Honda F1 website

JUNE 9, 2006

Mosley's brave new world

FIA President Max Mosley has revealed his ideas for the future of Formula 1 and is aiming to follow up his engine freeze regulations with a new era of energy storage devices and beyond that a new formula in 2011 that would restrict not the capacity of the engine but rather the energy consumed. Mosley says he wants the car manufacturers to decide on this new formula on condition that the engines are racing engines and that it would be relevant to road cars.

The other stipulation that Mosley suggested was that the energy storage devices could not weigh more than 20kg. This means that F1 teams and car manufacturers would be looking for lightweight new technologies and although Mosley suggested that such things would be cheap to find and teams could be forced to sell them on to smaller racing operations, the reality may well prove to be very different. Car manufacturers are unlikely to want to develop new technologies in racing if they immediately have to share them with their competitors. And the search for lightweight energy storage systems would mean potentially huge investments in developing technologies, notably in electrical storage systems where it is believed that nanotechnology can bring major gains in the development of ultracapacitors. Other systems could include hydraulic energy storage in highly-pressured tanks or inertia systems.

There is no doubt that such technology is ultimate good for the human race as fossil fuels become more and more limited but the fear is that development costs in F1 would go berserk and far exceed the level of investment needed in F1 today. This mitigates against the survival of small F1 teams and suggests that the future will be a world in which there will be only four or five big F1 teams and a bunch of dependent satellite operations with no real hope of ever being successful.

It will be interesting to see the reaction to these ideas from the manufacturers.