The F1 in schools is the largest STEM competition in the world. The competition has over 40 competing countries each with 150 teams. After becoming the English champions at the UK nationals, team Sixth Degree was invited to compete in the 2016 World Finals held in Austin, Texas in October. Over the next 6 months we worked very diligently to gain sponsorship from companies such as, Airbus, Urenco and Nissan. The brief was to design a 1:20 scale F1 car able to race down a 20m track while being in regulation of a 75-page rule book and market our team in a professional manner: contacting companies, producing advertisements and beautiful graphics.
We arrived in Texas on the 14th of October after a long 18-hour flight. We got settled and all passed out in bed ready for the upcoming competition. The next day was submission, we were all incredibly nervous as we submitted all our work from the 6 months building up to the event. After some minor issues, we managed to get everything in on time ready for the competition over the next 3 days.
On Saturday, everyone was invited to the Capitol building. We got to learn about Texan culture and meet other teams over a traditional Texan BBQ. It was fascinating talking to people from all around the world and the team has made some great friends.
The competition itself has many different aspects, there is time-trial racing, reaction racing, knockout racing, design presentation, enterprise presentation scrutineering and project presentation. We had very little free time as every minute was spent practising for the upcoming judging sessions, by the end of the 4 days of competition we were shattered.
However, all this hard work, stress and lack of sleep paid off as we placed 5th in the world. Once the competition had ended we went to the USGP at the Circuit of the Americas. We were lucky enough to be given pit lane tours from Sahara Force India and paddock passes where we met Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso! It was an amazing weekend of racing even though most of us came back sunburnt.
Once the Grand Prix was over, it was time to go home. We have had an amazing experience and one that has changed our lives for the better. I have learnt a huge amount about teamwork, design, sponsorship, leadership and business. We have networked with loads of people and are in great positions for the future. My fellow team member, James, and I are now convinced that Formula 1 is the career we want to be in and have both applied for engineering at university.