As Ron Dearing UTC students continue to battle it out in the global ‘F1 in Schools’ competition, we decided to take our support to the next level by becoming a major sponsor of one of their teams. 

Recently, we got the chance to mentor four teams of Ron Dearing UTC students who are taking part in the prestigious F1 in Schools global competition. We were so inspired by the talent and enthusiasm on display that we’ve decided to sponsor one of the teams competing for the top prize. 

Rising stars: driven to succeed

The ‘F1 in Schools’ competition requires teams to design, test, manufacture and race a to-scale F1 car. They must also produce engineering and marketing portfolios which must include information about creating industry links, raising funds through sponsorships and generating brand awareness through websites, events and social media. 

The event took place at the Porsche Centre Hull, where students pitched to fundraise the money necessary to pay for 100% of the competition independently.

As a business that knows the pressure of a pitch situation, we were blown away by the teams – they were eloquent, intelligent, and knowledgeable, and all teams upped the ante with a professional performance. 

Putting MACH in the fast lane 

After being so impressed by the students, we chose a team to sponsor and we’re hoping they’ll be in pole position in the next leg of their F1 journey. As such, we’re delighted to announce our major sponsorship of MACH Racing, which comprises 17-year-olds Jessica Maclachlan and Mercy Mcfarlane. Together, they are a force to be reckoned with! 

Fighting against gender biases in engineering and competing against much larger teams in the competition, the girls are definitely up for the challenge ahead. Although the F1 championship – and its teams – have more women back at base, very few are in trackside personnel and the same goes for women in STEM, where they make up only 28% of the overall workforce.  

We knew as soon as we met Jessica and Mercy that their confidence and professionalism stood out a mile. Following a smash pitch presentation, we could see that they have what it takes to go all the way in this year’s competition and have a bright future in F1 or STEM ahead of them. 

Sowdens: sponsoring the next generation  

Sowdens will be a major ‘Hypersonic’ sponsor for MACH Racing, and we can’t wait to see our brand on their official team wear and across their completed car. Sowdens will also support the team across social media marketing, partner on future fundraising events and help mentor the team throughout the competition.  

We have already used our contacts within the industry to orchestrate a shoutout from two-time British race car champion, Abbie Eaton, on her official Instagram account which boasts over 150k followers. In just one day, the MACH Racing Instagram account received over 150+ followers and a well-deserved morale boost. 

This is one example of the added value the teams get from working with Sowdens. It’s not only a commercial business deal to us – having been in the business for 40 years, we appreciate that it’s not just what you know, but who you know. Therefore, it’s important to know we’re giving back to local people in the area where our business has thrived for four decades.


Polly Sowden (Director, Sowden & Sowden)  

We were immediately impressed by the way Jessica and Mercy presented themselves and their ideas, and fully believe they will achieve great things in the competition. Since deciding to sponsor MACH Racing, we have used our experience to strategically spread the word about the competition and our overall partnership with the teams by orchestrating a PR and media campaign across a variety of media outlets, including Marketing Humber and BusinessWorks Magazine.”

“We were also thrilled to get a shout out on Instagram from local racing legend Abbie Eaton, and a few of us from Sowdens were given the chance to speak to the BBC Radio Humberside Breakfast Show about the venture.”

Jessica Maclachlan (Team Manager & Social Media Manager, MACH Racing)

“My journey throughout F1 in Schools so far has been amazing. Not only with the support from the teachers at Ron Dearing UTC, but also from our amazing sponsors such as Sowdens. They have supported us in so many ways! They’ve given us connections to some amazing women in motorsport such as Abbie Eaton and brought us the opportunity to speak on BBC Radio!  

“The journey has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I am really hoping that it will give me a foot in the door to a job in Formula 1 in the future. If you had told me six months ago what I would be doing today, I wouldn’t have believed you. That is what this project means to me!” 

Mercy Mcfarlane (Team Engineer & Graphic Designer, MACH Racing)

“My experience in the F1 in Schools competition has been amazing. It has allowed me to express my passion for engineering and motorsport in more ways than one. I would also like to thank our teachers at Ron Dearing UTC for their continued support, and our sponsors like Sowdens that are bringing us these amazing opportunities.  

“Within F1 in Schools, it has really given me the chance to do things for myself and achieve things I never thought I could. And hopefully, build a championship winning car!” 


Listen to Sowdens Director, Polly Sowden, and the girls from MACH Racing on BBC Radio Humberside. (Timestamps: 1:24:14, 1:54:56, 2:25:00, 3:07:04)

Find out more about our journey with the Ron Dearing UTC students taking part in the global F1 in Schools competition here. 

If you’ve got a marketing or comms project you could use a helping hand with, check out our range of services and get in touch to see how we can help you get the best results. 


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