At the recently concluded F1 in Schools India Virtual National Championship event, Team Blaze was first runner-up and won the prestigious Women in Motorsports award along with winning the Pressure Challenge award. A humongous 79 teams from across India competed after qualifying through regional events and were aiming for a place in the top 3 to become part of Team India.
Team Blaze consists of four girls, Freya Thakral, Amaira Anand, Jasmeh Dang and Tamara Chadwick. With a combined average age of 12, these girls outshone teams of students who were often six years older than them. They were nominated for six awards out of which they won two and qualified for the world finals as 1st runner-up.
In one of the most hotly contested national events in F1 in Schools India’s history, teams came up with some amazing car models and produced fantastic portfolios and even a virtual pit booth. They took part in gruelling presentations highlighting the culmination of a year-long campaign. The girls produced one of the best cars in the competition and even launched an app called Blaze Race. They were endorsed by Mr Suresh Raina, Ms Hema Malini and even Sir Philip Robert Barton KCMG OBE, the British High Commissioner to India.
"Girls are often not encouraged to take part in such competitions which are male-dominated. We encountered only three all-girls teams in the competition. Our goal was to raise the profile of Girls in STEM(Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) across India and hopefully encourage more girls to take part in such events" said Freya Thakral, Design Engineer of Team Blaze and recent Diana Award winner.
She further highlighted the challenges encountered; “One of the biggest challenges is sponsorship and often companies aren’t interested in sponsoring young teams in competitions such as these. Another is access to quality manufacturing and testing facilities so we really need to work with the systems we have access to at school and seek collaboration with industry where possible”
“Indian educational system still lacks R&D and it’s a very nascent stage for F1 in Schools India. We are planning to collaborate with the government in promoting this competition to other small cities” said Mr YashRaj Singh, In-Country chief of F1 in Schools, India.
Team Blaze now aims to become the first Indian team to win an award at the World Finals and aims to put up a strong challenge for the F1 in Schools World Championship next year.
F1 in Schools is an international STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) competition for school children (aged 9-19), in which groups of 3-6 students have to design and manufacture a miniature "car" using CAD/CAM design tools. The competition allows children to innovate and work collaboratively to produce the best car possible. They build brand associations, raise funds, display prudent financial and time management and market themselves and their sponsors through creative campaigns.