UAE pupils compete in F1 in Schools contest
ABU DHABI // Pupils from across the UAE competed in the national finals of the F1 in Schools competition at Yas Marina Circuit on Monday.
Twenty school teams of young engineers lined up their racing car designs to qualify to attend the world championships in Singapore.
The international competition challenges teams of pupils to raise funds and manage budgets to build their own miniature Formula One car, using science, technology, engineering and maths skills.
Three schools were awarded in the professional category. Our Own High School Al Warq’a Dubai won first, Our Own English High School Al Ain earned second and Nord Anglia School Dubai placed third.
In the rookie category, Gems Wellington International School placed first, Gems World Academy Dubai second and Kings’ School Al Barsha in Dubai third.
The top two teams will represent the UAE next September in the championships in Singapore.
The event was held on a 20-metre indoor track at Yas Marina Circuit. The small, balsa wood cars sped along the track at speeds of up to 80 kilometres per hour. Racing in pairs, the cars typically reached the finish line in just over a second.
Zara Farooki, a Grade 7 student who was the youngest member of the Gems World Academy Dubai team, said the pupils were excited to take part.
“We didn’t expect that we were going to win any trophy,” the 12-year-old said. “We just wanted to participate, which makes us feel good, but we spent about a year on the project.”
Ralph Hott, from Kings School in Al Barsha in Dubai, said: “We started preparing for this event back in March and learnt a lot from the in-house experiments, and that of course helped us to obtain the third position.”
The cars are powered by carbon dioxide cartridges, and are attached to a track by a nylon wire. They are timed from the moment they are launched at the start of the track until they pass the finish line.
The programme has been held around the world for the past 10 years, and the UAE has hosted it since 2010, said Abdulla Al Shammari, Yas community manager of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management.
“We started with only 10 schools but now we have more than 150 schools of the UAE competing for this,” he said.
Students are taught about making and designing cars, learning how to work as a team, create designs and apply their physics and mathematics skills, Mr Al Shammari said.
Scott Johnson, head of design and technology at Kings School Al Barsha in Dubai, said that the programme helps pupils learn all aspects of the curriculum in one project.
“The students prepared for the moment for about a year and it teaches them plenty of things about engineering and business,” he said.
Updated: November 7, 2016 04:00 AM