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Speed and sustainability the drivers as Westminster pupils taste F1 success
9 July 2024

Zephyr Racing, a team of six Lower Shell pupils, took part in F1 in Schools UK, the first Westminster pupils to enter this hard-fought STEM competition.

Not just a UK school STEM competition, F1 in Schools is a significant global event, drawing tens of thousands of participants from around the world. Competitors design, manufacture, and race miniature F1 cars, but the competition extends far beyond the racetrack, with tasks to test engineering, project management, and teamwork.

Zephyr Racing’s journey began when Eason (BB) , the future team leader, discovered F1 in Schools while researching Formula 1. Given the team’s close friendship and shared interest in STEM, Eason proposed participating in the competition.

In F1 in Schools, only 20% of the points come from the actual race – the rest are awarded for a ten-minute verbal presentation, a pit display, and two comprehensive portfolios covering design and engineering, as well as enterprise aspects such as sponsorship, project management, and sustainability.

Undeterred by this broad range of requirements the team began their preparations early, with each team member having a specific task. Krishna (HH) researched aerodynamics and sought sponsors, Micky (CC) focused on design and testing using industry-level software, and Emir (CC) contributed innovative design and assisted with manufacturing, with support from Hooke technician Mr Philip Wright. Alongside this, Vincent (CC) built a website and organised the portfolios, while Hewei (DD) managed social media and launched the Project Zephyr fundraising initiative, promoting the motto, “Racing for a Greener Future” – a nod to the sustainable values at the heart of the team.

After a few hectic weeks drafting portfolios, negotiating with sponsors, finalising car designs, and planning their pit display, Zephyr Racing headed to the regional finals in Bristol. The day progressed smoothly, and the pit display received high praise with judges impressed by the portfolio work and presentation. The result was victory in the South-West regionals – a stunning result for a novice team. This was followed by the national finals, where Zephyr Racing placed 13th out of 32 teams.

Aerodynamics Specialist Krishna said: “Being part of Zephyr Racing has been an exhilarating experience, which has blended my passions for engineering and marketing. The adrenaline rush of the competition coupled with the camaraderie within our team made every late night and brainstorming session worth it – I’m very glad to have been a part of it, and look forward to next year’s competition, in a team which I know has the capacity to win.”

Resource Manager Vincent, said: “F1 in Schools was and will continue to be an amazing experience. I really enjoyed getting to grips with various aspects of graphic design and web development that have since opened my eyes to new careers and perspectives. Working in such a tight-knit team has taught me to work collaboratively in ways that I have hardly done before. Next year, I look forward to learning even more new things and destroying the competition at the national finals – after all, what is a failure but something to learn from?”

You can learn more about Zephyr Racing on their website or Instagram.

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