Formula One drives into India's schools

Students from all over India can now test their academic knowledge on a racetrack. Twelve years after its launch in the UK, the Formula One School Programme has come to India, where school and college students from 12 to 19 years will build an F1 scale-model and test it on a 20-metre track. The aim is to help students understand the requirements of the corporate world and use their academic knowledge in a real life situation.

The right formula
¬†Students will be required to use CAD/CAM software to design, test and build a scale-model F1 car from a block of balsa wood, and race it in a competition. “The competition challenges students to apply their academic knowledge and apply it to solve real life problems,” says Aditya Tangri, in-country coordinator for F1 in Schools in India. Participating students will need to find sponsors, design the car, devise a marketing strategy, promote themselves on various social media platforms, present their cars to a panel of judges and finally, test it on a 20-metre track.

Lewis Hamilton with a school participant

Each student has to take responsibility, and a role is assigned accordingly in the team. “We want them to understand what they really want to do in life. One may excel in Mathematics, but does he/she have the aptitude to be an engineer? He could be the team manager, resources manager, manufacturing manager, graphics designer or design engineer,” explains Tangri.

Two schools from Mumbai, Poddar Education Network and Bal Bharti (Navi Mumbai) have already registered for the programme. For schools to participate, they must become a member of the franchise; memberships are accepted only if the school meets its requirements.

All in the game
Participants are divided into three categories — junior, intermediate and senior, and will compete at zonal and national levels. The national winners of the intermediate and senior levels will also participate in the international competition. The organisers will provide these students with technical training including how to design a car using CAD/CAM, and each car design has to be approved by its team of experts, before it appears in the competition.

“If a car fails to meet the safety and other standards, it’s sent back for re-designing,” says Tangri. Students must pay a competition fee of `5,000 (per head); a maximum of six students can be form a team. These students will get between 80-90 days to design their car.

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