What sets motorsport apart from other sports is the balance of man and machine in competition. Victory is never won only by people or cars, but sometimes by a difficult combination of the two.
Throughout the history of the F1, the importance of the engine in the mix has grown and waned, but in the last decade, the turbocharged hybrid V6 has led the sport to make a significant step forward in technological stakes. Some engine parts, at least for a while, were truly top notch.
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But can manufacturers continue to justify the cost of their sophisticated motors when they’re already made to look outdated by their all-electric counterparts?
F1 ‘HAS NO OTHER MUNICIPALITY EXCEPT FOR ELECTRICITY
As the world moves faster and faster from fossil fuels to electrification, the question of Formula One’s own propulsion and its integration into the wider landscape will increasingly come into focus.
The F1 powertrain is charged as the most efficient motor in the world and is comfortably more powerful than equivalent all-electric motors, but progress is coming thick and fast. You’ve already seen it on the road – electric mobility isn’t on the road; it’s already here.
And although he has a clear interest as president of Formula E, Alejandro Agag says that electric motors are advancing so fast that it is only a matter of time before F1 will have to seriously consider a replacement.
“Unless someone says, ‘No, we’d rather go slower and keep up with petrol,'” he said, as he quotes Race.
“By developing battery technology in electric cars, one day we will go faster.
“Today we could go faster; the only thing is that we would not have energy in the battery.
“It simply came to our notice then. The amount of energy the battery can store will arrive, the battery will be lighter. The progress we have had in Formula E through Gen1, Gen2, Gen3 – that is astonishing. This is how I see it. “
The current Formula 1 powertrain produces more than 750 kilowatts, of which about 120 kilowatts are produced electrically. The next generation of engines should be introduced in 2026 and will reportedly increase electrical power to about 350 kilowatts, although how much of that will be usable will depend on battery capacity.
At the same time, the sport will switch to fully synthetic fuel, after switching to E10 this season. F1 believes that an internal combustion engine can still have a long future with sustainable gasoline.
Agag, who controls FIA’s exclusive rights to fully electric racing through Formula E, says he wants to create greater synergies between his sport and Formula 1 to create space for both as the world around them changes.
“I’m currently working on it without much success, but it’s one of my real goals, to find a way for Formula 1 and Formula E to coexist in a very coordinated way,” he said. “So let’s see if we can make it happen.”
THE HOT FORM OF ALEX ALBON TO PRE-SUPERSTITION
Alex Albon has only just returned to Formula One full-time this season, but he has already developed a healthy – and very noticeable – superstition behind his scoring form.
On the eve of the Australian Grand Prix, he paid a charity visit to a Thai orphanage, where he offered to have his hair dyed by one of the children who had already bleached his hair.
When he arrived at the F1 paddock in Melbourne, he was wearing a red hairstyle. He went with those first points of the season after a superbly executed strategy, early checking the framework for a team that has struggled to score at all in recent years.
The color washed off his hair before the next race in Italy, where he finished in a torturous 11th place and just so without points.
The connection was clearly clear, and when he arrived in Miami his hair was bright red again.
Here, he left with two points for ninth place and superstition was born.
“No upgrades are ever needed, you just need to color your hair!” he told Sky Sports.
Had teammate Nicholas Latifi not been such a nice guy, he might have considered attacking Albon for dyeing his hair before the Spanish Grand Prix to return on equal terms.
‘MAYBE EASIER’: ROMAIN GROSJEAN EXPLAINS DIFFERENCES OF INDYCAR AND F1
The high-profile visit of Formula 1 to the United States drew attention to Colton Hertha, who has been rumored for months to find a way to jump from IndyCar to Formula One.
The American has signed a contract with Andretti Autosport, which is trying to join Formula 1 2024. He is also McLaren’s latest development driver, which recently prompted some sometimes imaginative rumors of a faster rise in the sport.
The route from IndyCar to Formula 1 is not new, but it is rare for a driver to switch, and even less often to do so successfully. Jacques Villeneuve did best in the transition, winning the car title in 1995 and the F1 championship in 1997.
Several went in the opposite direction, jumping from F1 to IndyCar, the latest being 10-time F1 podium winner Romain Grosjean, who joined the sport last year and has since won four podiums in the United States.
He is in the best position to consider the challenges Herta or any IndyCar driver aspiring to F1 would face, and believes the attention paid to detail needed to succeed in Formula 1 would make it harder to cross the West-East Atlantic than the opposite.
“I guess it might be easier to switch from F1 to Indy,” he told Fox Sports. “The IndyCar is a more basic car with less air but probably more mechanical grip.
“F1 is very specific because of the tires and their small size [operating] Windows. If you’ve been driving a sliding car forever and all of a sudden you have to change clothes [your style]it will be a tough switch. ”
“At IndyCar, you can change the lineup a lot and make it to your liking. In F1 you are dictated by the aerodynamics of the car.
“You have to work hard through IndyCar and glide a lot, while in F1 you have to be smooth.
“It’s a pretty different approach to driving. The use of gas is not key in IndyCar, but it is in F1. ”
But he added that doesn’t mean the IndyCar field is less talented than F1 competitors. Indeed, in the Frenchman’s opinion, IndyCar drivers are seriously underestimated by the FIA, which gives the series fewer points for a super license than for Formula 2.
“It’s completely wrong because the championship has an incredible level and so much skill is needed to win around ovals and street and road tracks with very different layouts,” he said. “It should give a lot more points than it is.”