Thursday, 2 November 2017

F1 in Schools World Finals report from Tiro Racing team...

We were delighted to support Tiro Racing on their way to this year's F1 in Schools World Finals & so, so pleased & proud when they placed 7th overall out of 52 and bagged the very prestigious Mclaren Honda Research & development award.  

Josh (Tiro's team manager) emailed us & says:
"... just wanted to say such a huge thank you to yourself and SMB Bearings for how you've helped the team.  All the test bearings really made a huge difference to the performance of the car and because we were able to document amount of testing we had done, the judges were really impressed and this one of the main reasons for our R&D award. Aside from that, the technical advice has been so useful and we've learnt a lot about bearings!  Finally, thank you for being so approachable and open. Interacting with sponsors sometimes can be difficult, and you made us feel relaxed and proud to wear the SMB logo :)"   

Thanks so much Josh & all at Tiro Racing, your enthusiasm & dedication has been a real inspiration to us & we've been thrilled to be a part of your F1 in Schools journey 😍

The team has been so proactive at keeping in touch with us, despite being busy with a world-class competition & their own lives, & they haven't disappointed on their return home, check out this amazing in-depth report they've just sent us!! If you've ever wondered what it's like to compete on the world stage in the F1IS then the following report is a must-read inspiration:  

After finding out we would be representing England at the World Finals in March, 25 weeks of preparation stood between us at the flight to Malaysia. With a fresh set of regulations, ideas and the daunting task of getting an exhibition display 7000 miles across the world, there were many challenges facing us to be ready for the World Finals. After days (and many late nights) of testing, attending events, visiting collaborators and in college (where we were usually eventually kicked out by security), the Finals were upon us and we were (just about) ready to take the World on.

After a hectic final night at college packing and arranging all the items we’d be taking with us, we all arrived at London Heathrow for a bright and bleary 6am.  As we had strategically decided to bring all our resources, including the display with us on the plane as luggage, rather than freight, it did take some time to ‘distribute Tiro’ among all the bags. We were also in transit with two 55” TV monitors, which were to be the centrepiece of the display, and it was so important these reached Malaysia in one piece, so no expense was spared on their bubble and shrink wrapping.  After a rather overwhelmed check-in attendant had successfully put through the Tiro army and our bags, we boarded the impressive Airbus A380 and began our 18 hour trip to Kuala Lumpur via Dubai. Everyone had their own coping mechanisms for the seemingly endless flights whether it’d be sleeping through or binging off the inflight entertainment...  As we had a few competition elements that needed finishing off and finalising before submission, as soon as we had access to our rooms in KL, work began. 

With just 2 days before the Worlds commenced, display items had to be assembled, verbal presentation rehearsed and the race cars ready for parc ferme submission. Hotel rooms
soon became unrecognisable, showers were spraying booths and after barely being able to leave the hotel since arrival, finally everything was completed ready with official registration coming up the next day.

Up next was the all important submission of our portfolios and race cars. Weighing in at 50.1g, the cars were 0.1g on the right side of the absolute minimum weight and decided not to play with fire to
try and shred off anymore weight. We also got word that with 52 competing teams, this would be the biggest World Finals ever in the 14 year history of F1iS.
The following evening consisted of the most stressful 2 hours of the trip, the display build. Teams were given an empty shell and a couple hours to fully construct their exhibition displays, under the watchful eye of an army of judges. Our display was fairly straightforward, primarily consisting of cardboard (cheap, easy to shape/flatpack) and of course the large monitors. Despite the pressure cooker like environment, the display was assembled within time and this was so rewarding to see that after months of planning and thought, the display came together as something to be really proud

With the display assembled and cars submitted, the World Finals were underway. After taking some time to nose around at other teams, it was clear how tough the competition would be. These were the top 52 teams in the world and they all wanted the crown of World Champions.
Thankfully, after the difficult past few days, we had a fairly straightforward opening day to settle into the competition environment and start to get to know other teams. First up was our eagerly anticipated first round of racing, running our World Finals car for the first time against the Czech Republic Champions, Miracle Engineers.  After the first edition with running we weren't best
pleased with the our performance as Matt (designated driver) hadn’t managed to quite find those killer reaction times. But as it seemed the track was progressively getting faster over the day, we
were optimistic for racing on the 2nd day. To conclude the day was our Enterprise Judging
where the corresponding portfolio would be judged along with our pit display and sponsorship/marketing activities. This area had so far been strong for and a confident
performance in the judging made us all feel much more at ease after the first day.

The second day of competition was much more action-packed than the first, with multiple crucial judging sessions right after one another. First up was Design & Engineering Judging. 

As we were targeting an engineering award, it was so important that we got across the volume
and detail of testing gone into our car. Matt worked his magic with his obsessive love for everything test related to lead the session and after pushing the judges into running our slot overtime, we were extremely confident for a strong engineering score. Next up was the Scrutineering Review to find out how compliant the race cars were with the regulations. Typically easy points can easily be dropped in scrutineering and this was something we desperately wanted to avoid.
However, unfortunately this wasn’t the case. Despite having a 100% compliant design, as the rear of our cars unexpectedly tipped with an inserted canister, we inevitably dropped points for rule breaks involving wing heights, wheel contact and track clearance.

Despite knowing that compliance points were lost and feeling a bit disappointed , there was
no time to feel downhearted as up next was vital verbal presentation. At the UK National
Final, we had lost out of the top spot because of a poor verbal and with much more practise
and preparation this time, were determined not to let the past repeat itself.

After a quick change into our ‘formal’ uniform and a nail-biting 15 minute wait to be seen by the judges it was time. For 10 minutes everyone spoke passionately about
their job role, what made us special as a team and how F1iS has impacted us. The following Q&A session was much more relaxed giving us the opportunity to really get across the uniqueness as a team of apprentices. After the judging was complete, we all felt hugely relieved and proud of each
other for delivering and smooth and confident presentation.

The final event of the day was our 2nd session of racing, against the Australian National
Champions, Golden Diversity. We needed some strong track and reaction times to pull us
up the leader board so the heart rates were elevated. From the first few runs it appeared the car speed was there, significantly improving other the previous day to reach inside the top 10 for pure speed. Now all we needed was a good reaction. So keeping us all on the edge, Matt pulled it out of the bag
with one of the fastest reaction times of the day, on the last run with a 0.154 seconds to pull us inside the top 10 in overall racing.  Phew…!

Our final judging element came on the third day in the form of the surprise ‘Pressure Challenge’. Teams were posed with coming up with alternative safety features/systems for an F1 car in place of the controversial new Halo design. We were required to produce a CAD model of our solution and video explaining its features and operation, all within 2 hours. We came up with an innovative and original design consisting of a honeycomb structure that would enclose the whole driver cockpit. However as network and technical issues affected all teams, everyone struggled to complete their design to the fullest, so the challenge was voided afterwards. It was a shame, but an invaluable experience needing to think creatively under such pressure.

After 4 days of intense competition and over a year of preparation, it was time for the glamorous Awards Celebration Gala. With over 700 people in attendance and many from the world of
Formula 1 it was a huge night, and one lucky team were going to be crowded World Champions.
With 22 awards on offer, we were desperate for at least 1. Due to setbacks in car performance and compliance we knew a trip to the podium would be unlikely but had a our eyes set of a top 10
finish. As the night went on with fantastically sculpted trophies made by F1 teams, being awarded to deserved winners we started to become increasingly nervous. And with 4 awards remaining (and 3 of those for the podium sitters), Sky Sports F1 presenter David Croft, came onto the coveted Research and Development Award supported by McLaren Honda. As he read through the 3 nominations, Tiro Racing from England, was announced as we all knew, we were in with a good shout. After an
agonising pause (which was really 5 seconds) we were announced the winners!!

Tiro Racing team collecting their awards last month at the F1 in Schools World Finals
All six of us were absolutely ecstatic and elated with not only receiving an award but one carrying prestige from one of the most iconic teams on the grid. The trophy itself is a thing of engineering beauty, a bespoke crafted aluminium piece with carbon fibre engrave depicting the
McLaren logo with a mirror finish.  Caught up in our excitement the rest of the ceremony passed in a blur with Hyperdrive from Melbourne, Australia being announced as very worthy winners, our congratulations to them.

Later on in the evening, during the display breakdown the official final placings were
announced where we discovered we had placed 7th overall out of 52. This is such an enormous achievement seeing as F1 in Schools didn’t even exist at Kingston College not much more than a year ago. We had beaten some of the toughest countries in the world including German, Australian
and Great Britain National Champs so to say we’re proud of our accomplishments is a
huge understatement. Exhausted and elated we went off to celebrate and catch up on a lot of sleep.

Thanks to F1 in Schools’ wonderful relationship with Formula 1, all competitors were lucky enough to receive a guided track tour of Sepang International Circuit (something money just can’t buy) and exclusive access to the pit lane before the GP weekend.
To add to that, as our R&D award was supported by McLaren Honda we were invited into the garage to gain unprecedented access to the team operation for a GP weekend and it car itself. With a few massive F1 fans in the team, this experience was once-in-a-lifetime and mind-blowing being so close to some of the most technological advanced machines in history. As avid supporters of the
competition McLaren were welcoming and generous in showing us around their temporary
home for the weekend. Additionally, being a British based team we will also get the
opportunity to have a guided factory tour of the McLaren Technology Centre, Woking.
As this was the last ever Malaysian GP, it promised to be an exciting one. With great
grandstand seats we had a fantastic view of the action for Qualifying and the Race.
On qualifying day, courtesy to F1 in Schools we were given VIP paddock passes to get a look at what
goes on behind the scenes during a racing session. 

And so after the Grand Prix, we packed our items, boarded the plane and our amazing trip
was over. The whole experience had been absolutely incredible filled with memories that would last a lifetime for us all, from spray painting the cars in the hotel showers, assembling
the display with seconds to spare to that proud feeling after finishing the presentation and of course
receiving our award. We had met so many people from around the world to share the experience with and being around others who all understand what reaching the World Finals took, made it even sweeter.
But of course, last but nowhere near least is our brilliant, supportive amazing sponsors. We literally couldn't have achieved and experienced what we have if it wasn't for them. Whether the help came in the form of finances, materials, components, advice or support everything had huge impact on our capability to perform to the best of our ability in Malaysia. 

In terms of our future, the investment our
sponsors have made have allowed each one of us to gain such a range of transferable skills
that we can take into our apprenticeships and better our career. Thank you so much to every sponsor, fan or follower. Your support since the founding of Tiro has been amazing and we are unbelievable grateful for everything.

Written by Joshua Schofield
Team Manager


A final note to all at Tiro Racing - if you're this inspirational now then we can't wait to see what you all get up to next!!

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