Irish team to tear up track at F1 Schools World Championships

17 Sep 2009

The Koni Kats, the team representing Ireland at the F1 School World Championships in London, will this week compete against 30 countries seeking supremacy in the fast-track world of the knowledge economy.

In April 2008, Koni Kats fended off competition from all over Ireland and claimed the title of national champions in the not-for-profit secondary schools technology competition, F1 in Schools, organised by the Irish Computer Society in partnership with Discover Science Engineering.

F1 in Schools is a global competition that challenges students to design, build and race model Formula 1 cars powered by compressed air canisters.

The 2008 Irish champions, team Koni Kats from St David’s Secondary School in Greystones, are now representing Ireland at the F1 in Schools World Championships.

The competition is taking place over three days, 14-17 September, 2009, where they will have to compete against more than 30 teams from around the globe.

The team will also have the opportunity to meet their real-life heroes Lewis Hamilton, Formula One world champion, and Bernie Ecclestone, CEO of Formula One Management, who will be attending the F1 in Schools World Championship’s awards ceremony.

“I would say that this was a life-changing experience,” Sean Clery, design engineer of Koni Kats, commented.

“It has given me focus for the future and direction for future studies after school,” Clery added.

Some 82pc of past F1 in Schools participants have said the competition has encouraged them to think about careers in engineering and computing.

Among the previous participants studying a technology subject at school, 90pc said the F1 in Schools competition will help them with their school work.

“The F1 in Schools Challenge will help to encourage the uptake of subjects that will drive growth in these key sectors of the knowledge economy,” said the Minister for Education and Science, Batt O’Keeffe.

Teams wishing to experience the thrills of the competition can now register for the 2009/2010 F1 in Schools race season at

By John Kennedy

Photo: The Koni Kats, the team representing Ireland at the F1 School World Championships.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years