17 Nisan 2011 Pazar

European Union Asks Formula 1 to go Electric

In 2006, Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth brought global warming to the forefront of the world’s consciousness. Regardless of what end of the spectrum you stand on this issue, you have to admit that it’s real, it’s bad and if we don’t do anything it’s only going to get worse. To me and many others, it’s that simple.
So naturally we’re targeting the obvious culprits: Big Mining, Big Agriculture and Big Automotive. We’re also encouraging the average man and woman to use less and be environmentally responsible. So what about the world’s biggest and most prestigious automotive racing category: Formula 1? What are they doing to stem the tide of global warming?
In the considered opinion of the European Union: not enough. For instance, according to Formula1.com, a modern F1 car returns a far-from-green average fuel economy rating of about 75 L / 100 km (4 mpg). Even a big block V8 routed through a slovenly 4spd automatic tranny will return, at worst, around 17 L / 100 km (14 mpg). The EU’s answer? Go electric!
By asking the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, F1’s governing body, to further incorporate electric vehicles into their race series the EU hopes to raise public awareness and generate positive interest in green(er) transport. At the moment, their plans are limited to electric cars, go-karts and single seat racers but the obvious implication is it may one day reach the Formula 1 stage.
FIA President Jean Todt explains: “We want as soon as possible to have new categories with new energy. As much as we can do it all over the world, we will do it.”
The European Union has already loaned its consortium’s automotive industries €6bn (US$9.6bn) towards greener cars, so this is an obvious step. Not everyone is happy with the plans though, among them F1 “commercial supremo” Bernie Ecclestone.
Mr. Todt explains: “The racing community are only interested in how to improve performance because they want to win. If you speak to the boards of manufacturers they feel a strong interest to implement the technologies, which are not so obvious for the sporting community because it costs money and research and it doesn’t improve performance, and I understand that.”
Despite this though, Mr. Todt is committed to his plan for introduce small capacity turbocharged hybrids for the 2013 F1 season. The question on everyone’s mind is this: will F1 survive the conversion to Team Green?