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Irish team crowned F1 in Schools champions 18 Sep 2009

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren with the winning Irish team. F1 in Schools World Championships 2009, London, England, 17 September 2009. © Ebrey/ F1 in Schools The F1 in Schools contenders. F1 in Schools World Championships 2009, Royal Horticultural Halls, London, England, 17 September 2009. © Ebrey/ F1 in Schools The F1 in Schools competing teams. F1 in Schools World Championships 2009, Royal Horticultural Halls, London, England, 17 September 2009. © Ebrey/ F1 in Schools Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren tries his hand at racing one of the competing vehicles. F1 in Schools World Championships 2009, Royal Horticultural Halls, London, England, 17 September 2009. © Ebrey/ F1 in Schools Andrew Denford (GBR) Chairman and founder of the F1 in Schools Challenge. F1 in Schools World Championships 2009, London, England, 17 September 2009. © Ebrey/ F1 in Schools

The Koni Kats team from David’s Secondary School in Greystones, County Wicklow took the top honours at the fifth F1 in Schools technology challenge world championships held in London on Thursday. The global challenge 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.

At a glittering awards ceremony attended by McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton and a host of VIP guests, the talented students from Ireland were presented with the Bernie Ecclestone World Championship Trophy and coveted Automotive and Motorsport Engineering scholarships to City University London. They will also be given an exclusive tour of the McLaren Technology Centre on Friday.

“I’ve really enjoyed meeting the students and finding out more about this exciting global initiative,” said Hamilton. “The global popularity and high-tech world of Formula One provides a very exciting and engaging platform for education and it is great to see it being used within schools to enthuse students to study engineering, as well as the other key school subjects.

"I hope F1 in Schools encourages a new generation of students into Formula One and helps to continue to develop the sport as one of the most technologically advanced in the world.”

Thirty-one teams from 20 countries were vying for the title, but the Koni Kats were judged to have the winning entry. As well as the championship, team members Conor Daly, Eoin O'Connell, Sean Cleary and Adam Gammell, also won awards for the best presentation and the best engineered car.

“We’re over the moon,” said team manager O’Connell. “We’ve been working for two years on this, so we are thrilled to have all our efforts recognised with this achievement. It’s very special to have won this, we just can’t believe it. I think the work we put into our design and our attention to detail in this, looking at every element from the front wing to the rear fins, has brought us this victory, as well as our strong teamwork.”

Andrew Denford, founder of F1 in Schools added, “The fifth annual F1 in School world championships has been a great success. Each year we see the standards of entrants’ rise, with the students using some very advanced engineering technology and amazing ingenuity to produce their racing cars.

"The popularity of Formula One is a significant factor in the appeal of the F1 in Schools programme. Many of the students are avid supporters of the sport, so they felt very privileged to meet Lewis Hamilton and we are very grateful for the time he gave to them today, looking at their cars and learning more about this initiative.”

The fastest car award, supported by Brawn GP, was won by Redline Racing from Trinity Christian School, Canberra, Australia. The team's model clocked a time of 1.055 seconds in the time trials.

Other winners included Team Racere Nanyang Girls High School, Singapore, who won the outstanding sportsmanship award and AC Racing, a team comprised of both Canadian and Australian pupils, which won the best collaboration award.