F1 in Schools Competition

Paul Cumner and Chris McLennan, both previously at Robert May’s School, recently took part in the judging team for the National Final of the F1 in Schools Competition held at Silverstone. The main objective of the competition is to help change the perceptions of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) for 9 – 19 year olds by creating a fun and exciting learning environment for them to develop an informed view about careers in engineering, Formula One, science, marketing and technology. F1 in Schools is a global programme in which teams of students use CAD/CAM software to collaborate, design, analyse, manufacture, test and then race miniature compressed air powered balsa wood F1 cars.

Both Paul and Chris competed in the initiative when they were at school, with Paul finishing in the world champion team in the 2014 competition in Abu Dhabi and Chris reaching the world final competition in Singapore in 2015 with his team placed 6th in the world. Following the amazing experience of competing, both boys volunteered to help with the judging of the UK National finals this year, gaining invaluable experience using their engineering skills, making industry contacts and mentoring younger students to learn STEM in a stimulating environment.

Their judging duties included interviewing the teams about their designs and concepts for the cars and how they would market the product in addition to assessing the technical aspects of construction like the aero-dynamics and accuracy in manufacture. The judges agreed that one of the three teams from Robert May’s School should be the winners and represent the UK at the world finals to be held in Texas in the autumn.

Chris said that the competition and judging was ‘hands down the best experience I have ever had at school and College, and the most enjoyable opportunity to meet engineering industry contacts which will be beneficial to my future career ambitions.’

Paul said he would ‘definitely encourage students to take part in the competition and volunteering to help judge was a thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile experience.’

Both Chris and Paul are hoping to volunteer again next year to judge at the competition before going to the University of Southampton to study Aeronautical Engineering.

Find out more about studying Engineering at Alton College here