Formula One definitely seems to be backtracking on the whole idea of electric propulsion, after a lot of raised eyebrows and safety concerns. Bernie Ecclestone, CEO of Formula One Management, has decided that during the 2014 season, the F1 cars will not be propelled by electricity alone, after all.
Earlier, FIA’s new technical regulation had called for an expansion of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), apart from switching to 2.4-liter V8s to 1.6-liter turbocharged V6 engines. KERS currently enables the cars to store some of the energy normally lost in the braking process, for redeployment under acceleration.
The upgraded regulations have outlined that the new system would allow for a larger battery that could also store energy recovered from the exhaust heat. But that energy would have to be used in the pit lanes, where the conventional internal combustion engine would have to be switched off. This results in the reduction of a lot of noise.
The Renault camp, which powers a growing number of teams on the grid, has expressed concerns about the noise reduction. Their worry is that, eliminating engine noise would be downright dangerous, where the personnel and cars are operating in close proximity in the pit lane. There are also concerns about the handling of a highly charged system in the pit lane.
There is another side to this, a commercial angle. Many fans come for the ultimate racing series of the planet for the noise. Therefore the noise-free electric-only propulsion would be a really bad idea, considering the economic viability of the series.
Ecclestone is strongly against this idea of electric propulsion for all the reasons.