US team wins F1 in Schools world championship!

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Well what do you know! There are F1 fans and F1 winners in the US. The F1 in Schools program came to a finish this week in Singapore in a heated competition as reported by James Allen as the host of the event. The competition was attended by Kamui Kobayashi, Lucas di Grassi and Lotus Technical director Mike Gascoyne as a show of force and support from the F1 world. The event was sponsored by LG Electronics.

JA says it was the closest fought competition in the programs 10-year history and that’s fitting as the 2010 F1 season is shaping up to be a real cracker. The American team took the top step of the podium with Germany in third and a collaboration between Australia and the UAE in second.

The program was judge by veteran F1 designer Gary Anderson and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone even stopped by to witness the action. With support from the top ranks of F1, the program is a terrific way to bring students together to create and exciting product and compete at the world level. James describes the series best by saying:

F1 in Schools is a multi-disciplinary challenge in which teams of students aged 9 to 19 use CAD/CAM software to collaborate, design, analyse, manufacture, test, and then race miniature gas powered balsa wood F1 cars. It has the full backing of F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

The humorous part for me was Gary Anderson’s comments about the teams and how they argue their points on teh interpretation of the regulations in the series:

“I’m blown away by it,” said Anderson “The professionalism of the organizers, we’ve had a team of judges. The students and teachers are very professional, they sit the other side of the desk explaining why they’ve interpreted a certain rule a certain way– it’s like F1 backwards, I’ve been the other side of the desk arguing with the FIA!”

It seems to me that the actual racing is one thing but the real lesson being taught is how to argue with the FIA over regulation interpretations and it leaves me wondering which team showed up with a flexi-wing or movable floor or even the dreaded J-Damper? That’s just priceless to be honest. I suspect the F1 in Schools Motorsport Council will be hearing arguments leveled by Germany that the US team was using team orders as well as some sort of ride-height adjustment.

Let’s hope none of the teams purposefully crashed being the competition was in Singapore.

Congratulations to Team Unitus of the United States of America! And the rest of the world thought we just liked NASCAR…guffaw!

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