National success for Kerry teams in F1 in Schools engineering competition

Students from St Brigid’s Presentation are celebrating this week after winning several awards in the national F1 in Schools engineering competition. 

The competition, which encourages the practical application of STEM subjects by getting teams to design scale-model racing cars.  

Close to 60 teams from schools all over Ireland entered competition with the final broadcast live on TG4 Sunday.  

It was the first time that St Brigid’s entered F1 in Schools and the two teams representing the Lower New St school each took home trophies after a nearly a year of assessment and on-line presentations.  

“I think I speak for us all when I say that we’re all a little sad that our F1 in Schools journey has come to an end. We had gotten to know our own teammates better and the other teams over the past few months. The F1 in Schools competition had given us so much, from amazing learning experiences to exciting memories with our friends that we will never forget,” student Ilona Sheehan.

“We’ve learned lots about physics, engineering, marketing and many other areas you wouldn’t even realise relate to cars and had an amazing time overall. We’ve also had some great opportunities such as speaking on Radio Kerry and working with the likes of Nicci Daly, founder of Formula Female which aims to increase awareness and participation of females in motorsport. If anyone has any idea of taking part in the future I’d tell them 100% go for it. The trials and trivia of it all was one of the highlights of my Transition Year.”

Other awards which were given out over the weekend, via F1 in Schools YouTube channel, and prior to the main television event and the two Killarney were nominated in several categories.  

Team Mario Cart members Meadhbh Bennett, Kate Donoghue, Alanna Brady and Abbie Daly were nominated in three categories: ‘Best verbal presentation’, ‘Women in Engineering’ and were declared the national winners in the  ‘Best Communicators’ section following an impressive round of online presentations and interviews.  

“We are delighted to have finished our first year as competitors in the Formula 1 in Schools competition. Hopefully, we will get the opportunity to compete in this international competition again in the next two years as now we have a better understanding of what is involved and what work we have to do.’ Meadhbh Bennett told Kerry Motorsport News.

Team Vroom, made up of: Ilona Sheehan, Kayla Byrne, Ella Galvin and Grace Daly were also nominated in the ‘Best Communicators’ category and won the overall  ‘Women in Engineering’ competition. They also placed tenth in the overall competition.  

“The weekend was a rollercoaster to put it simply. From the excitement of watching our car progress to the third round of the knockout cup , to seeing out car being beaten, our hearts were racing,” added Ilona.

“I think the races were more tense as we knew we were up, whereas with the awards you didn’t find out you were nominated until seconds before the winner was announced so you were shocked either ways. However, when we found out we had received the ‘Women in Engineering’ award, we started jumping around our sitting rooms. It meant so much to us that all our hard work over the past few months was being recognised. It was also a great way to end our F1 in Schools 2021 season.”

 Team Vroom attracted backing from Formula Female, a national organisation set up by International Hockey star and motorsport data engineer Nicci Daly to encourage more women to forge careers in motorsport.  

“It is fantastic, I am so happy and proud of them,” she said.

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