Are you ready to design, build and race? F1 in Schools is a competition, open to all secondary schools, to design and manufacture compressed air-powered racing cars.
Student teams compete against each other in Regional and National Finals of an annual Championship to determine the best-engineered and fastest car in Ireland.
Competitors will have an exciting educational experience, expressing their creativity, skills and teamworking ability in a fun and positive way.
Imagine building a 1/20th-scale F1 racing car capable of travelling at over 110km/hr – using advanced 3D design software, automated manufacturing technology ... and some bright ideas from you and your team mates.
F1 in Schools is a unique technology challenge that enables second-level students to get their hands on the latest technology from the worlds of technology, engineering and manufacturing. Here are the six main steps:
Team mates, bright ideas ... and research
You've got your mates together in a team. You've decided which roles each team member will take ... Now it's time to gather your bright ideas into a five-page plan.
View past team's portfolios from previous F1 in Schools championships from around the world online and use the exemplar five page plans on this website (available in Resources) to act as a guide for putting your own plan together. The Rules & Regulations (also available in Resources) gives full details on the Qualifying Stage.
Remember: if you want to get ahead of your competitors ... Innovation is the key! The next few steps will also help you with using CAD for your plan.
Your design and 3D CAD software
Congratulations! You have passed the Qualifying Stage – now it's time to put your bright ideas to work.
Your technology teacher should be able to help you investigate the aerodynamics of racing car design, and view past teams' portfolios from previous F1 in Schools championships from Ireland here.
About CAD (Computer Aided Design) Software
Teams use CAD software to develop their ideas and model them in 3D.
You will need to spend some time exploring the software to see what it can do to help you design your F1 car.
Investigate your F1 car's aerodynamics
You've designed your car. You think it's pretty hot. But how will it perform? Engineers need to worry about two main aerodynamic factors:
- Drag: Your car will move faster if its shape minimises the resistance of the air to its forward movement.
- Lift: Things that move quickly tend to 'take off'. You're not building an airplane, so you'll want your car's shape to minimise this natural effect.
Computational Fluid Dynamics
Aerodynamics are analysed for drag coefficiency in a virtual wind tunnel using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).
From car design to car construction
Now that you've aerodynamically refined your car design, it's time to transform it into an actual, physical car. This is a two-step process:
- CAD to CAM: You convert your CAD file into a CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing) file that can be read by a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) system.
- UGSNX, Pro/ENGINEER and other CAM software programs prepare CAD designs for automated manufacturing processes by enabling toolpaths to be plotted over complex 3D shapes.
- CAM to CNC: The CNC system shapes the balsa wood block into a physical car based on the design specifications in the supplied CAM file.
As teams are unlikely to have a CNC system at home or at school, several universities and third-level colleges have agreed to make their facilities available as Make Centres for F1 in Schools teams. F1 in Schools will pair you with your nearest Make Centre.
Testing, testing... one, two, three
In addition to creating your F1 car, your Make Centre may have wind and/or smoke tunnels to help you enhance your car's performance to find those extra thousandths of a second for race day.
At this stage team members add the final touches: finishing the car with a high quality paint in the team colour scheme and decorating it with any sponsorship decals or advertising.
Teams must produce a portfolio of supporting evidence for their work. This includes their initial ideas, the design development process, a specification sheet, a 1st angle orthographic projection and a graphic rendering of their final design. Teams must also prepare a verbal presentation on their work.
Race day is getting near ...
Time to go head-to-head
Today is the day when all those weeks of work pay off. Race day has arrived. But the F1 in Schools championship is about more than head-to-head racing at 110km/hr.
Teams are evaluated using multiple criteria, you are expected to perform several activities including displays of portfolios and verbal presentations.
You'll have had an exciting educational experience, expressing your creativity, skills and teamworking ability in a fun and positive way.
Finally: some pictures of F1 in Schools events from our collection on pix.ie.
F1 in Schools is a global, multi-disciplinary competition, open to all secondary schools, that challenges secondary school students to design, build and race miniature compressed air powered balsa wood Formula 1 cars of the future. Student teams will compete against each other in a National Championship to determine the best-engineered and fastest car in Ireland.
Competitors will have an exciting educational experience, expressing their creativity, skills and team-working ability in a fun and positive way.
The F1 in Schools Technology Challenge is part of an international competition with Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone as patron.