EXCLUSIVE: Formula One ‘a vehicle for green technology development’

Formula One acts as a test-bed for sustainable innovations which are then carried through into the wider automotive industry, says F1 team Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes' managing director, Jonathan Neale.

Next year, Formula One will replace 2.4-litre V8 engines and low-powered Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS), with 1.6-litre V6 units with turbochargers.

In addition to reducing the environmental impact of the sport, the changes will bring forward ‘green’ technologies for the “greater good”, says Neale.

According to Neale, Formula One has always been a vehicle for technology development, assisting with the transfer of those technologies to the wider industry.

“We’ve already seen this with the transfer of KERS, which has been implemented into hybrid road cars,” says Neale.

“There is an obvious connection between F1 and transport, and it is logically going to be one of the areas that benefits from the technologies developed within the sport,” says Neale.

The McLaren P1, Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes’ latest hyper car, which is designed solely for performance, uses electric technologies which are directly driven by the development of KERS in F1.

Neale says: “As this high-level, high-performance, hybrid technology becomes more common, we anticipate that one of the barriers to the acceptance of “green technologies” in wider life will be broken down.

“People will not think of electric cars, or certainly hybrid cars, as being an alternative to performance. Instead, they will see that the two can go hand-in-hand, and the fact that it is connected to F1 will give it genuine credibility,” he added.

In other news, the LowCVP said last week that introducing new energy technologies in road transport will mean the current method of measuring the climate impact of vehicles will become increasingly inadequate.

Read the full feature ‘A winning formula: F1’s roadmap to sustainability’

Leigh Stringer

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