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Paddock Postcard from Singapore

20 Sep 2015

As always, the Marina Bay Street Circuit proved a huge draw to fans and famous names alike over the 2015 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix weekend, though it was F1 action of a slightly different kind that garnered the early headlines with the annual F1 in Schools World Finals.

The global education initiative challenges students to create their own Formula One team and design, construct and race the fastest miniature F1 ‘Car of the Future’ - a 21cm long scale model built from a modelling block and powered by a compressed air cylinder. The cars race on a 20m track, most covering the distance in around one second.

This year’s event saw Union Racing International make history as they became the first collaboration team - representing Germany and USA - to be crowned F1 in Schools World Champions 2015. They also put their names in the record books as they took the track record under the one-second mark for the first time, their car recording a best of 0.959 seconds in its fastest race.

Comprised of six 15-18 year-old boys from Alexander-von-Humboldt Gymnasium, Greifswald in Germany and Lexington High School, Massachusetts in the USA, Union Racing International triumphed over 46 other teams to collect the coveted Bernie Ecclestone trophy, plus City University London and University College London Engineering scholarships and a VIP paddock tour at this weekend’s Grand Prix.

The familiar faces in that paddock included, from the racing world, world champions Sir Jackie Stewart and Jacques Villeneuve, Paul di Resta, Karun Chandhok, motorcycle legend Mick Doohan and 1987 F3 ‘Rat Pack’ members Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert, steward Martin Donnelly and Perry McCarthy.

Singapore’s now traditional race weekend music concerts were fronted by Spandau Ballet, Maroon 5 and Bon Jovi, while Pharrell Williams also paid a visit to the pit lane, catching up with some old friends including world champion - and budding musician - Lewis Hamilton.

And ‘performing’ on a different kind of stage were some of Hamilton’s driving colleagues, as the Singapore edition of the Amber Lounge charity fashion event saw a number of F1 stars take to the catwalk. Among the ‘supermodels’ were Lotus’s Carmen Jorda and Jolyon Palmer, Ferrari’s Esteban Gutierrez, Marussia’s Fabio Leimer and McLaren protege and GP2 Series leader Stoffel Vandoorne.