Teens rev up for F1 in Schools State Finals in Mackay

03 November 2021

Queensland's brightest young minds took to the track to compete in the F1 in Schools STEM Challenge at the CQUniversity Mackay Ooralea campus on Thursday' 18 October 2021.

The F1 in Schools STEM Challenge is the world's foremost student competition for science' technology' engineering' and mathematics (STEM)' which instils skills in physics' aerodynamics' design' and manufacturing' as well as marketing and leadership skills.

Mimicking the world of a Formula One (F1) team' groups of students are provided with access to real-world technology to collaborate' design' analyse' manufacture' test' and then race miniature compressed air powered cars made from F1 model blocks.

This years' Queensland state finals saw 84 high school students experience life in the fast lane as they presented and raced the model cars they designed for the competition.

CQUniversity Mackay Campus Coordinator Leanne Williams said more than half of the teams who participated were from the Mackay region' with Mechanico from Mackay North State High School and Syphons from Holy Spirit College claiming victory.

"It's great to see so many teams from Mackay make it through to the state finals'" Ms Williams said.

"Local teams Mechanico and Syphons will be heading to the national finals next year in Melbourne."

Ms Williams said CQUni is honoured to be supporting an event that promotes STEM and encourages teens to learn such a wide variety of skills.

"The competition attracts students who otherwise may not have been exposed to STEM learning.

"This competition teaches cross-disciplinary thinking' which is valuable for students in recognising how STEM skills might be used in the 'real world' beyond school' plus it's a lot of fun."

The Mackay Christian College team' Lotus' took home the Best Engineering of a Car category at the regional competition and third place in the development class at the state finals.

Team Manager Cruise Mason has been competing for two years and said he loves racing the model cars and the tough competition. While fellow teammates Kaitlin Swadling and Syah Catlin said the best part of the competition for them was working together as a team and meeting the other participants.

Hailing from the Gold Coast' the Gambit Racing team agreed that one of the challenging parts of the competition was seeking sponsorship.

Natasha Prince who is the Graphic Designer for the team said they learned how to use Photoshop and gained new computer skills.

"The best part of the competition was teamwork and comparing our work to the other teams. It also helped with our leadership skills." Miss Prince stated.

Each year' more than 17 000 schools in 51 nations are involved in the F1 in Schools STEM Challenge' with approximately 22 000 students in Australia taking on the challenge of developing the world's fastest miniature F1 car each year.

F1 in Schools was introduced by the not-for-profit social enterprise' Re-Engineering Australia Foundation' in 2000 by engineer Dr Michael Myers OAM.