At F1® in Schools we recognise that we are living in an age in which our planet is under unprecedented threat. With that, the significance of Earth Day becomes more pronounced with every passing year. The world warms, plastic pollutes, and CO2 emissions continue. And 2023 is no exception to the trend.
However, since the foundation of Earth Day in 1972, April 22nd serves as an annual reminder of the role and responsibility we hold – as individuals and organisations – to enact change. And this year’s UN-designated theme, “Invest In Our Planet”, is particularly apt.
Highlighting the importance of dedicating our time, resources, and energy to solving climate change, it reminds us that we have the power to not only protect what we have, but to make things better.
And nothing gives us more hope for the future than seeing the commitment, passion, and talent of our students – the drive they have to find solutions and deliver new ways of thinking. It’s what makes them so incredible at engineering the model F1® cars on which our challenge is built. But it’s also what makes them so inspiring as the next generation of engineers, innovators, and pioneers.
With sustainable thinking forming part of the judging criteria for F1 in Schools since 2021, recent entries have seen some truly astounding propositions for designing and manufacturing in harmony with the earth and its resources.
Featured in video: Tanwen at the Lenovo UK 2022 F1® in Schools National Finals.
Take, for example, team Tanwen’s commitment to growing eco-friendly, rapidly renewable bamboo from which they can make their car’s axle. Or the pit display demonstration by Primary Class competitors Leaf featuring concrete slabs which generated electricity when stepped on. Or team K Wings' use of plant-based resin and sustainable polyacetal in their car’s wings and wheels. Or Kinnaree Racing's innovative creation of filament made from car exhaust carbon and recycled plastic. And, of course, there is also the innumerable teams incorporating carbon offsetting considerations into their proposals; diligently planting the volume of trees needed to neutralise their attendance at an in-person event, as well as students investigating zero-waste manufacturing, and up-cycling possibilities for excess materials.
Some ideas are big. Some are small.
But we are continuously amazed by the way our young people think – and what it could mean for our planet.
Featured in image: Kinnaree Racing's car, winners of the Formula 1® Sustainability Award at the 2022 Aramco F1® in Schools World Finals.