Formula 1 in schools - towards a golden future in F1
The F1 in schools (F1iS) project – probably the biggest and the most successful school sports and STEM Educational program in the world – is coming to its annual finale this summer. I will have a special series covering some of the most promising teams that can make a mark in the coming years and learn how, at such a young age, they are able to tackle the complex concepts of motion physics and bring forward something extraordinary. In this first issue of the series, I will talk about Xenith Racing, of the most experienced and consistently top-ranked teams from the United Arab Emirates.
Xenith Racing has been a part of the F1iS project for over four years, gaining experience and knowledge over the period. Xenith has qualified twice for the National Finals held at the Yas Marina Grand Prix Circuit, Abu Dhabi each year. However, it wasn’t until this year that Xenith qualified for the World Finals – the final round of the competition – scheduled to be held in September in Singapore, as an tandem event with the Singapore Grand Prix.
Support from F1
Xenith Racing has now become the United Arab Emirates Representatives at the global event. F1iS is supported by the Formula One™ community – in particular Mr Ecclestone at FOM and also the Formula One™ teams welcome students in the F1™ paddock and in their factories.
The team consists of six, passionate and talented youngsters between the ages of 15 and 17. 16 years. Run as a mini-enterprise, the team is divided into various departments, including Car Designing and Manufacturing, Finance, Marketing, Resource Management and Graphic Designing, typical of F1 in Schools teams.
Finance Manager Tanish Jain says, “The F1 in Schools project is a multi-disciplinary challenge which involves a lot of components. We must deploy CAD/CAM software to collaborate, design, analyse, manufacture, test, and then race miniature compressed air powered balsa wood F1 cars. Not only does this challenge inspire us to learn about physics, aerodynamics and designing, it also helps us to learn important business skills as the team is just like running a small business. For instance, we need to look to for sponsors to finance the team.
For this, we have to talk to and meet various companies, create sponsorship proposals and presentations, and draft sponsorship contracts. Xenith has also hosted fundraiser events in the school, and is currently running an online fundraising event on Indiegogo to raise funds for the event.” Unsurprisingly, hours of dedication and hard work are put into realising the project. Many major companies have taken the step forward to give these teams high visibility financial support as the project receives much attention from students, schools and industry experts alike.
Team work is important
On being asked about what the F1iS journey has helped him thus far, Manufacturing Engineer Atree Ghosh says, “Growth is the only word I can think of in terms of what the F1 in Schools journey has done for me so far. The kind of exposure that students receive through this project is truly unmatched by any other”. “F1iS has transformed our knowledge about new technological innovations and the functioning of the business world”, chimes Tanish.
Team management is another important aspect of the project, with each team member running different departments. The way each of these departments work together and collaborate to create the final product is largely responsible for determining the success of the team.
The team has faced a tough journey, braving challenges along the way. But this is not the end. The most testing part is yet to be faced at the F1 in Schools World Finals in Singapore this September which will see the best teams from over 40 countries compete for the World Champions title. “Thousands of hours of hard work have been put into this project. But holding the World Champions trophy at the end of this will make every second worth it”, beams Tanish confidently.