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News - Abu Dhabi GP
Nico: “F1 in Schools is a very good initiative”
02 Nov 2012
For several years the F1 in Schools programme has been an enjoyable way for young students with engineering ambitions to get a little closer to the sport and in Abu Dhabi this week 33 teams from around the world competed in the final.
A team from Adelaide, Australia proved victorious, but this was one contest which is also very much about the taking part as well as winning.
All competitors were excited to meet a special visitor in the form of Sahara Force India driver Nico Hülkenberg, who served as an ambassador for the Aero GP team from Germany, and presented the prize to the overall winners.
Nico thoroughly enjoyed his visit to the event and was impressed by the ingenuity and commitment of the students, who had to design and build a compressed air powered car and race it over a 20m track. He was very happy to lend his support to his young compatriots.
“They came to me and asked whether I wanted to become their ambassador, and I said yes I would be happy to,” explains Nico. “So I was involved from that point. They were cool kids, 14 to 16, very committed, very serious about the project. I think they enjoyed it and had lots of fun.
“I think F1 in Schools is a very good initiative or programme. I was pretty impressed and amazed at how professional it is, and at what level they operate, helping the kids to develop their skills even further, and the whole team-building aspect. I think the programme and the founder deserve a lot of credit and respect.”
Inevitably many of the students have ambitions to get involved in motor sport, and they were keen to ask Nico for advice.
“Yes, that was one of the questions, how do you get into F1, and where is the door?”
Like many racing drivers Nico had to dovetail his own schooling with his karting commitments, and he confesses that he wasn’t a fan of the more technical and scientific subjects.
“I was terrible! I was a more practical guy. That’s one side of the programme, but you also need the theory to make it quick – you need them both, really. It’s impressive how much development and commitment they put into it.
“I was heavily into karting, and that is also technical. You’re a mechanic yourself as well, tuning the set-up, working on your kart. The basic things in karting that you learn are very fundamental, which still today are very important.”