Software maker Autodesk have constructed a partnership with social enterprise F1 in schools to deliver design software to budding engineers in over 40 countries.
Autodesk will roll out their 3D design software to F1 schools free of charge to support the development of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills.
The project reaches more than 20 million children globally and challenges them to design a scale-model Formula One car which is critically analysed for its innovation and viability.
Teams then enter finals at regional, national and world levels where they showcase their designs and race on a 20m test track.
The 2013 World Finals will be held in Austin, Texas, this November. Teams will compete to receive the Bernie Ecclestone World Champions trophy and coveted automotive and motorsport engineering scholarships to City University London.
Founder and chairman of F1 in Schools, Andrew Denford, hailed the partnership with Autodesk as a “major step forward”.
“It is great news to have Autodesk on board with us as we continue to grow F1 in Schools and expand the number of schools participating and the territories we operate in.”
Mr Denford added: “This is a major step forward for F1 in Schools and I know that by pooling our resources and the global reach of both organisations, we will be able to eliminate any barrier to entry for schools.”
Special guest and minister for UK government policy, Oliver Letwin, officially announced the partnership.
The minister spoke about the importance of developing STEM skills in the UK, especially in relation to technology and engineering, as we look to catch up in a “hotly competitive global race”.
The F1 in Schools project will also be an important factor in increasing the number of women in engineering. A prospect recognised by project patron and Sauber Team Principal, Monisha Kaltenborn.
“I truly believe that this initiative will help attract girls to be engaged in motorsports.
“I don’t see any reason why girls should not be successful there. What they need is the necessary level of support from their environment. I really hope to see a woman competing in Formula One in the future, fighting for victories.”