Regenerating old ideas

Formula 1 is a fickle world. Back in March 1998 the FIA formally banned regenerative electrical motors, thus closing a loophole after rumours that McLaren had used such devices to run auxiliary pumps of the engine at certain places on each lap, which in effect gave the drivers a boost button as the horsepower needed for the auxiliaries was then available.

Seven years later the FIA has decided that the system is a good idea after all as it would help to give F1 a better image by addressing hybrid technologies and this give F1 more value to the car manufacturers in the sport as it would enable them to develop more efficient systems for their road cars. This is a sensible step forward although Mosley's idea of giving drivers a "push-to-pass" boost button, similar to that used in Champ Car is more controversial. This, however, would probably help overtaking although it would not be clear to the audiences when boost buttons were being used and when a manoeuvre was based entirely on the driver's skill.

Regenerative systems convert the forces and heat generated during heavy braking to create electricity which is then stored in a battery to be used later. The ideas do not really fit in with Mosley's low-tech vision of the future but is a gesture to the manufacturers which are looking for more rather than less technological knowledge to come from F1.

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