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Vehicle launch control systems

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One of the greatest challenges to a racing driver is that of the standing start away from the grid. At a time when places can be won or lost in a fraction of a second, the ability to match the engine torque to the maximum tractive effort between tyre and track is a great skill. Made even more difficult by the ‘peaky’ nature of the engine’s power delivery, the trick of balancing the clutch position against the throttle opening for best getaway is difficult enough to achieve...

Prospects for driverless cars

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Needing as it does the support of the automotive industry for its very survival, motor racing has embraced fuel efficiency, hybrids and now electric vehicles. But what about that other major concern of the industry today – the driverless car? If the FIA were to open Formula One to driverless cars next year, what are the chances – disregarding the available development time, hypothetically speaking – that one of the top teams would field a car quicker over either a...


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I remember the first time I came across the term ‘multiplexing’. It was in the early 1980s when I was working at an engineering company, and we were looking to save weight in the door of a luxury vehicle. At the time, electrical or electronic components on vehicles were not as common as they are now, but those that were needed copious amounts of electrical wiring in order to operate them. This was heavy, expensive and unreliable. The object therefore was to replace all the wiring...

Racecar connector coating materials

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The use of electrical or electronic systems in vehicles has never been greater. Like it or not, with the increasing sophistication of control brought about by more prescriptive regulatory demands or demands for even greater fuel savings, the role of electronics or electrical componentry in the racecar can only increase in years to come. And since every electrical component, sensor or actuator has at least one electrical connection to the loom, the quality and reliability of these...

Control electronics for the ERS-K and the ERS-H

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The advent of Energy Recovery Systems (ERS) in Formula One since 2009 has brought a new breed of electronic device into the sport, the ERS control electronics (CE). With Formula One’s greater exploitation of ERS for 2014, and with only five CE units allowed for the year, the CE has become very important. The function of the CE is to control the ac three-phase power of the Motor Generator Units (MGUs) and the dc power from the battery. Currently Formula One uses two MGUs, one for the...