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F1 in Schools World Finals underway in Singapore 20 Sep 2010

F1 in Schools teams enjoy the opening ceremony and lunch, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore, 19 September 2010. © F1 in Schools F1 in Schools teams arrive for the opening ceremony and lunch, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore, 19 September 2010. © F1 in Schools F1 in Schools teams enjoy a ride on the Singapore Flyer, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore, 19 September 2010. © F1 in Schools F1 in Schools teams enjoy a ride on the Singapore Flyer, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore, 19 September 2010. © F1 in Schools

The F1 in Schools World Finals kicked off on Sunday in Singapore with a welcome breakfast, gift exchange lunch and a ride on the Singapore Flyer for all the teams. With 25 teams from 18 countries competing to be 2010's world champions, there was nervous tension in the air, as they prepared for the first day of competition.

The F1 in Schools educational initiative, which is supported by LG, challenges students to use software to design, build and race a miniature Formula One car made from balsa wood and powered by a single compressed air cylinder.

British High Commissioner in Singapore, Paul Madden, opened the event at Ngee Ann Polytechnic Centre. Madden greeted the students, saying: “Welcome to this fantastic and interesting city of Singapore. It is a meeting place of many Asian cultures: Chinese, Malay and Indian, as well as being home to a diverse community from all over the world.

“It also has one of the most dynamic economies and a big part of that success story is the emphasis it puts on science and engineering, through the facilities of educational institutions like Ngee Ann Polytechnic. I hope you will have a great time in Singapore and enjoy the competition.”

Madden joined the principal of Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Mr Chia Mia Chiang, and F1 in Schools Founder and Chairman, Andrew Denford, for a ‘flag off’ race to mark the opening of the 2010 World Finals.

"Ngee Ann is very proud to stage the F1 in Schools World Finals which is here in Singapore for the very first time,” said principal Chiang. “This competition has proven to be a most effective and engaging platform to inspire students to discover engineering and experience the pulsating excitement of F1."

Denford added, “We have received a very warm welcome to Singapore and thank Ngee Ann Polytechnic for hosting and looking after us. With over 200 students gathered for this event, all with the goal of being crowned world champions, I know it is an exciting time for you all and I’m sure you are eager to start racing. I hope you all enjoy this unique experience and savour your time in Singapore.”

Also in attendance was Formula One car designer and engineer Gary Anderson, who will chair the judging panel. “F1 in Schools is so similar to the real thing in so many ways, from the teamwork to the build and development process of the car and this experience will be very valuable to you in your future careers,” he said.

“You will go through the same highs and lows that an F1 team has, and there really is no difference with your race for victory as there is for the teams racing in this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix. I just wish I had been given the opportunity that you have when I was at school, as it is a great start to your future career. I would like to wish you all the best of luck and may the best team win.”

Gingerbread cookies, Irish leprechauns, specially minted coins, and a donation to a school affected by the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake were among the gifts exchanged by the student participants at the lively lunch.

Following the opening ceremony, the competition started, with student teams racing and presenting their portfolios. It will continue on Monday and Tuesday, before culminating in an awards ceremony at the Conrad Centennial Hotel on Wednesday.

For further information on F1 in Schools visit www.F1inSchools.com.