Blue Mountains Grammar School team third in F1 In Schools national final

From left, Clutch Control team Finnian O’Connor, Rohan Grant-Dawes, Peter Young, Balint Boda and William Hedges, with their teacher, Michael Laws.
From left, Clutch Control team Finnian O’Connor, Rohan Grant-Dawes, Peter Young, Balint Boda and William Hedges, with their teacher, Michael Laws.

A team of innovative young designers from Blue Mountains Grammar School came third in the F1 in Schools National Finals held in Launceston in March.

Year 10 Design and Technology students Finnian O’Connor, Rohan Grant-Dawes, Peter Young, Balint Boda and William Hedges also won awards for best verbal presentation and innovation.

Their team, called Clutch Control, developed two F1 model cars in 2017, successfully winning through to the regional and state finals to earn their place in the national finals.

F1 in Schools is the world’s largest school Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) competition and requires students to design, build and race a miniature F1 car. It “challenges and inspires students to learn about physics, aerodynamics, design, manufacture, graphics, marketing, leadership and teamwork, media skills and financial strategy”.

Clutch Control started the three-day competition with engineering and marketing presentations before the cars hit the track.

The second day included an engineering interview and verbal presentation before the cars were back on the track.  At the end of the reaction time racing, Grammar was placed fifth in the 11-team field.

A bonus points knockout tournament rounded out the second day of competition. Clutch Control fixed a front wing alignment issue, which transformed their car into the fastest in the class. The adjustments catapulted the team into the final race series.

Winning the knock-out round secured one of the awards, but it was not until the final day of competition that the team learned the value of their bonus points, when they were awarded third place overall. 

Technology teacher Michael Laws, who was team co-ordinator, said he was “extremely proud” of the students.

“The way they worked together to overcome adversity was impressive, as were the innovative solutions they developed for the project elements. They have earned this fantastic result and their futures are very bright.”

The national championship team this year was Ignite Racing from Haileybury (VIC), with another Victorian team, Perspective from Brighton Secondary School, finishing second. The national competition was held from March 5-9.