Silverstone: Access all areas

08 July 2014

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at a Formula 1TM Grand Prix?

Through our partnership with the McLaren Group, we invited the six students from Walbottle Campus, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, who won our recent Paddock Challenge, to race off to Silverstone with their teacher Mr Gates for a unique access-all-areas experience ahead of the British Grand Prix last week. 

The group spent the day uncovering the incredible science and engineering that is the powerhouse behind F1TM.

Following a warm welcome from the McLaren Mercedes team, the students were kitted up with exclusive VIP passes allowing them special access to the Silverstone Paddock, McLaren Mercedes Brand Centre and Team Garage.

Pinching the seat in the McLaren Mercedes Brand Centre vacated moments earlier by F1 driver Jenson Button, the team made themselves at home before being whisked off on their tour. Guided by a McLaren Mercedes F1 expert our budding scientists took a peek at all the competing race team centres and heard from one of the McLaren Mercedes engineers who was busy preparing the race tyres for specific track conditions.  

Moving on to the McLaren Mercedes Garage, our visitors took their position in the team’s ‘Mission Control’, watching the engineers and pit crew carrying out last minute checks on the drivers’ cars ahead of the Grand Prix. The day wrapped up with a review of McLaren Mercedes’ competition, as the students walked through the pit lane, comparing how other teams prepared their cars.

We know how important seeing real-world science in action is for young people to be inspired into careers in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects, and hearing first-hand from some of the McLaren Mercedes engineers certainly ticked the box. The students left buzzing with excitement and stories to tell from their once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Mr Gates, Head of Biology at Walbottle Campus, said: "It was an amazing chance to see behind the scenes action of an F1 team. The students got a hands-on experience with cutting edge science and technology. It will help them apply their studies to real world situations and show them the potential careers and opportunities available through studying science and I hope it will give the students aspirations of what they can achieve if they try."

Find out how you could inspire your students about the amazing world of science and technology. Check out our free resources on the website, or why not register to be the first to hear about our challenges? You could be the next school to win one of our unique science and technology experiences.