News | Magdalene students race to success in F1 in Schools competition

Posted 25 November 2019 by Catholic Education in News

In a competition where fast cars are the name of the game, students at Magdalene Catholic College, Narellan are going from strength to strength in their bid to design, construct and race the best Formula 1®​ Car of the Future in the prestigious international F1 in Schools competition.

F1 in Schools is one of the largest and foremost student STEM competitions in the world, with over 17,000 students from 40+ countries competing every year. Each team’s objective is to collaborate, design, build and test a miniature Formula 1®​ car – capable of going from 0-80km/h in under one second – to race down a 20-metre track in the fastest time. The judging also extends to the team’s car specifications, engineering, portfolio, marketing and verbal presentations.

The challenge inspires students to learn about physics, aerodynamics, design, manufacturing, branding, graphics, sponsorship, marketing, teamwork, media skills and financial strategy, and apply this in a practical, competitive and exciting way.

Three teams of Magdalene students recently took on competitors from around NSW in the State Finals – and with our nation sporting the F1 in Schools World Champions in both 2017 and 2018, among other highly coveted category awards, the local competition in Australia is fierce!

Congratulations to the three Magdalene F1 State Finals teams:

Hermes Racing (Year 8) – Development Class

Jimmy Macri, Rhyse Newell, Zach Saprun, Marcus Attard and Samuel Brockett

Aeronautics (Year 9) – Development Class

Brianna Said, Kyna Kelly, Frank Stillitano, Liam McClafferty and Lachlan Harloff

Edge Performance (Year 11) – Professional Class

Jack Scettro, Mitchell Phipps, Brayden Taylor, Hayden Richards and Jake Hyland

– Skip to teamS' State Finals results –

191125 Magdalene F1 Stalls

Magdalene TAS Coordinator, Ian Gorrie, said the teams are made up of students with expertise in their own fields or particular aspects of the competition, but it’s critical to the groups’ success that they also work together to make a cohesive and well-functioning unit.

“Rising to the challenge starts on the first day for teams. It is a huge undertaking and in many cases can be all-encompassing. In a positive way, it really does test the students’ capacity to problem-solve and work effectively together and over a very long time, all in the aim of achieving the ultimate F1 goal,” he said. 

“I’m very proud of our Magdalene students. Each team hit many a struggle, but persisted. Each team had something go wrong, but never gave up – instead, they looked at it from another angle and turned the negatives into positives. Making mistakes means you’re truly trying and pushing the boundaries. Learning from those mistakes means you have the potential to be even better than you thought you could've been" — Ian Gorrie, TAS Coordinator, Magdalene Catholic College

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The F1 in Schools competition aims to engage students in STEM learning and thinking, developing students’ skills in problem-solving, project management, communication, presentation, leadership, innovation, self-promotion, collaboration and entrepreneurialism – abilities clearly identified as aiding in the transition through secondary school, and in demand by industries the world over. 

“As a school, we have been actively involved in F1 in Schools for over 10 years. Our students and teams are noticed for being passionate, open, friendly, competitive, hardworking and supportive innovators and collaborators,” Mr Gorrie said.

“It is something I am super passionate about; I love all the extra time that goes into engaging, extending and inspiring these students. I could speak about all the positive aspects of this program for hours and hours! But you just need to be around these students to quickly see the effects.”

“This F1 in Schools program has had a massive impact on our students and really shows what they are made of. Pressure is one thing, but giving it everything you've got and then doubling that effort begins to get close to their level of commitment and engagement. It really makes them connect all Key Learning Areas and see the importance of performing at their best” — Ian Gorrie, TAS Coordinator, Magdalene Catholic College

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As with all the Magdalene students involved, the Year 9 Aeronautics team had extremely positive things to say about their participation in F1 in Schools – in particular, highlighting a range of key ‘real-world’ skills developed, STEM knowledge gained, lessons learned and even new passions and career paths inspired from the experience...

whattheysaid2What the students said:

“F1 has allowed me to grow both academically and professionally. It’s given me some of the most enjoyable moments of my high school experience and allowed me to build friendships with my team members that I wouldn’t have had without the competition. It’s also inspired my new passion for project management” — Brianna, Team Manager

“I enjoyed learning a lot about principles related to aerodynamics. I also learned how to code a file for a CNC milling machine, how to successfully operate the machine, and how to use a 3D printer. All these experiences were great learning curves and helped me expand my STEM skill set for the future. After being involved, I can certainly see myself pursuing a career in aeronautical engineering” – Liam, Manufacturing Engineer

“I found it most valuable to be given the opportunity to learn new design techniques and how to use software. The responsibility of thinking of new innovations for our car has also allowed me to expand my STEM mindset. I’ll be able to use this to maximise my potential in school projects, as well as in my future career” — Lachlan, Design Engineer

“I enjoyed the memories I have attained throughout the course of this challenge; they are truly irreplaceable. Learning skills such as time management, CAD modelling, teamwork and communication have also changed who I am and how I attack certain tasks now” — Frank, Graphic Designer

“I had the opportunity to network with surrounding companies and get a glimpse of what real-world management looks like. I learned about sponsorship packages, what businesses find appealing and how to present ideas to them in a formal manner – skills that I’ll be able to use professionally, which was one of my favourite aspects of the competition” — Kyna, Resource Manager

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Edge Performance

gold trophycup5th overall in Professional Class

1st gold medal1st place in Best Engineering CAD Award

1st gold medal1st place in Best Trade Display Award

1st gold medal1st place in Best Graphic Design Award

1st gold medal1st place in Best Team Marketing Award

1st gold medal1st place in Fastest Reaction Time Award

Magdalene’s Pro Senior team and Professional Class competitors, Edge Performance, did remarkably well considering they came together and competed for the first time only last year. The team won ‘Fastest Reaction Time’ for the second year in a row and their trade display in particular was the talk of the town over the three-day event, setting a new standard for the state finals across the competition. This year, Edge Performance won an outstanding five categories at the State Finals and are now heading to the National Finals, to be held in Melbourne in March next year.

Magdalene F1 in Schools 001 

Hermes Racing 

gold trophycup5th overall in Development Class

2nd silver medal2nd place in Grand Prix Race Award

2nd silver medal2nd place in the Knockout Competition 

2nd silver medal2nd place in Fastest Reaction Time Award

2nd silver medal2nd place in Best Engineering CAD Award

3rd bronze medal3rd place in Outstanding Industry Collaboration Award

3rd bronze medal3rd place in Innovation Award

Hermes Racing are certainly a team on the up – having only worked together over the past two terms, finishing 2nd and 3rd in several areas was a brilliant result! They have much to look forward to over the next few years and are setting the standard already, thinking outside the box with their car designs and innovations.

Magdalene F1 in Schools 002 


gold trophycup6th overall in Development Class

1st gold medal1st place in Best Managed Enterprise Award

1st gold medal1st place in Best Graphic Design Award

2nd silver medal2nd place in Best Team Portfolio Award

3rd bronze medal3rd place in Best Team Marketing Award

The Aeronautics team received top category awards in four areas – another fantastic outcome. While they had some struggles with their engineering and design development, meaning their car was too heavy to run in the top 5 on the track, this is now something they are eager to work on and improve for next year. They will be one of the teams to watch in 2020.

Magdalene F1 in Schools 003

Magdalene now waits to hear if they’ve made it to the National Finals where, as a school community, they have had success before – taking out the competition to be crowned Australia’s best with their most successful team, Gamma Raycing, in 2014. The team went on to place 2nd in the World Finals – an amazing achievement, enjoyed by not only the students and families involved, but something that has engaged the next generation of Magdalene students in taking part. 

“Many of the current students involved met, heard speak, chatted with or are siblings of the students in our Gamma Raycing team. Still today, members of that team are actively involved with F1 in Schools as Macarthur Hub F1 team mentors and scrutineer judges,” Mr Gorrie said.

“Without their support, including attending our regional finals and supporting our teams for the two days at State Finals this year and last, our current teams wouldn't be as competitive as they are.”

In 2020, Magdalene are running an iSTEM Stage 5 course for Years 7 and 8 students, where they will begin developing their future F1 teams. For more information, contact TAS Coordinator, Ian Gorrie, at Read more about the F1 in Schools competition in Australia here.

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