back to article McLaren teams up with chip firm for F1 hybrid tech

McLaren Electronic Systems has partnered chip maker Freescale to not only improve the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) in sibling company McLaren Racing's 2011 Formula 1 challenger but also of seeing smaller, lighter, more efficient hybrid systems trickle down to the average motorist. The 2009 F1 regulations permit the …


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  1. Graham Marsden

    Toro Rosso...

    ... will surely be using a system which injects caffeine directly into the engine (or perhaps the driver...!)

  2. Anonymous Coward

    My take on it...

    To me, the flywheel arrangement is asking for trouble - to store enough energy to be useful will result in enough gyroscopic forces to cause problems.

    I don't know the full regs, but I'd go with electronic - save the energy under braking and release it under acceleration, but release it through the _front_ wheels - that would then be very useful on the exits of corners. You could counter any understeer thus carry more speed through the corners and/or turn tighter than those red cars!

    `- The 'GO' icon for obvious reasons, although it was nearly Paris because she's almost as fast as an F1 car!

  3. Chronos Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    The ten teams

    "what will make up the 2009 F1 grid"

    Please tell me ElReg have NOT, to be fair, added Blunder to the list of wot are, for sure, hacks. ;o)


  4. Warhelmet

    What would Jesus have said?

    It used to be said that motorsport technology spin-offs found their way into production cars. It is now the case that many features found on production cars are banned in Formula 1.

    KERS is pointless. If Formula 1 and motorsport in general want to improve their green credentials, the only way they can do this is by developing greener technologies that will find their way into production cars. KERS is going to have zero impact on the environment given the huge energy costs associated with the whole of the Formula 1 circus.

    At the end of the day, what it boils down to is reducing usage and dependence on fossil fuels. Maybe Formula 1 could switch to bio-fuels? Or go a lot further down the hybrid route and drive the wheels directly with electric motors. Reducing the amount of fuel that a car is allowed to use during a race would be a good first step.

    And some of the banned technologies should be allowed back if they enhance fuel economy.

    And for those who says that it wouldn't work, that it would destroy the spectacle of Formula 1, erm, what do those Le Mans winning Audis run on?

  5. Sam

    gyroscopic force problems

    Couldn't this be used to an advantage instead, maybe with variable orientation of the gyroscope?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Can we have a Wide Area Network version please?

    For obvious reasons ;)

  7. Outcast
    Thumb Up


    Freescale chips ?

    Gotta be MorphOS controlling it then.

  8. Robert Grant

    Speed boost?

    Never mind that - when are we getting blue shells?

  9. David


    Doesn't a gyroscope resist change of direction rather than help it?

  10. Frank Bough


    Teams up with = is sponsored by?

  11. Matt Martin


    "not least because the only way to make F1 racing truly green would be to stop doing it, and nobody wants to see that."

    I'm not to fussed about how green they make it or not but I'm all for stopping the dull, monotony that comes every other Sunday(ish).

  12. druck Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    Its just more envirowank for the media bleat on about, while doing nothing to make the sport more competitive and interesting for people to watch.

  13. RMartin


    "release it through the _front_ wheels"

    Nice idea, but banned as F1 cars are only allowed to have drive via the rear wheels, else we'd have seen 4x4 F1 cars for years now.


    Generally though I agree that KERS does not sound like it has much applicability in the "real world". I'd prefer the FIA to give the teams greater autonomy to reach for certain goals, e.g. maximum fuel efficiency and minimum emmissions. That might encourage serious research into wacky things like diesel-electric, turbine-electric, hydrogen or even battery/supercapacitor electric. The rate of development in F1 means that we might see some real (or at least interesting) progress in these technologies.

    F1 COULD be a source of great innovation - there is huge pressure to invent and innovate, to create components with minimum mass and maximum reliability and performance, and to constantly develop. The other good thing is that money is not generally a constraint, which helps to drive innovation in a way that "normal" car companies would find difficult to justify, but who might derive the benefits further down the line. Sadly, this argument has been made before and so far with relatively little effect.

  14. Mark Allen

    F1 KERS - great acronym

    And can I just thank the FIA for coming up with such a good acronym.

    F1 KERS.... we almost don't need the WAN version :)

    I want to know what happens to that flywheel when the car hits a wall. Or other car.... I hope they have it bolted down well.... The odd wheel coming off at speed is bad enough, but that flywheel could lethal.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, please!

    "in effect giving the driver an extra ten per cent overall power that can be used as a boost for overtaking maneouvers..."

    Anyone who knows the slightest shred about motorsport will know that for any given track, there will be a couple of specific places where KERS 'boost' (NAWWWWWWZ!!!) gives the most benefit to laptime. It won't be used as 'push to pass'.

    @Mark Allen

    My dad did a bunch of racecar engineering back in the day (he had a GT1 car running a full servo suspension with stability-controlled 4-wheel-steer in 1985, believe it or not. Totally unsafe for competition, though). He did some designs for dragsters, because at the time top fuel was still wide open in terms of rules. So he came up with the idea to store the energy in a huge flywheel. Worked great - gobs of torque, smooth, no need for a transmission, etc. But if the flywheel exploded it would throw shrapnel around.

    So he said, OK, and ran the calculations again using a shield that would deflect the shrapnel toward the pavement. Only one problem - now that the force was directed down, the explosion flung the car 200 feet in the air.

    So, that one didn't quite work out.

    The Hydrogen Peroxide dragster, though, would have been great. He even submitted the design to the NHRA people. Oddly enough the rules got tied up the next season. :)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    4x4 dropped under the F1 radar in the late 60's not because of regulation but rather because bunging wings on the cars achieved the same goal without the penalties of weight and complexity.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "what do those Le Mans winning Audis run on?"

    The reason they win is because they don't run out of petrol and that over a prolonged period of time results in a win. 24h Race vs 300km (ish) F1 Race = Failed comparison. F1 is speed, Le Mans is about endurance.

  18. Norfolk Enchants Paris

    @AC #1

    Ummmm.... applying power to the front wheels increases the tendency to understeer, rear wheels to oversteer.

    However, increasing traction out of corners would be great for overtaking.

    Pity it's not allowed. Just like having 6 wheels is also now banned (not that it seemed to help).

    If they really want to make it exciting, they should reintroduce turbos and permit ground effects, 4WD and ban launch controls, traction control and other driver aids.

  19. Scott Mckenzie

    Err... restore....

    Powering the front wheels, reducing understeer..... not usually the case, as power to the fronts tends to induce understeer.

    Look at your average Saxo driving chav for further clarification.

  20. Monkey

    @Matt Martin

    Don't watch it then. Your comment suggests you have no interest in it, yet you seem to watch it just to have something to whinge about. And indeed feel it necessary to force yourself to read articles directly relating to F1. As well as comment....

    I think horse racing and eventing is one of the dullest, and sometime cruelest, sports in terms of treatment of animals. But I don't watch it and I don't make myself watch it to give me something to whinge about.

    Comment on something relevant to yourself, or make shitty comments elsewhere at least.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    @Norfolk Enchants

    - ...and ban launch controls, traction control and other driver aids.

    They did do this season just gone.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    FWD and understeer

    Yes, applying power through the front wheels AT A GIVEN STEERING ANGLE increases understeer. Front wheel power combined with increased steering angle, however, can be very beneficial to cornering, particularly on exiting a turn. Analogous to the thrust vectoring that is appearing in modern fighter jets.

  23. Jim

    What is a KERS Flywheel?

    Many here, including the author, seem to envisage an energy storage flywheel as being similar to the one you find on the end of a crankshaft of any IC engine. This is not the case. I suggest reading to understand what role the flywheel plays in KERS. Mr Taylor, you may wish to update your analysis of what BMW is "up to" as both battery or flywheel systems can give you "a nasty shock".

    Two potential problems that have been proposed for flywheels:

    1. Gyroscpic Effects

    The gyroscopic effect, or more correctly angular momentum, is a function of mass and angular velocity whereas energy storage (angular kinetic energy) is a function of mass and the square of velocity. So you can see that the a large mass is less important than a high speed (in a vacuum remember) so the KERS storage device can be (and is) designed with a very low mass rotor but stupendous max angular velocity.

    2. Safety

    What is the danger of an escaped rotor? Well the rotor is enclosed in a sealed vacuum chamber (fairly substantial) and it is light and brittle so it is pretty likely that the rotor will disintegrate (and dissipate its energy) before it becomes a danger to anyone around.

    To be honest I am surprised that so many teams have gone the battery route as, imho, this is just lazy thinking that has heaps more issues (ask Red Bull) than the storage flywheel.

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