The saying goes that ‘everything is relative’. Without getting into the scientific nitty gritties, there’s also an entire theory about how things are different in relation to one another depending on how you look at things. Based on that, it could be said that the most prolific motor racing championship in the world will go ‘green’ come 2013.
Keen to make sure that Formula 1 remains relevant to the real world, and not just its base of aficionados, the sport’s governing body has outlined some radical changes that are to come into effect within two years. Driven primarily by the International Automibile Federation (FIA) president, Jean Todt, F1 is set to adopt engine regulations that will put emphasis on getting a lot out of a little (so to speak) while keeping things clean as well.
F1 teams will say goodbye to the current generation of high-revving, 2.4-litre V-8 engines and universally adopt 1.6-litre, turbocharged, 4-cylinder engines. The FIA hopes that this will put the onus on engine suppliers to find smarter and more efficient ways to produce the horsepower that F1 teams crave and count on to outdo each other on track. The FIA will also be reducing the engine speed from the current 18,000 rpm to 12,000 rpm.
In addition to this, the teams will have to use extensive energy management as well as energy recovery systems. Modifications will also be made to the cars’ bodywork to improve aerodynamic efficiency. The FIA has set the engine suppliers and teams a target of cutting fuel consumption by 35 % from current levels while making sure that the new turbocharged units produce the same amount of power as today.
It’s certainly an ambitious target, but the hope is that F1 will call upon its legendary ingenuity that lead to innovations such as disc brakes, monocoque chassis construction, ground-effects, carbon-fibre chassis construction, semi-automatic gearboxes, active suspension and traction control.
These innovations have since been adopted by major car manufacturers but F1 has struggled for real-world relevance.