Passion and speed at "Zenith"
Everyone is where they should be. The countdown begins, the buzzer sounded, and in a fraction of a second, the miniature F1 race cars reach the finish line.
There is silence at the beginning, at a push of the button when the vehicle will launch; the writer witnessed the passion, effort, and agony in the team member's body language launching the race car during a demonstration at The English School F1-in-School race track. "Zenith" secured first place in F1 In School National Championships.
The senior students, team members, are Andria Ioannidou, George Hadjigeorgiou, Pheidias Psaras, Andreas Michael, Ioannis Skordis and Ioannis Zervos, always under the supervision of their teacher and the responsible personnel organizing and hosting the completion in Cyprus Stelios Theodosiou, took a step towards the world finals.
"We worked until very late at night", Andria Ioannidou noted, with George Hadjigeorgiou adding, "we never stopped; we had a schedule that needed to be followed." Committed to this, the students gathered together after their school and after school obligations, which is very challenging, particularly as the six students are graduating class of 22. To succeed, they needed to be committed and find the time to work on their miniature race car. "Working and improving our cars, you learn a lot", added George Hadjigeorgiou.
The pandemic made the endeavour of these students very challenging. They needed to follow all the government regulations and meet remotely and found it very difficult to find their sponsors. However, they persisted, and this was evident in the name they chose for their team. "We chose Zenith because of the meaning of the word; it is where we want to reach," said Andria Ioannidou, with Pheidias Psaras defining what being on top means. "We designed the vehicle using a computer programme, performed simulations. At this stage, we worked on several parameters, from the vehicle's design, considering the car's aerodynamics. We then proceeded with 3D printing using a 3D printer." said Andreas Michael with Ioannis Zervos, clarifying that they followed all the guidelines as outlined by the competition and the restrictions imposed due to COVID. From this point, the tests on the components began. The team members then prepared for contingencies in the event their vehicle was damaged during the race. They clearly noted what repairs could be made on the spot, just like a real-life F1 pit stop. The information the students had at hand which wa 30 seconds to replace or repair something that went wrong, such as a wheel being damaged. "For our car to be competitive, as a team, we needed to aim at a time of 1 second to cross a 20-meter corridor", said George Hadjigeorigou with Ioannis Skordis, stating that their vehicle managed to run at 1,113 seconds, that is at 70 kilometres/hour. The thrust and movement of the car is possible through a capsule placed in the rear of the car. This capsule contains carbon dioxide and is punctured by the starting mechanism at the starting line.
In a position of battle and responsibility.
The students worked for seven months to design and build their own Formula 1 (F1) from scratch and prepare for their presentation and the related video. Each student had a list of responsibilities and tasks they needed to complete. However, their teamwork and cooperation made this possible.
Andria Ioannidou found herself in the coordinator role while she was also involved in graphic design. "I designed our logo, our appearance and our social media profile," she said. George Hadjigeorgiou explained that he was the builder and engineer of the car. "I dealt with the assembly of the car; if something broke during competition, I was the one responsible for repairing it." Pheidias Psaras was responsible for promotion. "I was tasked with dealing with social medial and promotion of the team. As well as organizing events, such as the creation of the S.T.E.M. Club. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) to share the knowledge we have gained to our younger students.
Andreas Michael worked on research and development. "I looked at different aerodynamic applications and how these could be adapted to our car. I looked for technology that I could implement to make our car faster".
Ioannis Skordis was in charge of research and the financial aspects of the team. "I had to find sponsers and the money, so we are were able to build our car, test it and cover all the team's expenses. Finally, Ioannis Zervos was the design engineer. "I designed the car in a computer program, applying Andreas' ideas. Then I try it on simulators. "
Anxiety and uneasy nights until the results were announced.
An accident during the national competition filled the team members with anxiety and insecurity. Due to the pandemic, they were only able to watch the performance of their vehicle from a distance. "Our car was a little slower than what we expected, and there were occasions when it would break," said Andreas Michael. At the same time, Pheidias Psaras added that the completion examines the vehicle's performance, the team's portfolio, the presentation video and the digital account of everything the team endured. The team was not very happy with their car performance, so they felt a little discouraged. "For three days, until the results came out, we felt anxious. At best, we estimated we would get second or even third place," Pheidias Psaras said. Ioannis Skordis added that he even had nightmares about their possible failure. Stelios Theodosiou, their teacher, also referred to this as the team kept on asking him every five minutes if the results were out.
A mail with the title "Congratulations" made the difference. Andria Ioannidou opened the email to read their team had won first place! At the time, George was with her in the same lesson, and they received permission to leave and inform the rest of the team members. "You can't believe how quickly we crossed the campus to covey our success to our teammates," says Andria.
Articles original writer: Despina Psyllou
Photo: Antonis Antoniou
Published on Philenews on the 3rd July 2021 at 5:00