The Formula 1, a driver to car innovations

What about the ECONOMY in Formula 1? 

The Concorde Agreements, which delimit the rules for the world championships of Formula 1, must be renewed in 2021. Thus, from 2021, the 

teams will have budget limits for the performance of the car by the FIA. The Formula 1 industry is aware that it can no longer spend without limits. Thus a budget is allocated and will vary each year depending on the analyzes. This budgetary limitation will benefit investors in new stables but will also make it possible to perpetuate the stables already present. Discussions started in 2019 in London and raised a second economic point: the redistribution of profits from F1 to allow more equality. The sharing of funds will have to be more balanced and based on merit. The historical recognition of certain stables will therefore be placed in the background.

SOCIAL impact of the industry

The Formula 1 industry is living a deep social change especially regarding the role of women. Indeed, it is very uncommon to see them as pilote or even as team manager. However, women’s role was limited to grid-girls or pit babes positions. Since 2018, they have been replaced by children because were in total contradiction with the modern social norms. Now, they are mostly present in the communication or marketing teams. 

TECHNOLOGY, a legacy for the automotive industry 

Technology can quickly change the price and competitive landscape in an industry in a very short period of time. Many of the technologies developed in Formula 1 have been transposed to the cars most of us drive today and vice versa. For racing teams, the need to innovate is not just about maximizing profit potential but also about staying competitive with others. 

Technological factors that can influence this may include the following: 

– Recent technological developments and breakthroughs made by competitors, as mentioned above. 

– The ease, and therefore the speed, with which the technology will be disseminated to other companies in the industry, which will lead other companies to copy the technological processes/characteristics. 

– To what extent an improvement in technology would improve/transform what the product originally offers. If this improvement is drastic, other companies in the industry suffer more. 

Hypocrisy towards ECOLOGY 

When we think of F1, we imagine big cars burning liters and liters of petrol and using dozens of tires per race in order to lift a trophy and uncork bottles of champagne on the podium. This image is at the antipodes of actual ecological subjects. In an attempt to counter this image, the FIA has taken a number of measures to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Before switching to electric motors, one of the main measures will be to run on biofuel from factories powered by renewable energies. Many denounce the hypocrisy of these announcements coming from a sport where the cars consume 45 liters per 100km. 

MEDIA in Formula 1 

F1 is one of the most publicized events in the world run by the FIA, the International Automobile Federation and Liberty Media, an American media company. 

POLITICS, more and more present in Formula 1 

Politics have always played an influential role in F1. However, this influence tend to be regulated in many aspect of motor racing. 

Monetary Policy 

Some team can’t compete versus the level of Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull, and McLaren. It is a vicious circle because richest team will win competitions, so they will have more money to invest in their car. 

But in 2021, a new regulation will be introduced in F1. It will limit the formula 1 teams’ budget to reduce the gaps due to a lack of found for the smallest teams. 

The report recommended the publication of salaries and accounts in line with recognized international standards to increased financial transparency. 


This new regulation will lead to a higher stability in the F1 world in term of equipment, budget or even rules. The more all the aspect of the F1 controlled by a common rule are, the less the chance to see F1 rules change in the next year is. 


As in the soccer world, there is a federation (FIA) whose task is to regulate and promotes motor sports, of which the F1 is a part. And the presidency of this federation, currently occupied by the French ex pilot Jean Todt, is subject to a vote every 4 years. In a context of corruption in many sport federations, it would be advantageous for the FIA to Politically position itself as an example of transparency and governance in sport. 


Since his election, Jean Todt has always been a strong support to innovations in F1. Indeed, he helped to inaugurate a championship using only electric cars called formula E in 2014. In 2019, the F1 has announced an ambitious sustainability plan to have a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030. 

LEGAL driving decisions 

The Fl’s regulations are set up by the FIA (International Automobile Federation). Most of the rules are driven by security research. Indeed, the FIA is making more and more regulations to improve facilities and equipment to ensure pilots’s safety. Then, it is also driven by a need to reduce costs and fees of this sport. 

The ETHICAL pillars of Formula 1 


Integrity is defined as a moral value that serves as a reference and guides our choices and actions. It implies a notion of honesty. A person of integrity is an individual on whom we can rely, whose value choices are reliable and stable. In F1 racing, drivers and teams must avoid any conflict of interest (trickery, bribery). 

Dignity and respect 

There shall be no discrimination between participants in FIA an F1 activities on grounds of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, philosophical or political opinion, family status or other grounds. 


The disclosure of any information or opinion must be made in accordance with the principles, guidelines and objectives of the FIA and its members. One of the qualities required is discretion, the world of F1 is based on R&d and complex technology and those who have access to this type of information must not divulge it.

INNOVATION : The car structure

Many Innovations in the Formula 1 car’ shape

The diffuser is an area of bodywork at the rear of the car where the air flowing below the car exits. Its goal is create a car downforce, exactly like wings do. The suction effect is a result of Bernoulli’s equation, which states that where speed of the fluid is higher, pressure must be lower. Originally designed by Brawn GP formula team, diffusers and wings have progressively been implemented in individual cars like in the BMW M3 F80 in 2014.

To oppose or eradicate the oscillating forces, Renauld engineers suggested the use of a tuneable mass damper, similar in concept of those placed at the top of some skyscrapers to protect them from earthquakes. In 2019, some car constructors used mass dampers in their products, especially in sportive and fast cars which are more sensible to road vibrations. Audi has even invented suspensions with adaptive damper control.

Innovation in the material used

It was in 1981 that McClarren first used a carbon monocoque chassis for its F1 model 1965 McLaren M2A. Before that moment, chassis were made in different pieces in steel. This composite material is twice as strong as steel but five times lighter. 

Nowadays nobody can imagine a sports car without a carbon fiber monocoque. We can find it in many different vehicles as the new BMW i3 which uses a carbon fiber monocoque chassis, but it’s still far from mainstream.

Written by Paul DE ROQUEMAUREL 

INNOVATION : The electric motor

The electric future of F1: McLaren imagined what Formula 1 would be like in 2050 by inventing a new, more efficient electric motor.

Today F1 is turning to hybrid engines that couple thermal and electric power and allow the car to reach a top speed of 360 km / h. The Renault F1 MGU-K engine makes it possible to recover kinetic energy under braking and return it to acceleration to complete the V6 engine.

Renault Energy F1 MGU-K

McLaren, for its part, was already supplying the motors for Formula E (competition including only electric motors on single-seaters) but decided to have a long-term vision by inventing a new electric motor.

McLaren has imagined an induction charging system that will allow the car to recharge itself alone during the race and no longer thanks to so-called “plug-in” charging stations. So the car will only have an electric motor. The car absorbs the power of the ground via an inductive resonant coupling which could give the car a top speed of 500 km / h. This innovation will no doubt give ideas to car manufacturers for everyday cars.

written by Manon OCHS-LEDOUX

Importance of steering-wheel

F1’s steering-wheel has about 20 control buttons including driver assistance systems. It improves safety and accuracy. There is 500 possible combinations to use those buttons known by heart by the drivers. In addition, you will find a graphic display on the steering-wheel but also a head-up display in order to keep the eyes focused on the road.

All those innovations from F1 are now adapted to most of the new cars making the driving in safety. Some constructors are working on brand new F1 with very innovative steering-wheel. For example, Mercedes created the EQ Sylver Arrow that has a touchscreen included in the steering-wheel. The cabin is futuristic and very comfortable. The driver has access to a 3D image of the overall environment giving all the information he needs.

Written by Charlotte BOUILLOUX-LAFONT

Pirelli, one season, one range : 

It is the Italian Pirelli who has had the monopoly since 2011. Every year, the supplier offers a wider range of products, in order to offer the most suitable rubber for each track, temperature and atmospheric pressure. The softer a rubber is, the more grip it offers, but it also wears out more quickly. For the 2019 season, Pirelli is offering 3 different rubbers for the so-called “dry” or “slick” tyres, compared to 7 the previous seasons. These 3, uniform and smooth, are designed for use on dry tracks. In addition to these, there are two extra tyres for rain. These have grooves in the tread that allow water to run off to prevent aquaplaning. 

written by Alexandre SERVEL 

INNOVATION: The anti-lock braking systems (ABS)  

 The anti-lock braking systems (ABS) is made up of several components: a sensor on each wheel of the vehicle, a regulator and a hydraulic brake control system. The regulator analyses the wheel speed information sent by the sensors. If it detects that a wheel is locked, it releases pressure on the wheel so that it starts to turn again. As soon as the wheel regains grip, the system increases the brake pressure.

In 1985, the Ford Scorpio was the first vehicle to be equipped with it as standard, it was an invention coming from the civil automobile that followed it is standardized in the world of F1, in 1990 the world of F1 ceased to occupy this type of infrastructure on these vehicles because it considered that the judgement of the driver was more efficient and relevant.

We can see that the world of the civil automobile and F1 are connected, some inventions from Formula 1 go into the public domain and vice versa.

Written by Florian SALOME

Challenges of tomorrow for formula 1

*please find the complete SWOT+ version on the Drive


An innovation, in order to be sustainable need to be efficient in social, environmental, technological and economical aspects.

It’s relevant to see the economical part of this innovation. In Formula E, one season cost 4 million of euros instead of 250 million for the formula 1 so with classic engines. In fact, the thermic engine uses oil to work that cost a lot contrary to the electric motor. The electric motor is designed to last, to consume less energy with a high level of productivity that give him a high efficiency

Hybrid cars are using a newer technology that require strong knowledges and can be more and more innovative. The electric motor is on the cutting-edge of technology. 

The electric motor raise social problems. Car’s manufacturer need more human resources to assemble a thermic engine than a electric motor. But, this new technology involve new jobs creation. In another part, the electric motor gives advantages like noise reduction during competition.Environmental: For the environnemental part we saw plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVS) and all-electric vehicles (EVS) are both capable of being powered solely by electricity, which is produced from natural gas, coal, nuclear energy, and renewable resources. The electric cars carbon emission is lower  than for classical vehicles.

For the environnemental part we saw plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVS) and all-electric vehicles (EVS) are both capable of being powered solely by electricity, which is produced from natural gas, coal, nuclear energy, and renewable resources. The electric cars carbon emission is lower  than for classical vehicles.

Ecology :
Formula 1 federation implemented a series of measures to reduce the environmental impact and reach the carbon neutrality by the year 2030 using biofuel. Formula 1 has a strong impact  on ecology and want to reduce carbon emissions around the car (team displacements, plant of racing team, TV shows…) 

Network :
Currently, recharging is free of charge in many public/private places, and more and more super-chargers are build in city. And many studies prooved that shops around chargers have seen their revenues increased after the chargers have been implanted.

The automotive industry had to adapt to this new technology implementation, and has seen its human resources needs change and has created new jobs opportunities.

Circularity :
Formula 1 federation, willing to be more ecological and environmental sensitive, attract  new kind of sponsors for races. The “greenwashing” permit to seduce a different public, more sensitive to environment questions.


→ How is the industry investing in innovation? 

The main constructors of Formula 1 are massively investing into innovation in order to stay competitive within the market but also track. Indeed, there are many different ways to innovate in this sector. It can be innovation regarding the way of producing the cars or even innovation regarding the Formula 1 itself. 

Nowadays, the industry needs to understand the new economical challenges and concerns in order to survive. The cars cannot pollute like in the past because younger generations are more and more concerned about this problematic. 

Drive for change:

Those changes are driven by pressure from the public opinion. People are taking their responsibilities and there is a real consumer behavior change. The constructors must adapt to stay competitive and to attract new and younger customers. We can observe a real awareness on this topic. 

For example, Lewis Hamilton is now very active into ecology and environmental impact which was a bit controversial but as he said “Being part of the problem is not that important but being part of the solution is”.

Constructors are investing a lot of money in the Formula E and in lot of sustainable innovation that will drive them to more ecology. 

Finally, the industry is investing massively in innovation in order to create a positive impact on the environment and burnish its image. 

→ How is the industry decreasing its costs?

First, some of the constructors are rethinking the engine and cars parts in order to decrease the overall costs. They are imposing limitations on the budget for some parts and redistributing the revenue. 

Secondly, another solution could be to create standardize parts to reduce costs. It would be complicated and useless to standardize the whole process but very interesting to work on some pieces. 

Then, using more AI or machine-learning could be very interesting too to reduce costs. Indeed, for example, speed simulator are very expensive and could be replaced by computers. It would significantly decrease the budget and would have probably the same result. 


The enterprise 4.0 is an interconnected organization in which people, machines and objects can interact all together. It is kind of the fusion of technology. It leads to deep disruption within all industries including the automobile. It changes profoundly the system of production and of consumption.  Applied to the automobile industry, the main challenge is to create the factory of the future. PSA is currently developing this kind of factory in order to improve the processes, reduce the total cost, create sustainable environment by having 24% of renewable energy by 2025. 

Lot of constructors such as Uber or Google are working on 100% electric cars with AI assistance without driver needed. It implies lot of ethical and moral questions still unresolved such as “Should an self-driving car kill the baby or the grandma?”. This question has no answer now, it is a real ethical problem based on global moral preferences. We do not know today if this kind of cars will be legally authorized to circulate normally one day. 

Innovating & Creating:

Within this industry there are lot of innovation and new creations. As we explained before, we can take the example of the E-Formula which is a real innovation in the Formula 1 industry. They developed this innovation starting from the existing Formula 1 to come up with a new attractive and trendy final product which is the E-Formula. 

Team & Talents:

Within the constructors, some teams are fully dedicated to this innovation because it is a completely different way of doing, working and producing. In this situation, they need experts to work in such projects. 

New Business Model:

The main goal of this innovation is to have no gas emission during competition, championships and to change the image of this polluting industry.

Operational excellence:

Each year, the constructors are improving more and more their models. Year after year, the popularity of this kind of event is increasing and there is more sponsors. The E-Formula definitely shows operational excellence because of the material chosen to construct it, because of the quality and experience of the experts working on it and mostly because of the amount of money they general invest on it. In addition, more and more famous pilots are interested into this races and are putting a lot of effort to communicate on electronic devices and non-polluting devices. 

Working across boundaries:

The constructors keep going across boundaries by constantly working on improvements and latest innovation for their E-Formula. The intense competition in this industry push them to their maximum and to over achieve themselves each season. As this is a trendy thing, people will be very interested in acting and seeing this kind of new competition. The new regulations on the emission, new consumer behavior and financial aspects constraints the constructors to go in this direction. 

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