David Cameron has backed the F1 in Schools initiative, saying it plays an important role in inspiring the next generation of engineers.

F1 in Schools challenges students to create their own F1 team which is commissioned to design, construct and race the fastest miniature Formula One Car of the Future; a 21cm long scale model built from a block of balsa wood and powered by a compressed air cylinder.

The Prime Minister has expressed his support to the largest global educational initiative, ahead of the world finals in Autin, Texas in November: "From product design to marketing, practical physics to budgeting, F1 in Schools is a wonderful opportunity for students to develop a wide range of useful skills in a fun and exciting environment," he said.

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"Through its challenging international competition, F1 in Schools plays an important role in inspiring the next generation of engineers around the world. I would like to wish all the competitors every success in the World Finals in Austin, Texas, in November."

Each team of between three and six students creates a 'pit' display and showcases their work in developing their race car, with a verbal and written presentation for judges. The teams then race their model car on a specially designed 20 metre test track, with the cars covering the distance in just over one second.

The Challenge, in its thirteenth year, was introduced to the UK in 2000 and since this time has expanded to over 40 countries, reaching over 20 million students taking part around the globe. Andrew Denford, Founder and Chairman of F1 in School's believes the recognition is important: "We are always keen to receive recognition of the value of the F1 in Schools programme and there is no better endorsement than from our Prime Minister," he said.

"Recognition of the role that F1 in Schools can play within the education environment is important to us, as we continue in our mission to continue to broaden the reach of F1 in Schools, both within the UK and in other countries.