Debate: Postpone energy recovery rules?

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BMW’s Mario Theissen wants the FIA to delay rules planned for 2009 that would require teams to use energy recovery systems on their cars.

FIA president Max Mosley is pushing for kinetic energy recovery systems to be mandatory on F1 cars to make them more environmentally friendly and road relevant.

Do you want to see these system on F1 cars sooner rather than later? Or never at all?

At present the teams are slated to start using kinetic energy recovery systems in 2009 and biofuels in 2011. Theissen has proposed swapping the deadlines and bringing in biofuel for the season after next.

Theissen feels that if energy recovery systems are brought in for 2009 they will have to be entirely re-designed two years later when new engine rules come into force. He claims he wants to spare BMW and the other teams the expense.

The counter-argument is that F1 needs to take drastic steps to improve its environmental image sooner rather than later.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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14 comments on “Debate: Postpone energy recovery rules?”

  1. I am all for doing the energy recovery thing as soon as possible. One of the things I love about F1 is the technology… and I think this could be one area where some really creative solutions are found that let some teams gain the upper hand temperarily.

    Should be fun… I say bring it on!

  2. It’s too early in the morning for me to enter yet another debate on the whole global warming thing; I have stated my opinion on that often enough in the past anyway.

    But Theissen is voicing what seems to be the general opinion amongst the manufacturer teams, that the timing of the rule introduction is money-wasting since they will have to re-design any systems introduced in 2009 two years later when the rules change again. He has a point.

  3. Yeah I would agree – and if it’s a problem that it doesn’t match up with the engine rules then bring the engine changes forward rather than put the energy recovery rules back!

    BMW have started putting some energy recovery stuff on their roadcars already (new 1-series and 3-series) so this is obviously going to have a real impact on road cars which is an important step forward.

  4. Why not just have both available from 2010?

    Gives the teams a bit longer to create the recovery systems and make them compatible with the motor at the same time.

    Most of the manufacturers already have a lot of tech for Bio engines ready at present time. The small teams use manufacture engines anyways. So 2010 should give them plenty of time to adapt to any changes.

  5. Biofuels do more harm than good, wheras energy recovery systems are already in use in some of the cars we drive on the roads right now.

    We should be looking at ways of using LESS fuel, not more of a different type. Where are we going to grow all the crops for all this biofuel?

    See here for an excellent analysis of biofuels, they are not the way forward.

    We should be introducing energy recovery systems as soon as possible and also looking at all-electric F1 cars. F1 racing has an article abou Martin Ogilvie’s all electric F1 car. It has full torque from zero RPM four brushless electric motors which need hardly any cooling and no gearbox other than a central CPU, regenerative braking and Li-Po batteries where the ballast and fuel tanks would be. It is far more aerodynamic than a ‘normal’ F1 car because it needs far less cooling and will be able to out-accellerate and out brake any F1 car, running further on a single charge with no problems about weight differences because batteries don’t get any lighter when they are depleted.

    In fact, it will not be able to race petrol-driven cars because it will beat them like gongs!

  6. I would be pretty disappointed electric cars dominated and a GP had less noise then the British Open.

    I think the FIA should find a way to conserve as much fuel as possible and then completely contridict themselves by changing qualifying from its current form to a single fuel burn off session. Hers how it works:

    All teams will fill up with race fuel, they will then drain this fuel into a giant container which they will then light on fire, who ever gets through this fuel burn off session first wins pole.

  7. I’m not certain I completely understand the notion of “energy recovery”, because at a glance you could simply mean an alternator.

    Though, if the rule means what I think, it’s a better way to sap engines down than say, airflow restriction, and having F1 cars that do not need to refuel but remain small is probably a good thing.

    From reading here, I’ve read the forced expense of development is a rather normal thing in F1 and if the rule was lifted, Sauber would certainly (over-)spend money developing something else.

    I should take the moment to announce that the Live Earth concerts successfully converted me to Clive’s point of view on the environment.

  8. Yes! At last we’ve found a use for Al Gore! :D

  9. This “green image” is hypocrisy. Racing uses a tremendous amount of energy that we simply don’t have, be it from fossil fuels or electricity. The only way to get it to be environmentally friendly is to switch back to horses until we find a way to produce lots of clean energy – maybe in 50-100 years.

    Using biofuels might improve their image slightly, but I doubt I’d have a serious impact on the planet if F1 added a bit of bio to their fuels. As for the kinetic energy conversion devices, if they use them to have an extra acceleration boost the recovered energy will be used for extra overtaking. Great for the viewers, but doesn’t really reduce normal fuel consumption/improve the environment then.

  10. Hi Bart,

    If you use the energy recovered during braking into a corner to accelerate out of the corner, then you don’t need to burn extra fuel to gather the momentum you lost under braking.

  11. The whole “environmentally friendly” image thing misses the point. Formula 1 needs to get back the image that it is a sport – that way it might get back some of the viewers it has lost. Because people don’t switch on to watch environmentally friendly processions (they are, after all, an oxymoron).

    The energy recovery rules are a useful-sounding technology, but sporting considerations mean that they should be optional – the teams that can use them to greatest effect will adopt them if they’re worth the bother.

    In any case, the fuel economy and the ability to go further before having to do a pitstop is enough of an advantage. The likelihood is that no compulsion will be required for this to naturally percolate down the grid anyway.

    FIA, stop being so interfering and let competition take its course.

  12. Hi Alastair

    I know it can save a bit of fuel accelerating out of corners again, if they are going to use it this way, if they are going to use it in the way I suggested, storing the energy in a buffer for extra power during overtaking it will save very little or no fuel. But like Allanora La Canta says, it’s missing the point. Formula 1 is about going fastest around a race track, not about who can save the planet the most. If they were really serious about the environment they scrap the sport all together since that would be the only way to stop polluting, we don’t want that of course. If they can find some ways to reduce pollution great, but working on the “environmental image” of a polluting sport is just ridiculous and they should not lose the focus of what it is about.

  13. I think we all get that racing and energy conservation are mutually exclusive. However, with all sorts of industries great leaps have been made in R&D by boosting research by tethering it to a sport. I have no problem giving incentives to spend money in certain R&D directions by changing a sport’s rules to do so.

    I try to keep things in perspective. It’s a sport. While I’m enjoying watching the races, if they can develop better “green” cars and make a sport out of it, so much the better. I much rather letting the fat-cats with tons of cash do a little philanthropy by funding this R&D via racecar development rather than raising taxes or some other governmental interdiction that effects me more personally. Hopefully, F1 developments will trickle down and effect me personally (such as paddle shifted sequential transmissions, etc).

    I’m sure F1 will ensure it still is “good racing” and it would not ruin the sport. F1 is a business too after all.

  14. I believe that some of the rules and regulations in F1 and other racing organizations should be lifted or changed. The racing industry as a whole is where the massive amounts of R&D comes from that “trickles” down to the general public. If they tie the hands of those with the vision and desire to find something new, or to change the way things are done, then we all will be driving the same kind of cars, same colors, same interiors, same engines same everything. Have we come to the end of discovery? Are there no more inventions left for the racers, the fans, the industry? Is this the new age of the cotton gin? Who knows, we may find something in the fuels that we now use that may revolutionize the whole world. Why cap it?

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