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London to host 2009 F1 in Schools world championships 24 Apr 2009

F1 in Schools. Autosport Show, NEC, Birmingham, England, 12 January 2008 Andrew Denford, Founder and Chairman, F1 in Schools, addresses delegates at the Motor Sport Business Forum Middle East in Bahrain. © F1 in Schools Bernie Ecclestone (GBR) F1 Supremo with F1 in Schools winners and Andrew Denford (GBR) F1 In Schools (Right). Malaysian Grand Prix, Rd 2, Qualifying Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday 22 March 2008. World © Moy/Sutton

This year’s F1 in Schools world championships will be held in the United Kingdom, it was announced on Friday. Thirty competing teams from around the world will gather at London’s Royal Horticultural Halls and Conference Centre in September.

The annual event sees school children, aged 11 to 19, use CAD/CAM software to design, build and test a model balsa wood Formula One car of the future and aims to inspire students to consider engineering as a career. They compete for the ultimate prize, a scholarship to City University London and the prestigious Bernie Ecclestone trophy.

“With its unequivocal position as the centre of motorsport excellence, the selection of the UK as host country for the World Championship is a fitting tribute to the industry,” commented F1 in Schools founder, Andrew Denford. “We hope that we’ll be joined by many stars and personalities from Formula One and with many of our patrons having positions in UK-based teams we’re looking forward to involving them during our week-long programme.”

With three days of competition, the student teams will have to be well-prepared for the championships, developing their miniature race cars to be as quick as possible within tight technical regulations and using advanced engineering technologies similar to those found in the real world of Formula One racing. It is not just the car that will be judged by a panel of scrutineers, it is also the students, with each team member participating in a presentation about their team and its car.

For some participants, the world championships will be their first chance to meet some of their team members, as there are several collaborative squads made up of children from schools in different countries, who communicate via email and live conferencing. These collaborative teams include Australia and Canada, Scotland and China, and England and Singapore.

Last year the F1 in Schools world finals were held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where reigning champions ‘Pulse’, from Devonport High School in Plymouth, UK, were crowned. Since then Pulse team members have enjoyed further achievements thanks to their participation, with Andrew Lees even securing a work placement at the Renault Formula One team.

Denford predicts there will be another close fight for the title this year: “The current F1 in Schools Champions are from the UK, but I think the British teams will have a tough job to defend their title this year as the calibre of teams keeps getting better and better. In terms of the racing, we’ve seen the teams creep closer to the elusive one second time barrier that no team has yet achieved, perhaps it will be this year. Overall, the standard improves at each world championship and I’m sure we’ll see increased innovation, professionalism and creativity from the teams this year.”

The 2009 world championships get underway on Monday September 14 and culminate with an awards event on the evening of Thursday September 17.