THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF F1’s HYBRID DILEMMA
systems with real-world
applications, developed at the
speed of F1. What wasn’t to like?”
Congratulations to RACER columnist Patrick Dempsey
on his first GTE-Am class win in the FIA World Endurance
Championship. As he’d be quick to point out, it’s always
a team effort. See page 18.
Paul Laguette’s love
of Star Wars – jumps
into hyperspace and
all that – is obvious
from his incredible
the early days of F1
ground effect as a
e careful what you wish for...
In theory, the hybrid power units
introduced to Formula 1 in 2014 would
be the catalyst for returning it to a
position of technological relevance it
hadn’t enjoyed since a brief (then
banned...) era of ABS, traction control
and active suspension in the early 1990s.
Cutting-edge energy-recovery systems
with real-world applications, developed at
the speed of F1. What wasn’t to like?
In reality, the spectacular job done by
Mercedes-Benz, and the contrastingly
insipid performance of its rivals, most
notably Renault and latecomer Honda,
has left F1 in a state of flux and turmoil.
The most dominant team of the last
decade, Red Bull Racing, is – somewhat
petulantly – contemplating its future in the
sport (ABOVE RIGHT, RBR team principal
Christian Horner’s 2015 default pose),
having grown weary of the shortcomings
of power-partner Renault, while McLaren’s
legacy is eroded every time Honda’s radical,
but currently woeful “BB gun” fires up.
Check out Mark Hughes’ fine critique on
why Mercedes-Benz got it so right as the
others floundered, starting page 20.
We’re not members of the “everything
about hybrid power units is terrible” club
(founder: Bernie Ecclestone). The technology
itself is fascinating, and the attempt to return
F1 to its rightful place as a tech leader is
laudable. Plus, you can argue that there will
always be winners and losers, so deal with it.
But Formula 1 needs to work out
where its priorities lie – the relevancy vs.
entertainment conundrum – before grand
prix racing becomes an ever-eroding
afterthought on the sporting landscape.
l Elsewhere in RACER ’s Technology
Issue, Marshall Pruett gets the inside story
on IndyCar’s “Year of the Aero Kit.” And,
as F1 wrestles with its switch to hybrid
power, we look at how the FIA World
Endurance Championship is preparing for
the first significant overhaul of its more
flexible take on a similar theme.
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