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Formula One takes a greener hue in 2014

Greener racing: Through the FIA Institute and racing regulations, motor sport’s governing body is pushing hard to make motor sport environmentally sustainable.

F1 rules are being used to make automotive technology cleaner, more efficient

18 Mar 2013

FORMULA One engine suppliers are going to have to pull off something akin to a miracle when the new engine regulations come into force in 2014.

As part of the governing body’s policy of using aggressive regulations to push technological development, engine suppliers will have to make their 2014 engines smaller, slower-spinning and more complex, containing two energy recovery systems, not just one.

According to Garry Connelly, the most senior Australian in the Federation Internationale d’Automobile (FIA), the tighter engine rules for 2014 have been designed to make sure that Formula One will be investing its capital in technologies that could one day benefit everyday drivers.

Speaking at last week’s Cars of Tomorrow Conference, Mr Connelly said the FIA was determined to drive the development of automotive technology in directions that could benefit the environment and road drivers in future.

“We can set the regulations, we can encourage the competitors, without Government funding, to take radical and very expensive steps,” said Mr Connelly, who is deputy president of the FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety and Sustainability.

The competitors in engine supply include car-making giants Renault, Mercedes-Benz and Fiat (through Ferrari).

“Formula One is the pinnacle of the sport. It has enormous money through the car-makers and sponsorship and can hire hundreds of engineers.”

The FIA Institute was set up using money the FIA received from Bernie Ecclestone when the FIA sold the Formula One marketing rights for $350 million. Its charter is to develop and improve motor sport safety and sustainability.

Mr Connelly said the FIA had, in the recent past, used sportscar racing rules to encourage the use and development of diesel engines in racing, had stipulated the use of energy recovery systems in F1 and was about to launch a world racing series for electric open-wheeled racing cars called Formula E.

The 2014 F1 engine rules were a continuation of that program, he said, requiring engine makers to design not just internal combustion engines, but power units incorporating a kinetic energy recovery system (like a hybrid road car uses regenerative braking) and a heat energy recovery system. These will be referred to as the Energy Recovery System (ERS).

He said the adoption of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) in 2008 had proved how rapidly new technology can develop when it is made the subject of F1 rules.

Mr Connelly said the original Mercedes-Benz design for an F1 KERS system weighed 107 kilograms in 2007 and was 39 per cent efficient -that is, it had to harvest 1000 kiloJoules in order to achieve the maximum permitted KERS output of 400kJ.

By 2012, the Mercedes-Benz KERS system weighed less than 24kgs and was 80 per cent efficient, needing to recoup only 500kJ to produce the maximum permitted output of 400kJ.

The 2014 regulations will keep the pressure on. Engines will be reduced in size from 2.4 litre V8s to 1.6 litre V6 engines with turbochargers. The fuel allocation will be 140 litres a race.

“They will need to produce a 30 per cent increase in efficiency to maintain power outputs at last year’s level of around 730 horsepower,” Mr Connelly said.

“However, most engine makers are targeting 750 horsepower, even though the maximum permitted rev limit will come down from 18,000rpm to 15,000rpm.”

The engine design task will be further complicated by the fact that each car will in 2014 only have available a maximum of five engines for the 20 races, down from eight engines last year.

This means each engine will have to do about 4000kms before a rebuild, versus 2000kms for last year’s engines.

“The reduction in the number of engines available will save enormous amounts of money,” Mr Connelly said.

The increased accent on energy recovery means that it will no longer be optional to have a KERS system and no longer possible to finish a race if the KERS system stops functioning.

“This year KERS will provide up to 80hp for a total of 6.7 seconds a lap. Next years, the boost will be double that, at 161hp for 33.3 seconds a lap. Now that’s a long time.

“Remember, this does not assist you when you are at full speed, it’s mainly going to assist you when you are accelerating.

“It means that for the vast majority of your lap, when you are accelerating, you will be able to use, you will have to use, the Energy Recovery Systems (ERS, a combination of two energy recovery systems).

“Last year, if you lost your KERS system, you might drop back a couple of places.

“Next year, that won’t be the case. If you lose your ERS system, you’re gone, it will be such an important component. You will go from first to last in a short period of time.”

Mr Connelly said he believed motor racing, under the FIA, was the first sport in the world to take the environment seriously.

“We don’t know of any other sport that has an accreditation system like ours in place.”

The system has three levels, for competitors, clubs, track owner and organisers. They can express a commitment to excellence in environmental matters, they can be making progress towards excellence and the highest level shows they have achieved excellence in this area.

The McLaren organisation has today (March 15) become the first motor sport stakeholder to achieve a Level One level of excellence.

The McLaren achievement was announced by FIA president Jean Todt.

“McLaren's award is an important step in the recognition by motor sport of the social responsibility our community must acknowledge if our championships are to remain in tune with the key environmental debates we are all a part of,” Mr Todt said in a press release.

“The FIA and the FIA Institute are researching the environmental impact of motor sports across all our world championships."Mr Connelly told the Cars of Tomorrow conference that the FIA and, ghroughit, the FIA Institute, that all people in motor sport should be very conscious of the environment.

“We should take the lead. We think we are doing that through the FIA with the regulations for Formula One and we believe motor sport can truly be an environmental champion.”

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