A new FIA rule to be imposed for the 2014 Formula One season is causing a stir, especially with F1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone. The rule states F1 cars must run in electric 'EV' mode while in the pit lane. Ecclestone says if this rule were to be put in place, "people could be killed".
There's been a number of revisions to the Formula One rules and regulations in the past few years, all aimed at reducing F1's carbon footprint. For the 2014 season, a range of new standards will be introduced, including a mandatory replacement of the current 2.4-litre V8 engine setup by a more fuel efficient 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 layout.
In a bid to further reduce emissions, the FIA (international motorsport governing body) says F1 cars in 2014 will have to shut down their petrol motors and switch to an electric motor while in the pit lane.
It does make a lot of sense as pit lane speeds are heavily restricted anyway, so there's no real need for all that power, and no real need to burn any fuel. Ecclestone isn't happy though. He told the Daily Express imposing this rule could be a very dangerous move:
"Formula One is absolutely not the right place to have electric engines. It's like having ballet dancers with sneakers. More comfortable, but it doesn't work... There's no way that it will be electric in the pit lane. People could be killed because they won't hear the cars coming."
The original proposal of the 2014 rule was first proposed by ex-FIA president Max Mosley. Ecclestone is defending current FIA president Jean Todt but says the rule cannot be put in place. Ecclestone said,
"We can't blame Jean Todt because this was started by Max [Mosley]. It was Max's original idea. His idea is what is being promoted now."
It's an interesting issue, and one that normal electric road cars also face. When a car is being driven purely on electricity, the level of noise produced by the car at moderate to low speeds is almost non-existent.
Perhaps the FIA and Formula One could just adapt features such as audible systems that are currently available on electric vehicles like the Nissan LEAF. Such systems simply transmit a changeable note or high pitch noise to give the car some sound as it's driving along, pre-warning pedestrians that a moving car is nearby.
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