A reason to feel OK about F1’s coming turbo engines

I suspect it’s safe to say that some folks love the BBC’s take on Formula 1, others don’t. Some people seem to be pretty big fans of the BBC’s Andrew Benson, others not so much.

Whatever your take on both, I think you owe it to yourself to give this piece a good look. It succinctly lays forth the coming rule changes involving the new turbo engines, makes an argument for Lewis Hamilton’s move to Mercedes and touches on the PR around a “green” F1.

But the following is why I really urge you to read it:

The idea of the rules was to align F1 much more closely with the direction the motor industry is taking, and for those who doubt that F1 development has an effect on road cars, Mercedes have an eye-opening counter-argument.

The new SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive is a version of Mercedes’ current supercar powered only by four electric motors. It is also the most powerful car the company’s performance arm AMG has ever produced.

It has 750bhp, an astonishing 1000Nm (newtonmetres) of torque (almost double that of a Ferrari 458), does 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds and has a range of 250km. A total re-charge should take between one and four hours, depending on the facilities.

That has only been possible, Mercedes say, because of the demands of F1 Kers systems pushing the limits of power density of battery cells. That lowered cooling requirements, which means more cells can be used in a given space.

The hope is that the new F1 engine formula will affect road-car development in similar ways.

That’s a taste of the F1 a lot of us — you know, us old guys — grew up with, and the F1 you lucky younger folks keep hearing talked about in the same wistful tones granted pinball machines, Big Wheels and bathtub gin.

Maybe a good future is ahead?

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