Hamzah Brown enjoyed an extensive journey with the F1 in Schools STEM Challenge which began while he was in Year 8 and it took him all the way to the 2012 World Finals at Abu Dhabi where his school was one of three Australian teams which dominated the Final Five places.

“The steer towards engineering began when I was in year 8. One of my teachers, Mr Peter Clinton in the Design & Technology department, introduced me to it. I remember we had a project for Music in which we were given a few weeks to make a model musical instrument. At that time our school was one of just a handful in Australia to have a 3D printer. Being on good terms with the Design and Technology staff I convinced them to print me a simple, small piano which I had drafted in CAD software based on a real one at home. It was realistic enough to include pedals and lettering and I would say I’m still proud of it for a CAD/CAM attempt at the age of 13.”

“The teachers spotted some potential in me and drafted me in to the F1 in Schools Technology Challenge which the school had a strong pedigree in having been the first Australian school to win the World Finals.”

“We competed under three team names – Trojan Racing in 2010/11, Pinnacle Engineering in 2011/12 and Team Spectra in 2012. We competed in five competitions and picked up a number of awards along the way to our world finals campaign. The one that stands above all to me was winning the Best Engineered Design Award at the National Finals in 2012. Among our other achievements at that competition – which included coming second overall by the slimmest of margins – to receive an award that spoke directly to me as the only engineer on the team was very, very special.”

Second place at the F1 in Schools National Finals meant that the Trinity Grammar team was eligible to form a collaboration team to compete at the 2012 World Finals.

“We ultimately joined with Kyabram P-12 College’s Raindrop Racing team to form Team Spectra. Managing that collaboration was certainly challenging at times but was totally refreshing and an amazing way to learn the art of collaboration over distance.”

Hamzah’s mentor throughout this time was his very influential teacher, Peter Clinton.

“One individual can have such a positive influence on someone’s life and Mr Clinton was that person through high school for me. It’s easy to slip under the radar when the students are the ones up on stage but I want to give every thanks to him on behalf of myself and so many others who’ve been fortunate enough to share in his mentorship since F1 in Schools started at Trinity. Weekends, late nights, tears, elation, spectacular crashes, special wins…Mr Clinton’s been there for it all and it is to him that my sincerest, immeasurable gratitude goes.”

The example set by Mr Clinton has been passed on to Hamzah…

“I’m a firm believer in giving back to the competition which gave me so much. I worked very closely with Hyperdrive Performance who were 2015 national champions and placed fifth at the Singapore World Finals.

“I’ve also been involved with other teams from my school and introduced new schools who don’t have the raft of experience that Trinity has to the F1 in Schools competition. I’ve also judged at state finals, done photography and represented the REA Foundation at events like the Australian Formula One Grand Prix on many occasions.”

“I can fully empathise with those who say F1 in Schools is a life-changing experience because it was absolutely the case for me. At the two World Finals I’ve been to I’ve felt this unreal adrenaline rush that comes from talking with and being around people who are absolutely in tune with what you’re saying and how you’re thinking. Competing at the peak of F1 in Schools, once as a competitor and then as a mentor, has definitely been the highlight of my involvement with the program.”

Hamzah said being involved with F1 in Schools gave him a long list of life skills and relationships…

“It was through F1 in Schools that I met Charlie who became my closest friend in Year 8 and is to this day. I remember the day. Charlie had a desktop background which was an image of an Airbus A380. So did I. A few words and that was all it took to spark the bonfire that became our team-mateship and friendship which ended up taking us around the country and indeed around the world with F1 in Schools….

“ I have a number of industry and academic collaborators from my time competing that are always happy to talk as mentors…

“Embracing challenges and seizing every opportunity that opens up…

With such a thorough upbringing in high-level engineering it comes as no surprise that Hamzah is pursuing this career path…

“Right now I’m in my second year at Monash University studying for a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering. I’m also with the Monash Motorsport Formula Student Team and part of that involves TAFE one night a week. Yep, TAFE and uni’ at the same time. It wasn’t always clear that engineering was going to be my path, in fact, for the longest time my major goal was to become a commercial pilot. However, as I got older I realised it would be a very long and costly process to get to where I think I would have been aiming for. Things I could probably push through, to be sure, but that was before F1 in Schools came along.”

“I still remain fascinated by the sky and anything that moves within it – stars, planes, planets, you name it – and that passion continues strongly today. One day I’d love to be able to say that something I’ve touched or designed has ended up on another planet.”

Hamza has just been accepted into cadetship at AIRBUS in the UK. “There were 7,000 applicants applying for 3 positions and it was my F1 in Schools experience that set me apart … I am on the road to fulfilling my dream.”