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Efficiency technologies in motorsport: LMP1 regulations the better F1 regulations

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Efficiency technologies in motorsport
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M a prophetic gifts seem to be limited. When Formula 1 introduced energy recovery via the brakes in 2009, I was inclined to regard this as a clumsy green paint job: You had just given in to the zeitgeist, like someone who hates Facebook but still participates because everyone is doing it. A small betrayal of the cause of motorsport, but one that was not meant to change the world. Green motorsport seemed at best to be a fashion trend; the extremes of environmental protection and the radicalism of motorsport were too contradictory. So, so be it.

Significantly faster with less energy

Well, I was wrong about the introduction new efficiency technologies in top-class motorsport taught me better. Of course, the approach has changed: Green technologies are no longer a fig leaf for the defense of sport, they have become performance tools with the praiseworthy goal of reducing consumption and CO2 emissions.

At Le Mans the Audi V12 diesel engine still burned 280 MJ per lap in 2008, today its successor drives significantly faster with half the cylinders - and with half the energy, namely with exactly 138 MJ per lap. If you didn't congratulate you, you probably didn't hear the shot.

Of course, the success of the introduction of efficiency technologies in motorsport has turned out differently. I dare to say that the paradigm shift in Formula 1 did more harm than good. I can understand that you had to build a stage for new technologies for manufacturers in order to keep them going. The implementation has not increased the fascination of this extreme variety of motorsport, because Formula 1 offers a uniform technical mix - for the engines as well as for the hybrid system.

LMP1 regulations are the better F1 regulations

Probably the Formula 1 makers would have been better advised to keep the acoustic spectacle of the naturally aspirated engines and to supplement them moderately with performance-enhancing efficiency technologies. In any case, I cannot see that the green F1 revolution would have clearly improved the product or - with the exception of Honda - attracted new manufacturers.

The findings in endurance racing are completely contrary: These are the LMP1 regulations better F1 regulations because it fuels technological competitionand allows different concepts, for the engine as well as the hybrid system or the energy storage.

In any case, the current LMP1 cars are the best and most spectacular prototypes that we have ever had, despite or because of the efficiency technologies. Toyota shows off 1,000 hp, lap times have become faster, consumption has fallen and the variety of technical concepts has increased. And on top of that, the sport on the racetrack - as the WEC season finale in São Paulo demonstrated - is simply phenomenal. It's not for nothing that more and more F1 drivers are jealously glancing at the long-haul scene - or are even thinking loudly about a change.

Green paint no cold coffee

If the makers of the Le Mans regulations have their way, the technical diversity will even increase in the future: biogas or hydrogen, fuel cells or CO2-neutral fuels, plus exotic concepts such as the five-stroke engine - In addition to further reductions in fuel consumption in the internal combustion engine, everything is conceivable, feasible and desirable.

The introduction of efficiency technologies has in no way harmed motorsport, even if the successes in their implementation varied. You don't have to be a prophet to realize that efficiency will remain the core issue in motorsport. So the green paint isn't cold coffee.


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