year in a row. They are running in the professional class and are keen to impress at this year’s competition after missing out on an award last year.

Bradfield School are the only school to be taking two teams to the National Finals this year.

The school’s year 10 team, Project Bullet, have been part of the competition since September and took first place at January’s Regional Finals held in York.

Project Bullet receive their winners trophy at this years Regional Finals

All of Bradfield School’s GCSE Engineering students take part in the competition. However, once the Regional Finals have ended, successful students continue their involvement on an extra-curricular basis.

“Both teams have been here until six o’clock pretty much every night for the last month, they come in on their holidays as well which shows the determination of the teams,” Mr Booth said.

The final at the Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire, which takes place on Wednesday, will be broadcast live from the F1 in Schools Youtube channel.

The teams’ cars will travel at a speed of around 80kph and will be tested on a 20m track.

Teachers at the school will be tuning in throughout the day to give students the chance to see the action and support the teams.

Ahead of the next stage of the competition, Mr Booth said the students were feeling nervous but confident and praised the teams for their hard work.

A render of the car designed by Bradfield School team Steel Racing

Along with a place at the World Finals, the winning team will get to go to the 2017 Formula 1 British Grand Prix and visit a Formula 1 team factory.

Andrew Denford, Founder and Chairman of F1 in Schools said: “We know the Challenge ignites a passion for engineering, for business and for Formula 1, with the students really putting their classroom learning, and more, into producing outstanding work.”

“I can’t wait to find out who tops the leader board this year.”

Follow the teams on Twitter @ProjectBulletF1 and @SteelRacingUK

Fionnula Hainey

MA Print Journalism Student at the University of Sheffield. Originally from Rutland.