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GP Week : Issue 17
F1 INSIGHT >> lap time penalty. Gains are likely to be small and disproportionate to the financial investment. The unknown is the tactical advantage in racing conditions.” “I think the bottom line is ultimately it will be a gain, so if it is then the teams do it,” Gascoyne agrees. “In some ways as a technology it’s interesting and from a racing point of view I think it can be interesting, and also I think from the message that Formula 1 is sending out, because at the end of the day we survive on sending out messages. So, should we be headlining green technologies? I think we ultimately should.” The notion of creating the right message rings true throughout F1. “Formula 1 needs to show that it is aware of these issues and is trying to do something,” Whitmarsh confirms. “I think any big company, any big organisation or any major sport that’s got the high profile of Formula 1 can’t ignore these matters.” But the move towards increased environmentalism and new technologies is more than just the promotion of a message. As Geoff Willis argues, the technology that is developed in Formula 1 over the next few years will have a knock-on effect to the automotive industry as a whole. “F1 is a very public face of the automotive industry, so there is a very good opportunity to reflect the changes we have to make in the road car industry by what we do in F1. In truth, the transport of the spectators is likely to be as much of a carbon generator as the race cars, so it is the delivery of technology, not the actual effect on the racing that is important. “I think you will see a drive to more green fuels, more energy recovery, smaller engines, hybrid type things, but you still need a very efficient, high revving, quick power delivery engine,” says Gascoyne of the future. “Formula 1 does need to accept the environmental issues and be seen to be leading the way, but you’ve still got to do that while maintaining proper racing.” Willis, too, agrees that the future direction is an interesting one, but that the primary consideration of the folk in F1 will always be racing. “We need to set more comprehensive carbon budgets for racing cars and then relax the regulations to allow more creative engineering solutions. Smaller engines, lower revving, turbo/ compounding, lighter cars, greater energy recovery, low carbon footprint materials etc. While it is interesting to investigate and develop new technologies we should remember that our primary reason for being in F1 is to compete and to win.” That distinct desire to win in Formula 1 is the one things sure to push the advancement of environmentally conscious technologies through an accelerated development process. In the long run, this should have nothing but a positive conclusion not only for the sport, but for the world at large. Just as some of the greatest advancements in technology have been made in times of war, and under the competitive instinct of survival, so today do the greatest advancements in environmentally sound automotive technologies stand to benefit from their introduction to the world’s richest and most technologically competitive sport. If Formula 1’s drive towards a more worldly-wise and environmentally conscious foundation can have a beneficial effect on the cars that we drive in our day to day lives, the relevance and importance of Formula 1 not just as entertainment, but as a developmental ground for world changing technologies, will be ensured into the future. Vegetable Oil: The use of Biofuel is big news in the world of A1GP, and this year F1 cars are using six percent biofuel. Will it increase? 28