We’re just a couple of races away from the end of this Formula 1 season, and it has been nothing short of a spectacular journey. Both Mercedes drivers are now gunning for the Drivers’ Championship title, while the team backing them has already won the Constructors’ title.
We’ve seen a lot of new technologies being introduced this year as well. Brands behind the F1 teams are pushing hard and doing more research to gain a competitive advantage. Some of this tech will be making its way to road cars in the near future. Before we can enjoy the new F1 tech, however, there are some very popular technologies already available in road cars today.
The DSG or Direct-Shift Gearbox
F1 transmission technologies always make their way to road cars one way or another. The original automatic transmission was actually developed for F1 cars. Today, almost all cars are available with an automatic transmission either as standard or as a premium option.
The Direct-Shift Gearbox or DSG is the latest piece of F1 transmission technology to make it to road cars. Unlike automatic transmission, DSG allows drivers to change gears manually without needing a clutch to facilitate the change. The gear change happens smoothly too.
If your car has a shift-pedal behind the steering wheel or you see a +/- sign on the automatic gear leaver, then chances are you have a DSG transmission. There are other technologies that present the same benefits, but Direct-Shift Gearbox guarantees the smoothest change and the best performance.
Engine Start/Stop Button
Yes, that small button you press to start the engine is actually an F1 technology that has been adopted to suit road cars. Inserting a key and turning it to start the engine is considered too time-consuming, so car manufacturers are developing their own version of the engine start/stop button.
BMW, for example, has a slot into which you place your key. Once the key is inserted, you can press a button to start the engine. This makes sure you don’t accidentally start the car. Almost all BMW cars for sale already have this technology as standard.
Other brands such as Mercedes choose to use near-field communications to sense the presence of a key. Whenever the key is near enough or inside the car, the engine start/stop button can turn the engine. Walk away, and the engine will automatically switch off.
Carbon Fibre and New Materials
Carbon fibre may be reserved for higher-end, luxury sports cars, but that doesn’t mean other materials used by F1 cars haven’t made their way to road cars. The use of aluminium and the tub design were both derived from F1 cars. The same can be said for lighter, thinner glass and even plastic.
Cars today are so much better because these materials – and the previous F1 technologies we talked about earlier – are available. Other technologies such as KERS – or regenerative breaking – and hybrid engines will soon make their way to road cars as well, guaranteeing a better driving experience and a safer ride altogether.
Watch this space for regular updates in the Sport category on Running Wolf’s Rant.