Thought I'd start a new thread because I don't think we have one recording actual, concrete examples of F1's new engine regs doing what they were supposed to, i.e. be a sport that's relevant to the big car engineering challenges of the 21st century.
Here's UK Guardian economics correspondent Larry Elliott, whose readership is one that I'd argue would have the most problems with Formula One. At least, it's probably not a paper that Bernie Ecclestone reads.
For some reason, a Formula 1 grand prix ends up with the winner being drenched in champagne and it is the motor racing industry that provides the second example of how economics works. This time, though, the lesson (provided courtesy of John Llewellyn of Llewellyn Consulting) is about how regulation can prompt innovation.
Three years ago, the F1 authorities announced big changes to the rules governing engine size and fuel capacity. By this year, 2.4 litre normally aspirated V8 engines had to be replaced by 1.6 litre turbo-charged engines – a one-third cut in capacity. Simultaneously, fuel consumption – hitherto unlimited but averaging 160kg per race – had to be reduced to 100kg.
Lots of smart technologists and engineers work for the F1 industry and the new regulations forced them to find ways of making cars more fuel efficient without any loss of power. They started by recognising that in an internal combustion engine only around one third of the fuel used actually propels the car, and went about recovering some of the lost energy.
This is not just a matter that should interest petrol heads. Llewellyn says applying this technology to everyday motor vehicles could cut global oil consumption by 2% or more per year. "But this F1 experience has a deeper significance: it shows what clever people can do when motivated."
Sometimes the motivation is money. Sometimes it is just plain curiosity. But quite often, clever people have to be pointed in the right direction. "This typically requires that government be involved: to identify the problem; specify it; corral key people; offer the prize; provide funding. Witness the Second World War, which on that basis produced radar, radio navigation, the jet engine, rocketry and nuclear energy," Llewellyn says.
Edited by Risil, 23 March 2014 - 15:26.