FIA, F1 and going green?

21 05 2009

Sorry, this isn’t my usual look into IT technology, trends etc but a post about two things that I am passionate about, motor racing and green technologies.

At present the teams within formula 1 are battling it out (in the court room as well as in the press) with regards to next season’s idea of capping the amount of money each team can spend on developing their car. Now I understand why they want to do this, as the FIA and the sport do need to see more competitive racing and independents racing against the big manufacturers, such as Ferrari, Renault and Toyota. However, F1, unlike other racing formulas, is all about pushing the engineering and mechanical boundaries; pushing technology on and having this technology working its way down to us, sitting in our day to day cars.

There are numerous technologies that we find on ever car today that have their roots in F1, some more popular than others, such as semi-automatic gearboxes (flappy paddles to change gears). So with this in mind, why hasn’t F1 looked at the big issue of the environment? Surely, if we need to develop green, environmental cars that perform well, this is the best place to do it.

F1, could it be green?

Every 4-5 years it seems, F1 has a major shakeup of its rules with regards to how the cars can be built, specifications etc. This 2009 season is an example of such a year. When this happens, I am always amazed just how quickly F1 teams manage to get cars up to speeds, and performance levels close to that of the year before. It’s testament to the designers, engineers and technicians at each team.

Only today I was reading an article about Warwick University in collaboration with Lola and others, building and delivering a GP3 car, which brings unbelievable green credentials to the table, not just for motor racing, but as a day to day car! It’s built using recycled carbon fibre, potatoes, carrots and runs on chocolate waste and vegetable oil. It also converts ozone in its radiators to oxygen! See, very very green. Also, don’t think that this car won’t be safe; it meets all GP3 regulations with the exception of using a bio fuel which is currently not permitted in GP3. I won’t go into any more detail, just simply follow this link, have a read and watch the video. http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/racing_car

So why oh why, if a university with Lola can produce a competitive green car, can an F1 team not? It’s simple…An F1 team could and would if the rules incorporated such thinking…

Why not, forget budget capping, and bring in a radical shake up which puts all the teams on an even playing field. Why not make F1 a green formula. Let the designs free on using turbos, skirts, lots of banned aerodynamics etc, but ensure their car is made in a sustainable fashion and their engines are environmentally friendly running on either a bio fuel or something else that is environment friendly….I’m sure the racing will be great, and I’m sure the performance of the cars will not suffer too much. But more importantly, I’m sure we would soon see large manufacturers putting in place such technologies in our day to day cars!

 

What do you think???

Would be interested to know what others think of this…Drop a comment…

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