Our Engineering apprentices, Tiro Racing, have arrived at Kuala Lumpur airport Malaysia for the F1 in Schools 2017 World Finals (24th-27th September)! Before they left we caught up with team member and PR Manager, Hugh Barker, for a last minute Q&A.
How are the last minute preparations going?
Preparation is good! Everyone is very excited about the competition and with that comes a drive to perform well. Obviously, as it’s almost time to leave, we’ve been dedicating significant amounts of time towards finishing the car, printing portfolios etc. The display is coming along well and looks smart. We’ve been sticking to our plans so the mood is fairly relaxed at the minute, but we all know what happens a few days before the start, all plans go out the window.
In terms of recent sponsors, we have added a few to our programme. The current support comes from: National Physical Laboratory, Rolls-Royce, GlaxoSmithKline, Imperial College, Siemens, Cicero, SMB Bearings, TXM Recruit, Russell Finex, EPLAN and of course Kingston College.
What’s the biggest challenge for you at the moment?
As we are apprentices for different companies, it has been a struggle to get us all together at once. Fortunately, social media has been our saviour. We can exchange documents and ideas no matter where we are in the country.
What will make your car stand out from the rest (technically/visually)?
We’ve been pulling together all our resources and have had some really successful tests. A few radical changes performed well in the wind tunnel so they’ve been incorporated into the design. Visually, we have more sponsors, more colour and a controversial new design.
What does it mean to your team to be representing your country?
Obviously, it’s a pleasure and an honour. We all have a real passion for engineering, so to get this recognition is a real achievement and everyone is raring to get going.
Has anything gone wrong or have you had any setbacks?
We managed to break a machining cutter in our router machine which has set us back a week when we were at the height of our manufacturing process. Other than that, all our small problems have been an easy fix - it’s great when you have six innovative engineers in a team as most problems are solved in minutes.
What are your hopes for the WF?
Our ultimate ambition is to be the first British team to break the 1 second barrier, but we all know that’s going to be tricky. We would go home very happy if we were to pick up an award during our time in Malaysia.
Are you staying for the GP? Which driver(s) do you support?
Definitely! Both Matt and Josh are big McLaren fans and our hoping for a good weekend from the British team. Hugh has a real passion for Renault and more specifically is a huge Jolyon Palmer fanboy. You can always count on him wearing his Renault hat on a Sunday race day. George, Toby and Alisha aren’t attached to a single team, but just love watching fast cars push the limits of speed and reliability.
Did you take a break over the summer?
No! Our summer has mainly been spent on developing the car and display. With regular trips to the College we were able to make use of the resources and begin manufacturing potential car designs months ago.
We were given the opportunity to take part in F1 Live London. This was the first ever fan event to be held before a race, and we were right in the thick of it. Nearly all the drivers were there, with a select few current and past F1 cars. We got the opportunity to show off our display and race the car in front of large crowds.
The following weekend we all got to visit Silverstone for the Saturday Qualifying. As well as this we were treated to a tour of the Haas team garage and met many of the drivers personally.