Colossus F1, alongside two Bloodhound Class teams; Ignition and Venom, travelled from Robert May's School up to the NEC in Birmingham, in order to compete in the National F1 in Schools Final. The Bloodhound teams competed first and did exceptionally well, with Ignition and Venom placing second and third respectively. We sure had a lot to live up to!
On the first day of the F1 class competition, we had the dreaded verbal presentation. Only ten minutes long but followed by a searching Q&A session, this is, without a doubt, the most feared part of the competition. We scored 175/180, which was the highest score achieved by any of the 30 competing teams and so, this earned us our first piece of silverware.
The second day was far more emotional and stressful. Our car was out first out on the track and the air temperature was down. Even with rock solid trigger starts, provided by the honed and perfectly coiffed Charlie Flynn, the car came in tenth place. We had worked for over a year on this car but our results did not reflect this. The design went through more than twenty modifications. It was tested in wind tunnels, on the track and through accurate computation fluid dynamic simulation. Much of the year had been spent working with sponsors and supporters such as Autodesk and Chichester University. These wonderfully supportive people had put their trust and time into us and these slow car times were not in our remit or strategy. A few hours later were the knockout rounds. The air had warmed up and the top 16 cars were on the track together. The reaction training by Chichester University had obviously paid off and after 4 intense races, Colossus F1 beat the fastest ranked car and therefore picked up their second piece of silverware. The team were back on top with the fastest car in town.
Disaster comes when you are not expecting it. Waiting back at their pit area was the chief judge, tournament organiser and chief scrutineer. Colossus F1’s car had been measured and checked against the hundred or so regulations and it had broken one of them. The car was too low to the ground by 0.4mm. This may not seem much, the equivalent to the thickness four sheets of paper, nor is any time advantage gained. However, the rule had been broken. The next few hours were a blur as judges and supporters all tried to come up with valid reasons for an appeal or work-around but there were none.
At the end of the two days, the awards ceremony went ahead and despite having amassed the most points, we placed second to a deserving team because of our critical rule break. Together with our Knock-out trophy, Verbal Presentation trophy, British Science Association Crest Awards and by placing second, we were invited to represent England in Abu Dhabi at the 2014 World Finals!