The Formula 1 motor racing series has fascinated spectators for more than 70 years, but it is more than a sport. This is a challenging job for car construction professionals and engineers and, most importantly, the innovations do not stay on the track, they also take away from everyday car drivers, changing the driving experience forever.
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“Perhaps sitting at the wheel of our iron rumak, we don’t even know that some of the innovations are due to formulas by manufacturers such as”Renault“, “Ferrari“, “Porsche” a “Mercedes Benz“In my opinion, knowing how many innovations are born in this sport, it makes us look at these legendary competitions differently,” says Jānis Trēziņš, Renault’s representative in Latvia.
We offer a selection of car technologies that we already find commonplace, but it turns out that their origins can be traced directly to F-1.
We drive hybrid engines developed by F-1 engineers
The internationally launched “green course” to reduce carbon emissions also hit the F-1 – so that “Formula 1” could continue to exist, engineers had to find a solution to reduce race car emissions while maintaining their power. This is how the idea and technology of hybrid engines was born.
“Renault is one of those carmakers that can be proud of its F-1 team, and it’s not just a matter of prestige, it allows a French-based manufacturer to develop new technologies for consumer segment vehicles as well. For example, Renault has solved the challenge of hybrid technology. “Instead of trying to connect an electric battery to a gasoline internal combustion engine, Renault engineers first created an electric engine part, which was then connected to a standard internal combustion engine,” says Trezins.
The expert explains that the main benefits of such an approach are higher power, lower costs, fewer technical failures and smoother switching between engine types.
Now, using this F-1 experience and the principles of car construction, Renault has taken a step further in the consumer segment by creating E-Tech. It is a technology that provides dynamic energy recovery and maximum power, and is based on two engines: a main electric motor and an electric / petrol engine.
“Renault’s hybrid family is currently very large, with three cars, of which the Captur E-Tech SUV uses so-called ‘full hybrid technology’, allowing the use of different engine modes – electric or petrol, separately and together. By introducing E-Tech hybrids and rechargeable hybrids alongside diesel and liquefied petroleum gas engines, Renault is diversifying its propulsion capabilities, “emphasized Trēziņš.
Part of Ferrari’s inventions is also our car – the smart steering wheel
For an F-1 pilot, there is nothing more important than controlling his vehicle and concentrating on the road. This is definitely facilitated by the “flappy paddles”, first developed in the late 1980s as semi-automatic transmission controls in Ferrari F-1 racing cars.
The paddles on the steering wheel make it easy to shift gears, as no gear lever is required. With the development of innovation, these blades are now available in a variety of vehicles, from compact hatchbacks to luxury SUVs.
Forbidden Fruit – F-1 adjustable mass damper
An adjustable mass damper is a device or part of a car suspension that consists of a spring and a shock absorber. This makes the ride smoother and the car easier to drive.
This was a modern innovation, and the first to introduce a tuned mass damper in production machines was “Citroen“. mechanical engineering had developed in such a way that it was no longer necessary to produce such an additional part.
In 2005, Rob Marshall, a Renault F-1 engineer, developed the tuned mass dampers (TMD) specifically for the Renault formula. The shock absorber was located at the front of the formula and noticeably improved the formula’s handling in sharp and slow corners, as well as on hilly or uneven roads. The main innovation created by Marshall was that this shock absorber, unlike the one created by Citroen engineers, could be adjusted and applied to each track.
Competitors constantly tried to copy it until it was banned in the German Grand Prix. This was harsh news for the Renault team, as the formula was built specifically to provide more benefits, but competitors simply added it to the forefront of the formula to slightly improve handling.
Security systems in vehicles
Controlling the car in corners, overtaking and avoiding competitors is the most important thing in “Formula 1” racing – without excellent brakes. Brake discs and pads were once the most outstanding innovation, without which we cannot imagine any car today. The first to use the brake discs and their linings was the now defunct Porsche team. This innovation changed driving habits in cities and on the highways, enabling you to brake quickly and avoid dangerous situations. Disc brake technology has significantly improved the car’s handling.
Inspired by the F-1, everyday automakers are now moving from steel disc rotors to lighter, more heat-resistant ceramic discs. Of course, the F-1 is already one step ahead in terms of technology, using carbon fiber brake discs.