F1 in Schools is a global multi-disciplinary challenge, officially supported by F1 racing, in which teams of students aged 9 to 19 deploy CAD/CAM software to collaborate, design, analyse, manufacture, test, and then race miniature compressed air powered balsa wood F1 cars. Heats and national championships take place in many countries culminating in the 2015 world finals in Singapore. The skills involved for the students mirror those needed for a real life F1 race team and the miniature cars cover the 20 metre track in little over 1 second. The world record is currently held by an English school team at 1.003 seconds!

Capturing these races on film is a challenge in itself and for that the AV organisers, Bromley based Idium Audio Visual called on Newbury based Cache Media to supply Marshall CV500-M-2 mini HD cameras which are positioned at either end of the track. Even in 1080i HD the cars are only a blur to the naked eye but the computer scoreboard is able to accurately measure both speed of reaction of the ‘driver’ and the time over the set distance down to 1/1000 of a second.

The races are screened live within the venue so that everyone can watch and also streamed live around the world on the internet. Idium Director Jon Fagg explained: “ The appeal of the CV500-M-2 cameras is their size and the quality of the picture. High quality HD pictures can be captured without sacrificing space on the track which is vital for our purposes. We tried several cameras but the CV500-M-2 came out top.”

Teams must raise sponsorship and manage budgets to fund research, travel and accommodation. The challenge inspires students to use IT to learn about physics, aerodynamics, design, manufacture, branding, graphics, sponsorship, marketing, leadership/teamwork, media skills and financial strategy, and apply them in a practical, imaginative, competitive and exciting way.

Photo: The race track with camera_OR_0115_smls in place