MOTORSPORT RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT - In Formula 1 the Red rises again. It rises from the ashes of an agreement signed with FIA in 2019 of which most of the details are unknown. One yes, however, and it concerns the development and research on E10 fuel that today is partially used to fuel the new era of Formula 1 single-seaters. We are not here to talk about the advantages and disadvantages that the agreement may have led to the Scuderia di Maranello in the design of a machine, who said of his driver Charles Leclerc is a "beast", but how motorsport has always been fertile ground for the study and development of cutting-edge solutions to be brought back in the production of road vehicles that we use every day.
Historically, car and motorcycle racing have always been fertile and economical grounds for field testing new technologies to be installed on series cars. Among the best that have been put under the magnifying glass we find reliability, performance elements essential for a racing vehicle, but also strength of the frame, engine performance and with the increase in sensitivity to green solutions also less polluting electric motors and fuels. Among the manufacturers most active in this regard are Psa (with Ds Automobiles, Peugeot and Citroën), Ford, Hyundai and Toyota, and Ferrari. The latter has been included in this list much more recently than the others and in particular is engaged in the study of electric motors and fuel E10, in collaboration with the partner Shell.
The F1 cars are a new generation and have brought many innovations to the stage. These include E10 fuel, a mixture of 90% fossil fuels and 10% plant-derived bioethanol. The Formula 1 project, however, is to get to 2025 with 100% sustainable fuels. The oil company Shell has thus assumed a fundamental role in the analysis and study of ecological fuels for F1 of the present and the future.
"It is definitely a huge change, but a fundamental step to make Formula 1 more sustainable," says Binotto, Ferrari team principal. "F1 has always been a platform for innovation in terms of performance, reliability and technology, and from now on it can also be a platform for sustainability. Total electrification is not the only solution, we believe that there are other solutions such as, for example, hybridization with fully sustainable fuels".
If full electric is not included for the top car category, it is for other categories, mostly promised by Alejandro Agag.
To date there are numerous races with vehicles powered by 100 electric motors: Moto E, Formula E, Extreme. But not only that, 2022 did not have time to start that we already saw a mixed competition. Audi has decided to participate in the Dakar with three totally electric vehicles, never tested before. The cars, one of them driven by the Rally Champion Carlo Sainz, after an initial hesitation, proved to be able to manage very well among the dangers of the desert winning and placing in the top positions in many stages.
The vehicles and the full electric racing cars have allowed today to have cars with rechargeable engines with equal acceleration, if not superior to a combustion engine among the most powerful. In this field, however, there are still many limits to be studied and solved: price, battery maintenance, distribution of charging stations, autonomy, the main ones.
The contribution of motorsport to road car improvements is not limited to the technologies that make them up or to engine power systems, but also to tyres. Single-seater races with open wheels usually have smooth, grooved tyres only in case of rain. Formula E is an exception. Michelin, the sole distributor of tires for this series provides the teams with only grooved tires, just like those from the road. This, however, single-seaters only run on city circuits and in races there is no tire change in case of rain. And it is precisely on the conditions in case of wet asphalt that the studies focus.
Uno degli elementi che viene osservato è la reazione delle gomme con la pioggia, in particolar modo relativamente al fenomeno dell’aquaplaning. Questo è infatti un fenomeno molto pericoloso per gli automobilisti, anche per i più esperti, compresi i piloti da corsa.
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Viola Meacci attends the course of studies of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Pisa. Her organizational skills allow her to manage a large group of authors. Editor, Account Manager and User Interface & SEO are some of his current tasks.