Let the Competition Begin: F1 in Schools – Luke Battjes

F1 in Schools is an international STEM competition held across over 40 countries where students manage pseudo formula one teams. Students are required to develop a team brand, acquire sponsorships, design and produce a model F1 car which races down a 20m track. The competition goes through a series of stages starting from the state level before progressing to nationals and finally to the world finals.

I have competed at 3 different world final events, my first in 2016 where my team and I set the record for the fastest car and came second overall. The following year, I returned as a supporting member and finished second overall, before returning a third time in 2018 and achieving the world record for the fastest car without a LERS device and becoming the 2018 world champions. 

What makes F1 in Schools great for students is that it provides an environment that encourages students to apply the knowledge they’ve learned at school to a real life application. This motivates students to dive deeper into subjects of interests as they can see immediate results of the materials they’ve learned. Through the competition I was able to learn about and develop skills in areas which typically aren’t taught until university. I also developed my skills in areas such as public speaking, graphics design and in writing engineering documentation and reports.

F1 in Schools also introduced me to a wide range of individuals including F1 engineers and team bosses such as Totto Wolf, Adrien Newy and Christian Horner. As well as CEOs in varying industries such as printing, graphics designing, project management and engineering. This enabled me and other members of the team to gain insight into different industries and develop professional connections with potential future employers.

As a result of the competition I was able to travel to other countries such as the United States and Singapore to compete and represent Australia. Through this, I was exposed to various traditions and cultures. The funds for the trips were covered by sponsors supporting the students on the team thus enabling individuals from a wide range of backgrounds to compete. The trip typically lasts two weeks, one week of competition and a weekend at the F1 Grand Prix.

It’s not all easy, the competition does require a huge time and energy commitment because you need to work with the team to engineer a fast and legal car. Much time was spent on two A3 10 page portfolios, a 10 minute verbal presentation, a large pit display and preparing for numerous interviews and discussions to back up your work. Despite the heavy workload, with hard work and perseverance the competition is extremely rewarding.

About Luke:  I am in my third year of my double degree of a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, majoring in Mechatronics and a Bachelor of Mathematical and Computer Science, majoring in Computer Science. I have always been passionate about engineering, especially when it comes to motorsport and I always love a good challenge. Fun fact, I was born and raised in the United States of America and moved to Australia in 2011.

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