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Published on April 22nd, 2008 | by Benjamin Jones

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Formula 1 Racing to Go Hybrid from 2009-2013

April 22nd, 2008 by  
 

It’s not quite the same type of hybrid drive-train you’d see in street vehicles, but in an exciting announcement, Max Mosely of F1 has announced that all cars will become hybrid by 2013, along with other changes to the vehicles.

The hybrid system that will be phased in is known as KERS, which stands for Kinetic Energy Recovery System. KERS doesn’t store as much energy as a traditional hybrid system, but it only weighs 55 pounds and the limited energy storage capacity is well suited for Formula-style racing.

The biggest difference between KERS and a regular battery-electric hybrid is that KERS stores recovered waste energy in a rotating flywheel. Instead of converting waste energy into electricity and than back into useful energy again with an electric motor, KERS simply transfers the kinetic energy to a ~5kg flywheel in the F1 car’s transmission. The energy stored in the flywheel can then be used by the driver by pushing a “boost” button.

KERS is particularly exciting for us regular car drivers because the creators have claimed that it is twice as efficient as a standard hybrid system. If this system can be applied to production vehicles, it will be possible to realize huge improvements in fuel economy and pretty respectable reductions in GHG emissions.

Related Posts on Hybrid Cars and Other Technology:

[social_buttons] Source: F1-Live


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About the Author

Benjamin Jones is a student of Dartmouth College and co-founder of EcoModder.com and writer at CollegeVegan.com. He is double majoring in Japanese and Linguistics, and is most interested in Sociolinguistics and Anthropology in Japan.



  • Rob

    Wasn’t something like this already implemented in a real car?

  • Rob

    Wasn’t something like this already implemented in a real car?

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  • James Dehnert

    The problem is that this is a mandated. Formula 1 is supposed to represent the pinnacle of technology, but the powers that be have made changes to “reduce costs” and then they come up with this stuff. F1 needs to have these “cost reduction” measures tossed and allow the teams to concentrate on bringing the best technology they can to the track. If energy recovery is part of one teams strategy, then great, if not, fine. In the mean time F1 management is screwing thins up with things like a common ECU. If there is too much commonality then we have a spec series, and we may as well just have 1 manufacturer provide the cars. There are series like this already, but F1 is not supposed to be like that.

  • James Dehnert

    The problem is that this is a mandated. Formula 1 is supposed to represent the pinnacle of technology, but the powers that be have made changes to “reduce costs” and then they come up with this stuff. F1 needs to have these “cost reduction” measures tossed and allow the teams to concentrate on bringing the best technology they can to the track. If energy recovery is part of one teams strategy, then great, if not, fine. In the mean time F1 management is screwing thins up with things like a common ECU. If there is too much commonality then we have a spec series, and we may as well just have 1 manufacturer provide the cars. There are series like this already, but F1 is not supposed to be like that.

  • Well this is good news. Wonder if they announce this just in time for Earth Day?

  • Well this is good news. Wonder if they announce this just in time for Earth Day?

  • Daniel

    Introducing KERS is a big mistake by the incompetent F1 and FIA bosses. First of all, if going green is the target here, they need to look into Hydrogen or Biofuel. Introducing KERS will not fully address the issue since their main fuel is still gas and WILL polute and the cost will go up because teams will spend more money in developing a more efficient KERS than the competition.

    In a more general note, going hybrid will not address the issue if the main fuel still polutes and the car number increases; it just makes the general pollution increase less, and NOT necessary decrease.

  • Daniel

    Introducing KERS is a big mistake by the incompetent F1 and FIA bosses. First of all, if going green is the target here, they need to look into Hydrogen or Biofuel. Introducing KERS will not fully address the issue since their main fuel is still gas and WILL polute and the cost will go up because teams will spend more money in developing a more efficient KERS than the competition.

    In a more general note, going hybrid will not address the issue if the main fuel still polutes and the car number increases; it just makes the general pollution increase less, and NOT necessary decrease.

  • Paul

    Yeah right! Mosley can say what he likes about F1 seeing as he’s about to be fired for having, and I quote, “a Nazi themed bondage orgy with 6 hookers”, the videos are on youtube if proof is needed that this sicko shouldn’t go anywhere near a civilised discussion.

  • Paul

    Yeah right! Mosley can say what he likes about F1 seeing as he’s about to be fired for having, and I quote, “a Nazi themed bondage orgy with 6 hookers”, the videos are on youtube if proof is needed that this sicko shouldn’t go anywhere near a civilised discussion.

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  • It’s about time that the F1 helps developping hybrid technologie.

  • It’s about time that the F1 helps developping hybrid technologie.

  • Chuck Botts

    It would seem that if this technology is so very good for recovering braking energy, city buses would be the best display of this technologies advantages. But it would not make headlines, just save energy money if it works.

  • Chuck Botts

    It would seem that if this technology is so very good for recovering braking energy, city buses would be the best display of this technologies advantages. But it would not make headlines, just save energy money if it works.

  • jlo

    James – F1 represents its proprietors’ wishes. It is also so expensive, that the competitive field has run out of independent teams. How much more advanced can an ECU get at the moment? They are clearly focusing on technologies that have a mainstream demand in the near future. That is the present state of the art.

    I’m sorry you don’t have your flying jetcar yet.

  • jlo

    James – F1 represents its proprietors’ wishes. It is also so expensive, that the competitive field has run out of independent teams. How much more advanced can an ECU get at the moment? They are clearly focusing on technologies that have a mainstream demand in the near future. That is the present state of the art.

    I’m sorry you don’t have your flying jetcar yet.

  • Tomo

    Wasn’t there going to be a halt on engine development on F1 engines for the next 10 years or something?

  • Tomo

    Wasn’t there going to be a halt on engine development on F1 engines for the next 10 years or something?

  • Winston Monroe

    I remember seeing a kinetic energy storage / boost concept a couple of years back… don’t know whatever happened to it…

    the concept basically used a half empty hydraulic tube / pump on a truck ( under the truck, in the center, close to the drive shaft )

    whenever you braked, the fluid in the tube would rush to the rear of the truck / tube… and thus some energy was stored…

    and when you accelerated again, the stored kinetic energy was released to help speed up…

    maybe it was a GMC Denali concept, but I’m not sure…

  • Winston Monroe

    I remember seeing a kinetic energy storage / boost concept a couple of years back… don’t know whatever happened to it…

    the concept basically used a half empty hydraulic tube / pump on a truck ( under the truck, in the center, close to the drive shaft )

    whenever you braked, the fluid in the tube would rush to the rear of the truck / tube… and thus some energy was stored…

    and when you accelerated again, the stored kinetic energy was released to help speed up…

    maybe it was a GMC Denali concept, but I’m not sure…

  • Tadd Moore

    Taking James’ comments to their logical end, there would be only three or four teams in Formula 1. I think that would be far less exciting to watch. Whether or not a common ECU is a good idea is certainly debatable, but the parade-like racing people decry in F1 these days would only worsen if teams operated without restriction.

    I think you might enjoy a series without drivers using robotic/automated cars better than watching F1. Certainly the technology is unparalleled in F1, but the fact that a human still has to pilot the thing is what makes it compelling. I applaud the removal of traction control, etc. for that very reason. The car should be a challenge to drive.

    Incidentally, to other onlookers, F1 cars introduced a KERS-like system nearly 10 years ago…it was banned despite being a great idea. It worked on the braking system rather than the transmission…gave cars a huge advantage accelerating out of slow corners. They also introduced things like sequential (tiptronic) gearboxes that most of us now enjoy, and the active suspension systems on many nicer cars…in the 1980’s. THAT is what makes F1 so intriguing.

  • Tadd Moore

    Taking James’ comments to their logical end, there would be only three or four teams in Formula 1. I think that would be far less exciting to watch. Whether or not a common ECU is a good idea is certainly debatable, but the parade-like racing people decry in F1 these days would only worsen if teams operated without restriction.

    I think you might enjoy a series without drivers using robotic/automated cars better than watching F1. Certainly the technology is unparalleled in F1, but the fact that a human still has to pilot the thing is what makes it compelling. I applaud the removal of traction control, etc. for that very reason. The car should be a challenge to drive.

    Incidentally, to other onlookers, F1 cars introduced a KERS-like system nearly 10 years ago…it was banned despite being a great idea. It worked on the braking system rather than the transmission…gave cars a huge advantage accelerating out of slow corners. They also introduced things like sequential (tiptronic) gearboxes that most of us now enjoy, and the active suspension systems on many nicer cars…in the 1980’s. THAT is what makes F1 so intriguing.

  • Tadd Moore

    Taking James’ comments to their logical end, there would be only three or four teams in Formula 1. I think that would be far less exciting to watch. Whether or not a common ECU is a good idea is certainly debatable, but the parade-like racing people decry in F1 these days would only worsen if teams operated without restriction.

    I think you might enjoy a series without drivers using robotic/automated cars better than watching F1. Certainly the technology is unparalleled in F1, but the fact that a human still has to pilot the thing is what makes it compelling. I applaud the removal of traction control, etc. for that very reason. The car should be a challenge to drive.

    Incidentally, to other onlookers, F1 cars introduced a KERS-like system nearly 10 years ago…it was banned despite being a great idea. It worked on the braking system rather than the transmission…gave cars a huge advantage accelerating out of slow corners. They also introduced things like sequential (tiptronic) gearboxes that most of us now enjoy, and the active suspension systems on many nicer cars…in the 1980’s. THAT is what makes F1 so intriguing.

  • danielwhite

    F1 shouldn’t be concentrating on green technology, they should be creating more opportunities for the car companies to manufacture new technology to make the cars go round the track faster… It’s like saying to a runner to not wear shoes in a race…

  • danielwhite

    F1 shouldn’t be concentrating on green technology, they should be creating more opportunities for the car companies to manufacture new technology to make the cars go round the track faster… It’s like saying to a runner to not wear shoes in a race…

  • David Jellinek

    If F1 were serious about remaining the peak of racing and tech, and not turning into a spec series, and was also serious about wanting to “go green,” the solution is easy: 1) cap the amount of fuel a team is allowed on a given race weekend and for testing; 2) cap the allowable pollution. Do that, eliminate the std ECU and std tires (and impending std aero, etc), and you are done.

    DJ

  • David Jellinek

    If F1 were serious about remaining the peak of racing and tech, and not turning into a spec series, and was also serious about wanting to “go green,” the solution is easy: 1) cap the amount of fuel a team is allowed on a given race weekend and for testing; 2) cap the allowable pollution. Do that, eliminate the std ECU and std tires (and impending std aero, etc), and you are done.

    DJ

  • David Jellinek

    If F1 were serious about remaining the peak of racing and tech, and not turning into a spec series, and was also serious about wanting to “go green,” the solution is easy: 1) cap the amount of fuel a team is allowed on a given race weekend and for testing; 2) cap the allowable pollution. Do that, eliminate the std ECU and std tires (and impending std aero, etc), and you are done.

    DJ

  • Auntie Mabel

    its interesting that domestic car manufacturers have not picked up on this technology. Does it actually work?

  • Auntie Mabel

    its interesting that domestic car manufacturers have not picked up on this technology. Does it actually work?

  • Auntie Mabel

    its interesting that domestic car manufacturers have not picked up on this technology. Does it actually work?

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  • Space

    danielwhite, you are mistaken, this is not a green technology, it is a performance enhancement.

    It just makes the cars faster. It doesn’t reduce pollution at all.

    It might become a green technology if it gets applied to regular cars as a way to compensate for the loss of power caused by using smaller (and therefore greener) engines.

  • Space

    danielwhite, you are mistaken, this is not a green technology, it is a performance enhancement.

    It just makes the cars faster. It doesn’t reduce pollution at all.

    It might become a green technology if it gets applied to regular cars as a way to compensate for the loss of power caused by using smaller (and therefore greener) engines.

  • Space

    danielwhite, you are mistaken, this is not a green technology, it is a performance enhancement.

    It just makes the cars faster. It doesn’t reduce pollution at all.

    It might become a green technology if it gets applied to regular cars as a way to compensate for the loss of power caused by using smaller (and therefore greener) engines.

  • I personally think it will be a longer time for them to go this route as there won’t be 100% agreement

  • I personally think it will be a longer time for them to go this route as there won’t be 100% agreement

  • I personally think it will be a longer time for them to go this route as there won’t be 100% agreement

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  • randy

    f1 is trying to help the earth and they are doing very well with their technology right now.

  • randy

    f1 is trying to help the earth and they are doing very well with their technology right now.

  • randy

    f1 is trying to help the earth and they are doing very well with their technology right now.

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  • F1 is only two years behind the American Le Mans Series.

    The ALMS had had hybrids racing since 2007.

    Glad to see that other racing series are following the direction of the American Le Mans Series!

  • F1 is only two years behind the American Le Mans Series.

    The ALMS had had hybrids racing since 2007.

    Glad to see that other racing series are following the direction of the American Le Mans Series!

  • F1 is only two years behind the American Le Mans Series.

    The ALMS had had hybrids racing since 2007.

    Glad to see that other racing series are following the direction of the American Le Mans Series!

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