ABU DHABI // Once the school year comes to an end, so too will the current line-up of the Safire Racing team, the F1 in Schools UAE national champions.
With two of the members heading off to university, this year’s World Finals competition, which ended yesterday at Ferrari World, has been a great experience for the pupils from Dubai’s German International School, despite the fact the team were knocked out of the competition.
While their car was well-designed, said 17-year-old Cara Bissada, the team’s resource manager, they were knocked out during the early morning and afternoon racing when confronted with some high-calibre competition.
“We were expecting those results because we know our car had some mistakes. When we saw the competition we could see what we were dealing with,” she said.
“Everything was on a very high level, which is very great, because it will help us get some ideas and experience.”
On the third and final day of the international competition, which was attended by about 100 schoolchildren in 33 teams from 25 nations, a team of about 20 judges whittled down competitors until there were only two – Australia’s Cold Fusion and BobCAD Blazing Arrow, from Canada.
Just before 4pm, the crowds gathered as the finalists prepared for the last race of the year.
In just more than two seconds, both cars had raced to the end of the short track, and Cold Fusion. a six-pupil team – including two girls – from Brighton Secondary School in Adelaide were crowned world champions.
Pushing the boundaries while staying within the regulations ensured Cold Fusion won the title, said 17-year-old Thomas Agars, the team’s innovations manager. “We have pushed the car to the limits,” he said.
The winning team were happy with the quality of the opposition, said the pupil, who has been competing in F1 in Schools for five years. “We wanted to compete against the best and become the best,” said Thomas.
F1 in Schools, which was designed with the aim of promoting Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects to children, opens doors for those who take part, he added.
For Cara, the school’s first participation in the initiative has set a precedent for younger pupils. “There are a lot of people who are interested,” she said.
As for the car? "We will keep it as a souvenir, as a memory," she said.