The Australian National Final was an amazing success. We were awarded Best Engineered CAD, Best Manufactured, Best Engineered Design, Best Verbal Presentation, and the Innovation Award. To our surprise, we also won the entire National Final, earning us the title of the F1 in Schools Australian National Champions!
We will be representing Australia at the F1 in Schools International Final, which will be held in December at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
You can watch the first and second days of judging, as well as the awards presentation on YouTube. You can also watch an overview of Thrust Vector’s involvement in the competition here in a video one of our sponsors created.
We flew down to Melbourne from Sydney on Sunday the 10th of March. We drove to our accommodation and performed a test setup of our display. We also scrutinised the cars before we were to check in the following day. In doing so we found that our front wings were too high, and one of the front axles was not aligned properly. We stayed up until midnight fixing those problems.
The next day, we checked into the event, which was just submitting our cars for official scrutineering and receiving information about the event.
Day three was the setup of the Trade Display. After we handed in our portfolios, we had two hours to unpack, build, and finish the display. After a few problems with finding the power supply for the monitor, the setup was perfectly smooth.
The judging and racing commenced on day four. We began with our automatic racing, in which we won all our races.
We then had our CAM interview. In this, we discussed with the judges all our manufacturing techniques. This went really well. The judges were very impressed, and Michael Myers OAM, the founder of f1 in Schools Australia, who was filming the CAM interview for the competition organisers, heard what we were talking about and came and sat down to listen to our CAM interview.
We also had our CAD interview, which we feel also went very well, but it was a little harder to see past the CAD judges’ poker faces.
On day five, we had our marketing interview and our verbal presentation.
The marketing interview was brief, but the response from the judges was good. Our verbal presentation received an amazing reaction from the judges, even though they were not supposed to give us feedback. It was well worth the (very) late nights writing and memorising our lines, and spending most of the time when we weren’t being judged or racing practising.
We also had reaction racing and knockout racing, both of which went really well.
Day six was the visit to the Formula One Australian Grand Prix, and the Awards Presentation.
At the Grand Prix, we watched most of the practice sessions and walked around the track. We looked at all of the garages that were set up for the GT3 racing, as well as some of the stands that car manufacturers had set up.
Through the F1 in Schools program, we were given access to VIP passes for a short amount of time so we could have a look around the paddock, between the pits and the caravans. During that, we saw and met people like Clare Williams, Mark Webber, Dameon Hill, and Christian Horner.
The awards presentation felt so long because all we wanted to know was if we got a podium placing and they announced that last. Not only that, but they announced 3rd place (which wasn’t us), then second place (which also wasn’t us). It came down to one of those ‘all or nothing’ moments when they announced first place.
Overall it was such an amazing experience. We are thankful that it doesn’t stop here, and we can go and represent our country!