McLaren, Sepang International Circuit, 2016

FIA enlists McLaren to supply F1 engine sensors

2018 F1 season

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McLaren Applied Technologies, part of the group which includes McLaren’s Formula One team, has been chosen by the FIA as the sole supplier of engine sensors from next season.

The deal, which runs from 2018 to 2020, will see the McLaren company supply engine pressure and temperature sensors to all F1 teams. Teams will use the single make of engine sensors from next season as part of a drive to bring down costs.

McLaren Applied Technologies is already extensively involved in supplying standard parts to different championships. It has been the supplier of the FIA’s Single Engine Control Unit since 2008 and also supplies a SECU for use in NASCAR.

Formula E, Hong Kong, 2016
McLaren will also supply batteries for Formula E
“From the ECU technology in every Formula One car to the engineers supporting teams at the track, McLaren Applied Technologies continues to be at the heart of motorsport,” said the company’s motorsport director Rodi Basso.

“Our mission is to provide an unrivalled service, ensuring the world’s premier race teams and series can continue to grow and delight fans around the world,” he added.

At the end of last year McLaren Applied Technologies was chosen as the sole battery supplier for the FIA’s all-electric Formula E championship from next season.

Formula E races currently include mandatory mid-race pit stops for drivers to switch to fresh cars with fully-charged batteries. “Our new battery will almost double the energy storage, eliminating the need for drivers to swap cars during a race,” said Basso.

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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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  • 35 comments on “FIA enlists McLaren to supply F1 engine sensors”

    1. Let’s hope the sensors aren’t as slow as their cars!

      1. It’s OK… Honda aren’t evolved.

        1. *involved

          1. You were right first time.

    2. I guess I’m out of touch with Formula E. I thought that they were trying to attract multiple battery suppliers in order to encourage development of battery technologies?

      1. Not yet. They are freeing up the regs gradually, from it initially being a spec series in year 1.

        Further down the line, the battery will be “opened up”, but at the moment it’s a spec part.

        Not that I agree with this. IMHO the battery should have been the first area to be developed as it has the most potential for development.

      2. @jimg the manufacturers in there develop mostly the drive-trains.

        You can find different specifications gearboxes for example. And how power is deployed. That sort of thing

        But, because it is a spec series, batteries (which are the source of power) and the chassis are the same for everybody

      3. No, they’re focused on making electric cars look as laughable as possible in an effort to stop their proliferation. Or at least that’s the only conclusion I can draw from such a poorly-planned, shambolic series.

    3. I wonder, could Mclaren tamper with those sold sensors to keep the other teams slow ?

      1. @redbullf1

        No. Sensors have to me homologated and calibrated.

        Most likely they send them in batches to FIA, and then they are distributed by the teams (McLaren included) with specific bar codes or something similar.

        1. Oh that makes sense, Thanks for the answer. @johnmilk

        2. And there’s *no* way they could *possibly* pull a Volkswagen and have the sensor detect what car it’s in. Oh, no. That’s unpossible.

          McLaren should never have been given the keys to the kingdom. Even if they’re the rare F1 team that can resist impropriety, it still gives the strong impression of being unsporting. F1 should have sourced its standard equipment from companies which have no direct interest in any F1 team, but of course it didn’t actually go that route.

          1. You don’t hear the other teams complaining do you?

            1. @robbie, I agree that a lot of the comments in this thread are rather hyperbolic, and it is notable that the teams seem to be far more relaxed about this change than the fans. The sensors in question here are pretty basic pieces of equipment – we’re effectively talking about nothing more complex than thermocouples and a piezoelectric chip – so I don’t see what the fuss is about.

          2. The adds on this website should start promoting tinfoil hats. Just in case

          3. Neatly ignoring the fact that McLaren have been supplying the ECUs since the V8 era

            1. No, actually. That’s why I said “McLaren should never have been given the keys to the kingdom”, not “McLaren shouldn’t be being given the keys to the kingdom.”

              It doesn’t only matter whether there’s impropriety or sporting unfairness. It *also* matters whether there’s a perception of impropriety or sporting unfairness.

              Unless they have qualified experts inspect every line of code in the ECU and any subsequent updates to its software, the FIA cannot guarantee it isn’t cheating. I rather doubt they’re investing the time and money in a forensic analysis of the software.

              And even if they’re not cheating (which I agree they’re *probably* not, although cheating is rife in F1), they’re benefiting financially from the sport in a way which no other team is doing, which gives them as a company an unfair advantage over their rivals (and especially the backmarker teams). That’s not much better than Ferrari being given boatloads of extra money just for being Ferrari, if I’m honest.

            2. @knoxploration

              The reason for the standard ecu is precisely so that the fia can ensure teams are not hiding features in the code like traction control or abs disguised as other routines.
              When traction control was banned, teams found ways of hiding the feature in the ecu, everyone using the same ecru and software for it means the experts can easily inspect the code using a common software tool across all teams.

              Your reply couldn’t be more wrong. :(

            3. Lets be honest. If McLaren/Honds are cheating with the ECU it aint exactly giving them an advantage.

            4. they’re benefiting financially from the sport in a way which no other team is doing, which gives them as a company an unfair advantage over their rivals (and especially the backmarker teams). That’s not much better than Ferrari being given boatloads of extra money just for being Ferrari, if I’m honest.

              Uhm, what now? Doing business is now gaining an unfair advantage? McLaren supplying ECUs to F1 is no other than Williams supplying KERS to Porsche. Manufacturer provides a product for a client.

            5. Matthew Gary Hook
              31st January 2017, 10:31

              McLaren aren’t the only team to benefit financially from F1. Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault all supply engines to other teams, and they don’t do that for free.

      2. They could, but if they get caught, they’ll be bankrupt before you can say “What do you mean by “illegal”?

        The electronics business at McLaren supplies a number of racing series (including F1), and if they were found to be playing favorites, that would be the end of their company pretty quickly.

    4. If I recall correctly, the standard ECU was there in 2008 to govern the use of driver aids.
      Can someone explain me how they have standard ECU and can use custom engine mappings?
      I mean, traction control i.e. is an engine mapping, right?

      1. The ECU is a universal ECU with many customisable input and outputs already built in. The softaware allows a lot of freedom with mappings and other configuration. That is the whole point of a programmable ECU.

      2. The ECU allows the FIA to monitor in real time the operation and functions of each teams cars within the regulation parameters it sets on fuel etc.

        That way and despite custom maps (which are really preferred deployment operations etc) the FIA is able to determine if there is any ‘out of bounds’ power development or driving aid in operation. Interestingly it also monitors customer engines to make sure that the engines are as equal as can be.

        It used to make me laugh when people were saying Mercedes for example had different software and better engines. The FIA has been on top of that since day one. In real time. That’s how they picked up Red Bull in the first race. Power spikes above the expected. They check the fuel flow sensors and hey presto.

        There is an extensive article on how this all works on the internet somewhere. I will try to find it.

        1. TY for the insight!

    5. Now they just have to give everyone faulty ones so they can’t tell their drivers when their engines overheating, possibly causing them to retire, and may actually get a podium next year

      1. Yeah, because their contract has no clauses against bad faith practices.

        1. @faulty, as you say, asides from the legal repercussions for something that would be a rather obvious cheat, there is also the problem that McLaren sells most of those components to multiple racing series (I believe that the temperature sensor being proposed is one that McLaren already produces for commercial sale to other teams and to other series).

          That sort of malicious action would potentially destroy most of the sales of the McLaren Applied Technologies Group – given that it makes up around 14% of the overall turnover of the McLaren Group (around £37 million in sales), it would be commercial suicide for McLaren to try something like that.

    6. I can’t see what people are on about in this thread?
      Every piece of tech we use in our daily lives got multiple manufacturers, resellers, SPs on them. Take your standard laptop for example, the chassis might be from a 3rd party like Clevo to the screen/chipset/storage coming from a direct competitor of the brand putting their logo on the lid. Same goes for the cars you own & drive.

      1. I think it’s just jokes on McLaren.
        It works on their F1 cars, not really on their applied technology.

    7. Good, Mladen is an amazing engineering company. To bad they suck at f1 last few years.

      1. Ayayay amazing autocorrect Fail. That there is McLaren.

        But in the end McLaren is a proper company, they make awesome competent roadcars and other products. It is a testament to what it takes to be good in F1, when we see them fail at it.

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