Do you feel that adrenaline rush when watching a Formula 1? The fact that you can experience some of the thrill that professional racers experience driving your own car is amazing, and we can thank the Formula One industry for that.
Why, you ask? Well, because the F1 and your daily drive have a lot of in common. No, I’m not talking about modified road cars or super cars; I’m talking about the mass produced commercial cars most people own.
The F1 industry has influenced everyday road vehicles in many ways because their engineers have always strived towards building cars with the best possible performance. We now enjoy useful enhancements inspired by the F1 industry in our daily drives. Here are some of those technologies.
DRS – Drag Reduction System
DRS is a fairly new feature in F1 and has quickly become one of the most important ones. What is a drag reduction system? A DRS consists out of a few movable elements which are located on the rear wing of the F1 car. The driver uses a button to adjust the movable rear wing elements in order to reduce the drag.
Some F1 teams have estimated that the drag is reduced by approximately 5 %, and logically, the car can achieve a higher top speed because of this. Some companies, such as McLaren and Ferrari, are already implementing DRS systems in their new sports car models to increase performance without heavy investments.
Hybrid turbochargers turn the bearing section connecting the turbine and compressor towards a generator that collects the lost energy and stores it for later use. This results in better fuel efficiency, more power and better throttle response compared to traditional turbochargers.
Blown Front Axles
A Formula One car has an axle that guides air towards brakes in order to cool them. However, there has always been a problem predicting the airflow around the wheels, and since the advent of this technology, there has been a constant desire for improvement.
The blown front axles create predictable air whirlpools beside the front wheels of the car and are shaped to improve the down force of the car. Not only does this system cool wheels and brakes, it also increases the aerodynamic efficiency of a car. Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren use this technology to increase the performance of their F1 cars.
KERS and ERS
KERS is short for kinetic energy restore system. This system was built in 1999, and its purpose is to recover the kinetic energy from a moving vehicle when it is braking. The energy which is recovered is gathered and stored into a reservoir, which is, in most cases, a high voltage battery. This energy is later used for acceleration purposes.
ERS is also an energy recovery system that works on similar principles, though it recovers a different type of energy. An ERS gathers heat from the exhaust and engine (see hybrid turbos above) while increasing the overall performance and efficiency of the engine. This energy is usually wasted. Many companies are already using this technology for their economic models.
These are just some of the newest technologies from F1 that are starting to find their way into the everyday car. Some of the most popular technologies the F1 industry has also contributed to road cars in the past are carbon/ceramic brakes, active suspensions, diffusers, traction control and many more. At the forefront of technology, the F1 industry even prompted the consultation of NASA.