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Technology Wins Again

Formula One is the pinnacle of motor sport and determined to remain that way, despite the FIA’s attempts to keep it in a cage. Already the engineers have found a way to get around the engine freeze, trumpeted as a way to keep down costs. If we can’t touch the hardware, let’s have a look at what else is possible, goes the reasoning.

R27

Renault R27

Renault and their fuel supplier, Elf, have been talking about how they will extract more power from their engine this season. The idea is to increase the efficiency of their oil and other ancilliaries, thereby reducing friction and making the most of the power the engine produces. They have already solved problems with the fuel resulting from high temperatures in engines running at 20,000 rpm, now they can concentrate on expanding that technology to cover the lower speed ranges.

Which goes to show that you cannot halt F1′s drive to increase performance – someone will always find a way to circumvent any restriction you might impose. That is the engineer’s job, after all, to gain some form of advantage over the competition. And it makes a nonsense of the FIA’s attempt to put a brake on expenditure – those with money will work out how to spend it anyway.

Now that Renault and Elf are working so hard to maximize efficiency of their frozen engine, you can bet that the other teams will want their fuel suppliers to do the same. So we see the end of the tire wars only to head into a new era of fuel and lubricant wars. F1 remains the pinnacle because it will always seek out a way to go faster.

Speaking of tweaks in search of an advantage, whatever happened about Ferrari’s wheel inserts? I see they have been using them in testing and there is no doubt that they give an aerodynamic advantage, whatever the stated reason for their existence. Why haven’t the other teams started to use them too?

It seems a bit strange that they ignore the possibility of performance increase through the insertion of some flat pieces of plastic into the wheels but are prepared to spend whatever it takes to gain a few extra bhp through fuel technology. Obviously, they must know something I don’t.

Could it be that they know that, if they use the inserts and then go faster than Ferrari, the darn things will be banned? Or maybe they do have them and are just waiting to see whether Ferrari will use them in a race, in which case they shove them on too and the playing field is level again.

Ah, the complications of F1 – all part of the glorious show.

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