Published on 15/06/2021
F1 in Schools Aston University Birmingham West Midlands STEM


•     F1 in Schools Challenge now supported by Aston University engineering experts

•     Programme supports STEM subjects and will be invaluable resource for students

•     Aston University partnership will create support hub for West Midlands secondary schools

Engineering experts from Aston University are supporting secondary school students in the West Midlands to give them the skills they need to take part in a multi-disciplinary educational experience based around Formula 1 motor racing.

The highly acclaimed STEM programme, F1 in Schools, which has been running for 22 years, has teamed up this year with lecturers and technical staff from Aston University’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences to create a dedicated academy for young people in the region.

Spanning age ranges of 9 to 19, the aim of F1 in Schools is to help change the perceptions of science, technology, engineering and maths by creating a fun and exciting learning environment for young people to develop an informed view about careers in engineering, Formula 1, science, marketing and technology.

The Aston University outreach programme will allow secondary school aged pupils in the West Midlands to be supported with expert mentoring, design, manufacturing and testing of air powered cars. These will then be entered into regional, national and even world finals.

This new hub will provide students with access to equipment and a manufacturing resource for teams taking part in challenge. Student teams, with support from Aston University, will work on their project management and business plans, sponsorship, marketing, sketching, car design and analysis within their schools, and will then have the opportunity to access the CNC manufacturing equipment and 3D printing technology through planned visits to Aston University.

Students will also have the chance to use test equipment, such as the Air Trace Visualisation System and F1 Race Track, allowing them to test the speed and performance of their finished cars.

Patrick Geoghegan and Reece Lillie, co-coordinators of Aston University’s F1 in Schools Academy, said it was an exciting project to be working on.

Patrick, deputy programme director in biomedical engineering at Aston University, said: “F1 in Schools is a great initiative in developing interest in STEM subjects in kids at school. As a lecturer in engineering with a passion for motorsport I think this is a great thing to be involved in. It allows us at Aston University to engage with the community around us and support teachers in developing their students.

“Another key reason for Aston University to be involved is to use this opportunity to improve diversity in STEM subjects and motorsport. To truly change diversity in STEM requires a bottom up approach starting at the grassroots at a school level,” he added.

F1 In Schools Aston University Birmingham West Midlands

Reece Lillie, mechanical, biomedical and design technical team leader at Aston University, said: “We will be providing participating schools with support for all aspects of the challenge and helping to mentor local teams.”

Mark Wemyss-Holden, F1 in Schools’ UK national project manager, added: “It’s hugely exciting to welcome Aston University to the F1 in Schools family as a fully-equipped F1 in Schools Academy. With its reach and influence, we hope to be able to generate even more awareness for the competition in the West Midlands and beyond, as well as offer valuable support and mentoring for teachers and students through the Academy structure. Who knows, with a rich engineering history and a wealth of talent in the West Midlands, maybe Aston University can uncover and support the future UK and world champions?”

A launch event for teachers will be taking place at Aston University at the beginning of the new school year.

To find out more about taking part, visit the F1 in Schools website by clicking here.

Read more about the work of Aston University’s biomedical engineering here.

Notes to Editors

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long-established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.


Aston University was named University of the Year 2020 by The Guardian and the University’s full time MBA programme has been ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking. The Aston MBA has been ranked 12th in the UK and 85th in the world. The University also has TEF Gold status in the Teaching Excellence Framework. 


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About F1 in Schools

Andrew Denford, an entrepreneurial engineer working within the education sector, founded the F1 in Schools STEM Challenge in the UK in 2000. He implemented a STEM programme that uses the high profile, glamorous and high-tech world of fast cars and Formula 1 to engage and inspire students, introducing them to engineering in a compelling and unique educational competition. Today this world-leading global educational initiative operates in 48 countries worldwide. 

Researching, designing, making and racing an F1 car of the future is at its core. Teams then race each other head-to-head on the F1 in Schools 20 metre racetrack. The challenge can be used as an education tool or hook to engage students in STEM subjects. This gives students the opportunity to develop key skills such as communication, presenting and teamwork, while forming the foundation for any career path they choose to follow. 

The students assess their performance against other schools at a series of regional finals around the country. The best teams at each regional final compete at their National Finals and success at this level earns them a place at the World Finals. 

The world champions win scholarships for City, University London and UCL Engineering and the coveted Formula 1 F1 in Schools World Champions trophy.

 This Formula 1 supported global STEM programme is also a proven route to motorsport and automotive careers with former participants working in Formula 1 teams, engine manufacturers, sports agencies and many more allied companies.



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