Whilst Formula 1 cars can be considered to be amongst some of the most advanced and technical machines around, there are a number of innovations to have come from motorsport that has made their way to traditional production cars that are available to everyone else.
Indeed, anyone who has watched the Grand Prix that have taken place over the years and continue to do so will find it difficult not to be impressed by the vehicles that continue to whizz around some of the world’s most iconic racetracks on a regular basis, with many who like to bet on Formula 1 taking note of how each car is built and how they can potentially be better than the others on the grid.
These machines feature a number of rather brilliant and exceptional pieces of technology that would be hard to imagine on a traditional road car that any normal individual would drive, however it would seem that some of them have started to make their way to the automotive world in more recent times.
Let’s take a look at some of the most obvious ones:
When you take a look at F1 cars, it is extremely noticeable that the drivers are tightly fitted within the car and do not have much space to move around. Their steering wheel is extremely akin to a controller that would be used for a games console, however, it is also noticeable that some of the cars will feature paddle sticks.
These paddles, which can also be called paddle shifters, are instrumental in allowing drivers to change gears as they race across the track and those with newer cars may have noticed that these have been incorporated into their road vehicles now, instead of a traditional gear stick.
The paddle shifters were introduced in the 1980s by Ferrari as they looked to try and help their drivers change gears without having to take their hands off the wheel and it seems to be an innovation that many car manufacturers have embraced.
It might seem a little odd to think that F1 had a role in the aerodynamics of everyday road cars, however, they certainly did. When Michael May decided to add an inverted wing to his Porsche Type 550 to make it stable, he found that it had worked as it would improve the stability of his car, as well as the traction and handling when he beat all of the other Porsches that he competed against in its first race at the Nürburgring in 1956.
After this, it did not take that long for production cars to start to be built with aerodynamic bodies, whilst innovative designs and new technologies continued to take place in the 1970s as Lotus found that adding skirts would allow the car to have constant downforce and low drag.
Still, to this day, Formula 1 cars still follow the design principle, whilst many road cars will use spoilers and wings to try and be as aerodynamic as possible, which will then help them to experience improved performance and fuel efficiency.
Carbon fiber parts
Although it can be incredibly difficult to find a production car that features a carbon fiber body – unless you have a certain level of wealth and want a sports car – there are a number of components within a vehicle that will feature this lightweight material.
Despite being incredibly lightweight and allowing for vehicles to be lighter than they initially were, carbon fiber is an exceptionally strong material as well and can be rather robust, thus allowing people to be a little safer when they are involved in a collision.
It would not be a surprise to see this material become more mainstream within the automotive industry once it becomes cheaper and easier to access.