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F1 in Schools zoom to success with innovative 2020 UK National Finals event


For the first time in the 20-year history of F1 in Schools National Finals events, teams vying to become National Champions were unable to compete together at a live event. F1 in Schools however, were determined not to shatter the dreams of so many students and created an exciting livestreamed finals to meet the demands of the new environment we are all living in. With the 34 teams racing live and over 5000 students watching online Britannia Red from Robert May’s School, Odiham, Hampshire, took the 2020 F1 in Schools National Champions crown in a thrilling climax to this year’s competition.

In March 2020 this leading global STEM challenge, had completed its 12 UK Regional Finals and was set for an April UK F1 in Schools National Finals live event with 34 teams competing for the coveted UK Champions title and university scholarships. As with so many events, the finals had to be postponed, with lockdown, school closures and social distancing three major challenges to making it happen at all this year.

F1 in Schools were determined that the students could see the fruition of their hard work, but had to take a different approach to replace their annual 2-day live event. An innovative hybrid event was created, combining live racing with video presentations, written submissions and distanced car scrutineering, all assessed remotely by a panel of expert judges.

The highly professional livestreamed event was hosted by Tom Deacon, from Formula 1’s Esports series, with Georgina Edwards, an alumni of the competition as pundit, and Sophie Harker, an aerodynamics and performance engineer at BAE Systems and winner of the IET’s Young Women Engineer of the Year Award 2018, providing expert car analysis.

The trio of presenters presided over the racing, ensuring all the teams could watch the performance of their cars on the F1 in Schools race track. The track action was accompanied by video conference team interviews and messages of support from F1 drivers. Lenovo UK provided the technical infrastructure to enable the event which culminated in a livestreamed awards presentation with the hosts announcing category winners and the top three podium winners.

Andrew Denford, Founder and Chairman, F1 in Schools, said of this F1 in Schools UK 2020 competition, “It’s been a roller coaster of a year for all the teams. They wanted to complete their journey and compete nationally, with many having spent quite a few years participating and desperately wanting to win a place in the World Finals, so we wanted to make it happen. Today’s event was a very accomplished ‘plan B’ and although the teams couldn’t all be together, they were able to compete and share in the excitement of the competition.

“I congratulate all the teams for their perseverance and resilience. Today has proved that they can overcome the challenges that they are faced with and succeed. I’m sure all the students have bright futures ahead of them, I know they will all have learnt so many skills from F1 in Schools that will benefit them in their careers ahead.”

Britannia Red, with team members: Amelia Dorward, 15, Ted Hodgson, 16, Zach Taylor 16, Abi Bessant 15, Caoimhe Thomas, 15, and Callum Green, 15, celebrated their victory with confetti, albeit on their own at school and not on the top step of the podium with all the teams celebrating. They will receive the receive the impressive National Champions trophy a visit to a future FORMULA 1 BRITISH GRAND PRIX courtesy of Silverstone with an F1 team garage tour and exclusive behind the scenes paddock tour courtesy of Formula 1, as well as winning an F1 team factory tour and valuable UCL Mechanical Engineering bursaries. On route to overall victory Britannia Red also won the Best Engineered Car Award.

Team Manager, Amelia says of winning, “It’s fantastic that we took the National Champions title, but it was very different to be competing at an event that we couldn’t attend. We’ve been used to sitting round a table to share ideas and work together, but we’ve had lots of online meetings, and lockdown actually gave us more time to work on F1 in Schools. We’re all really passionate about it, so we’ve really enjoyed doing the competition, it’s very rewarding, opening up lots of opportunities, for example, presenting to sponsors, as well as enriching our lives – although it’s pretty stressful too”.

The F1 in Schools National Finals events are usually one of the biggest live celebrations of the UK’s young STEM talent, drawing together teams from across the UK who have won through from regional finals. The teams compete in a two-day event, with over 500 students showcasing their miniature Formula 1 cars. Not only do the students have to design, build and test a fast car, they also need to demonstrate their engineering understanding with a verbal presentation to a judging panel of industry experts, present their work with a pit display and portfolio and have their model car scrutineered to meet with strict rules and regulations.

The F1 in Schools National Finals 2020 took place with the support of Formula 1, Denford, the IET, Lenovo, Autodesk, the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation, UCL Engineering, FIA Women in Motorsport Schools Week and FE Week.


Full results of The F1 in Schools UK National Finals 2020:


Professional Class
UK National Champions Supported by LenovoBritannia Red, Robert May’s School
2nd Place Supported by IETElectron, St. Olave’s Grammar School
3rd Place Supported by IETEclipse, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School
Scotland Champions Supported by EIMGenesis, Linlithgow Academy
Wales Champions Supported by EIMNemesis Inferno, Pencoed Comprehensive School
Fastest Car Supported by DenfordAquila Racing, Aylsham High School
Best Engineered Car Supported by AutodeskBritannia Red, Robert May’s School
Research & Development  Supported by LenovoAquila Racing, Aylsham High School
Presentation  AwardBritannia Red, Robert May’s School
Portfolio  Supported by PMIEFGenesis, Linlithgow Academy
Pit Display  Supported by GratnellsEclipse, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School
Sponsorship & Marketing Supported by NissanSlidesports Entity, Hanson School
Team Identity  Supported by Technology SuppliesOptimum Racing, Whitley Bay High School
Digital Media  Supported by ID PRNemesis Inferno, Pencoed Comprehensive School
Development Class
National Champions Supported by LenovoIQ, North London Collegiate
2nd Place Supported by IETNova Racing, Kimbolton School
3rd Place Supported by IETDynamic Racing, Monifieth High School
Fastest Car Supported by DenfordIQ, North London Collegiate
Best Engineered Car Supported by AutodeskNova Racing, Kimbolton School
Research & Development  Supported by LenovoPeregrine Racing, Broughton High School
Sponsorship & Marketing Supported by NissanEMERUS, Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys
Team Identity  Supported by Technology SuppliesSuffraJETS, Whitley Bay High School
Presentation  AwardIQ, North London Collegiate
Pit Display  Supported by GratnellsBLACKOUT, St John’s College Cardiff
Portfolio  Supported by PMIEFDynamic Racing, Monifieth High School
Digital Media  Supported by ID PRCHSPEED, Cheadle Hulme School
Judges Choice Supported by DenfordEnhance Racing by McL&H, Linlithgow Academy


About F1 in Schools

Andrew Denford, an entrepreneurial engineer working within the education sector, founded the F1 in Schools STEM Challenge in the UK in 2000. He implemented a STEM programme that uses the high profile, glamorous and high-tech world of fast cars and Formula 1 to engage and inspire students, introducing them to engineering in a compelling and unique educational competition. Today this world-leading global educational initiative operates in 48 countries worldwide.

Researching, designing, making and racing an F1 car of the future is at its core. Teams then race each other head-to-head on the F1 in Schools 20 metre racetrack. The challenge can be used as an education tool or hook to engage students in STEM subjects. This gives students the opportunity to develop key skills such as communication, presenting and teamwork, while forming the foundation for any career path they choose to follow.

The students assess their performance against other schools at a series of regional finals around the country. The best teams at each regional final compete at their National Finals and success at this level earns them a place at the World Finals.

The world champions win scholarships for City, University London and UCL Engineering and the coveted Formula 1 F1 in Schools World Champions trophy.

This Formula 1 supported global STEM programme is also a proven route to motorsport and automotive careers with former participants working in Formula 1 teams, engine manufacturers, sports agencies and many more allied companies.

For further information about F1 in Schools visit www.F1inSchools.co.uk and follow us on social media.

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