Big dream for little F1

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 March, 2008, 12:00am

A group of South Island School students are under starter's orders to take on the world in a test of speed and marketing skills next week.

The six boys, aged 12 to 17, are taking part in the finals of the F1 in Schools competition in Malaysia, where they will be fighting over full scholarships to study automobile and motor sports engineering at City University London.

Their balsa wood models will be racing down a 20-metre track at the same time as the full-size machines are battling it out in the Petronas Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix.

Their 55-gram jet-propelled vehicle, powered by a tiny canister of CO{-2} {-,} was designed by the team's youngest member, Year Eight student Jonathan Ku. 'Our inspiration for the design was a swordfish, because although it is strange looking it is very aerodynamic,' he said.

The team has raised HK$124,000 in sponsorship to fund the project, including their costs for the trip.

'The really interesting thing about this contest is it's not just about vehicle design. It's a great experience that involves a complete business plan and securing of corporate sponsorship,' said design and technology teacher William Hughes-Caley. 'We hope that more schools in Hong Kong will get involved next year.'