Magazine article Earth Island Journal

High Performance Fuel Economy

Magazine article Earth Island Journal

High Performance Fuel Economy

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Gear heads around the world are in mourning. The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) in Monaco, the governing body of the legendary Formula One racing circuit, announced in late 2010 that by 2013 Formula One engines would be reduced from the current 2A-liter V8s to four-cylinder 1.6-liter turbocharged units with a rev limit of 12,000 rpm, and linked to hybrid kinetic energy recovery systems. Translation: The high-pitched V8 squeal Formula One aficionados hold dear is about to go the way of the dodo. While avid Formula One fans fear this will make their favorite race slightly less exciting, FIA insists the only change to the race will be slightly quieter cars and a smaller environmental footprint.

The new Formula One engines, which reportedly cost in the ballpark of $150 million to develop, will burn at least 35 percent less fuel, saving 85 to 90 liters of fuel per car per race; that's about a full tank of fuel, so it's a significant savings. And according to independent engine-maker Cosworth, the combination of the turbo engine and hybrid systems will produce more than 700 bhp and deliver the same speeds as at present. In fact, with low drag setup, the laps could be even quicker than those logged now.

"Formula One has had a hard look at itself and said 'We've got to be more relevant,'" Team Lotus owner Tony Fernandes, whose cars are actually painted green, says. "Formula One is now going to be a driver and a leader in terms of environmental technology. …

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