26 September 11

Australia Wins 2011 F1 in Schools World Finals in Malaysia!

A team of teenagers from Brooks High School in Tasmania are the new world champions of the biggest science and technology competition on the planet, having received the Bernie Ecclestone Trophy at a glittering event in Malaysia tonight.

The F1 in Schools Technology Challenge involves 17,000 schools in 31 countries and tasks students with mastering space age engineering and manufacturing technologies to design and make miniature F1 cars capable of more than 80 KM/h. The program raises the awareness of innovation-type career paths and is run in Australia by not for profit organisation, Re-Engineering Australia Foundation.

Calling themselves the Pentagliders, the three boys and a girl have been presented with the solid glass trophy (during the playing of the Australian national anthem), scholarships to City University in London to study engineering, and tomorrow they will meet F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone before being the guests of F1 teams at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Pentagliders scored maximum points across 11 criteria including car design, speed, innovation, technical portfolio, verbal presentation, pit display, marketing and collaboration with industry.

The Tasmanians had the fastest car of the three day finals event, with a track time of 1.084 seconds, and received the Fastest Car Award from the Petronas Mercedes GP Sporting Director. They won the Best Engineered Design Award, sponsored by the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, making it the sixth time in seven world finals that Australia has won this category.

The Pentagliders were finalists for the Research & Development Award and succeeded in beating the English team to win the Ashes - a replica of the urn from international cricket which is filled with the ashes of past Australian and English mini F1 cars. In the process, female team member Amy had a reaction time of just 0.010 seconds which is the fastest recorded at any world final! The reaction time is electronically measured when the "driver" presses a slot car-like hand controller to send their F1 car down the track.

Earlier this year the Pentagliders won the Australian national finals and some of the students were promised careers in industry well before their end of year exams.

Another Australian team, Trident Racing, from Sebastopol College in Ballarat won the Collaboration Award - sponsored by Team Lotus - and was a finalist for the Sportsmanship Award. They paired up with an all girls school from Singapore to develop their car. Last year the same school produced the Australian national champions who went on to finish fifth at the world finals.

The third team of young Aussies was Trans Tasman Racing - a collaboration between Mirani State High School in northern Queensland and New Zealand's first-ever F1 team, from Auckland Grammar School.

This was the sixth time in seven years that Australian students have stood on the podium at the F1 in Schools World Finals. At the inaugural event in 2005 Team Australia came third...in 2006 they were world champions...second and third in 2008...second, third and fourth in 2009...second and fifth in 2010...and now world champions again.

Which goes to show that Australian students are the smartest in the world

F1 in Schools Technology Challenge is run in Australia by not for profit organisation Re-Engineering Australia Foundation Ltd. which was launched in 1998 to promote engineering and related career paths to young Australians. REA was responsible for introducing it to New Zealand. The program introduces students as young as 11 to industry standard 3D engineering design and testing software as well as computer controlled manufacturing technology. Its hands-on approach, mentoring format and accessibility to potential employers has resulted in many students taking up challenging careers.

National sponsor: Defence Materiel Organisation
Participation Sponsors : Victorian Government
Technology partner: Cisco Webex

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