F1 Steps in a greener direction

October 23, 2009

WilliamsF1 Flywheel based KERS system may become standard in 2013

WilliamsF1 Flywheel based KERS system may become standard in 2013

At the meeting of the World Motorsport Council on 21 October 2009 the proposals put forward by the Environmentally Sustainable Motor Sport Comission (EMSC) were supported. These proposals were significant in that they made an unequivocal statement that ‘Motor sport must move from a power per unit.. as basis for engine performance regulation , to one of power per unit energy.’ In short this means that rather than defining engines in terms of volume or rpm, they will, in future, be defined in terms of brake horse power (bhp) per litre of fuel. They also state that it will be necessary to limit the amount of fuel/energy consumed: so we may go back to the days in the 1980s and early 1990s when F1 cars had a fuel capacity limited to 195 litres and we had cars running out of fuel on the last lap – some of us remember when victorious Nigel Mansell gave Ayrton Senna a lift on (yes on, rather than in) his Williams back to the pits during his celebration lap after Senna’s car had run out of fuel at the end of the 1991 British Grand Prix.

The other interesting note in the EMSC proposals relates to KERS systems: ‘Energy consumption and CO2 emissions should be regulated on an onboard energy reservoir to wheel basis’. This implies that although KERS will not be used in 2010 it is planned to reintroduce it, potentially on a single spec basis to save cost. Later in the document they make the statement that ‘Technology such as fly wheels reducing dependence on batteries and concentrating on ICE load shift [ICE = Internal Combustion Engine I think!] proves to be the most promising way forward.’ Good news for Williams who have been developing their own flywheel system as a potential spin-off from the F1 operation.

However, there is no mention of when or how any of these proposals will be implemented. Clearly they will be on the table for the next Concorde agreement to run from 2013, it will be interesting to see whether or not they really do come to fruition.

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