How Formula One Made Your Car More Sustainable
Formula One racing may not be on your priority list for weekend sport watching, but green automotive enthusiasts should take note: the advanced technology in your new eco friendly car was most likely used on Formula One cars before it landed on your driveway.
The pit crew for Formula One teams are constantly trying to alter vehicle diagnostics in order to keep each driver on the track for as long as possible. The game plan is the same for all of us, whether we're on the track going 200+ MPH or just trying to save some money on our daily commute: use fuel saving devices whenever possible to increase fuel economy and reduce emissions.
So how exactly does technology in Formula One cars migrate to your car? To begin, consumer car manufacturers and racing teams are both under pressure from governments to reduce emissions. This translates to smaller engines with turbochargers, which yield a similar power output compared to naturally-aspirated engines. Advanced aerodynamics are also being utilized in both types of cars to reduce drag and let the car drive without as much wind resistance. The exterior of the Toyota Prius, for example, is a perfect example of how auto manufacturers have taken a page from Formula One teams and included sleek front ends that help create more eco friendly cars.
Lightweight materials that make up the body of the car, such as aluminum or carbon fiber, are also helping to keep weight down on more consumer cars as production costs go down for manufacturers. McLaren, a company with a rich racing history, was the first to put carbon fiber in Formula One cars back in the 1980s, and is now the first to create an all carbon fiber chassis for their newest road car, the MP4-12C, optimizing safety and performance simultaneously using the light, but extremely rigid, material.
While automakers are constantly innovating their cars to be as efficient as possible, there are also plenty of aftermarket products and accessories available today to help make your car greener. Nitrogen inflated tires have been used for years by Formula One teams as a fuel saving device that also improves handling.