Inaugural Saint Kentigern Team Embarks on F1 in Schools Challenge

June 01, 2023 at 4:51 PM

As Term 1 came to a close, a team of Saint Kentigern students travelled to Sydney, Australia to take part in the F1 in Schools Australian National Final. The team, consisting of Year 13 students Oliver Long, Aimee Watson, Karya Atalag, Isaac Lindroos, Lachlan Wallace and Josh Evangelidakis, were excited to take up the challenge as the first ever Saint Kentigern team.

An internationally recognised competition, F1 in Schools combines elements of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics to challenge students to design and develop a ‘mini’ Formula One team.  The students create a car, a marketing and finance strategy and an immersive trade display to present at the National Finals each year.

From October of 2022, the students worked together to complete every aspect of this elaborate competition, utilizing their strengths and teamwork skills to create a result they could be proud of. An added challenge was navigating the absence of suitable machinery and resources, as the state-of-the-art technology often used in this competition was not available in New Zealand. Nonetheless, the team rallied together and made the journey to Sydney in late March.

The first day of the competition revolved around the setup of the trade display. This structure acted as a ‘home base’ for the team and exhibited their project to guests, judges and other teams. In just two hours the team had to construct their entire trade display, or else they faced penalties.

There was also a meticulous scrutineering process, where each team had their car examined by a judge to ensure it complied with the strict regulations. The team incurred a few minor time penalties, but they were cleared to race. Scrutineering days also consisted of verbal presentations about their team and its journey to a panel of judges, and a discussion with judges at their trade display.

On Wednesday, it was finally time to get into the racing. The teams gathered along a ten-meter track to watch their competitors go head to head. SKC Team “Kiwiono” began with drag racing based on the raw pace of their car. After winning their first race, the team unfortunately had some damage to their car but carried on. Their acceleration was impressive but was not enough to land them a place in the top ten of the competition.

On the second racing day, reaction time was tested. Karya Atalag was tasked with pushing the trigger after the five lights went out, and the team was proud of her speed and reflexes. They continued to show some impressive times and had an exciting day of racing.

In the end, Kiwiono qualified 17th at the Nationals, and were offered a place to represent New Zealand at the F1 in Schools World Finals held in Singapore in September. While the team will not be attending, they have continued to develop the programme back in New Zealand, offering mentoring and support to two junior teams who will be competing next year. Dr Michael Myers from the REA Foundation, who oversee the Australian Competition, travelled to Saint Kentigern to speak to the junior students and discuss a New Zealand branch of F1 in Schools with the College. Through this collaboration the Year 13 students hope to establish a New Zealand competition, inspiring students across the country to take part in STEM within the exciting world of motorsport.

We look forward to seeing the progress made by our Year 13’s and the junior teams, as they prepare to compete in Australia next year.

Written by Aimee Watson

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