Formula One leads the technological way

CANADA GRAND PRIX F1/2010 - MONTREAL 13/06/2010 - LEWIS HAMILTON © FOTO ERCOLE COLOMBO

This might be tantamount to anathema for any petrol heads, like myself, who are reading this but sometimes I have to conclude that formula one is kind of pointless. I don’t mean pointless in a nihilist or emo way in which nothing matters, but rather that as sports go there’s not much of a point to it. Some of the world’s best engineers design cars whose sole purpose is to go very fast on a track over and over. It’s not like other sports are much better—kicking a ball into a goal for example—but when I think of all the money and technological talent that goes into formula one races combined with the pollution that the sport creates, I have to admit it’s rather useless.

However, I’ve come to appreciate that there is much more to it than simply driving fast. It’s exactly that talent that goes into it that makes it so special and worthwhile, in my opinion. Some of the technologies being developed in formula one go on to influence every day cars. One such example is fixing cameras round the car in order to give drivers a better view. In the last couple of years it’s been increasing difficult to buy a mid-range car that doesn’t have cameras that help with backing up or motion sensors that detect when one is too close to another object. Both those were technologies developed long ago for formula one than found mainstream use making people’s driving lives safer.

To me it seems that cutting-edge design is what drives the sport and those designs then become tweaked and easier and cheaper to produce and often the technology finds its way into the wider auto industry.

The pollution is still an issue that bothers me somewhat, but there again new technologies and experiments in formula one with electric motors is another venue for some of the brightest engineers to come together to create high-performance cars that run on green energy. This will in turn then