Formula One in Qatar
Williams F1 In Qatar to Save Energy - and Lives!
Also see: The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix | The Bahrain GP
Williams was the first Formula One team to set up a base in Qatar. We sent our technology correspondent/racing nut to find out why.
Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al-Thani gets settled into the cockpit.
Formula One has come to Qatar, although not (yet!) in the form of a Grand Prix.
Williams F1 Grand Prix racing team have joined up with Qatar Science and Technology Park in order to use F1 derived ideas to save energy - and maybe also to save lives.
...they have become the first F1 racing team ever to branch out into commercial R&D.
In the process they have become the first F1 racing team ever to branch out into commercial R&D.
So, what do they have to offer that other companies can't? (Apart from, of course, incredibly fast cars.)
In reply, Williams told Qatar Visitor that "the company is geared to achieve results in far shorter lead times than other comparable organisations".
QV Translation: They can do things quickly!
In fact, this is obvious to anyone who follows F1 as parts have to be designed, developed, manufactured and fitted in between two races - normally just two weeks, or about a quarter of the time Qatar takes to process the average resident's permit!
According to Williams' Communication Manager Liam Clogger, Qatar was chosen because it wishes to develop a knowledge-based economy and has made considerable investment in the infrastructure at QSTP.
QV Translation: Qatar is willing to spend some of its huge pots of money on technology.
"Geographically it is also well located to sell resulting technologies to the ME, Asiapac and the Indian subcontinent as well as back in Europe".
Or as Qatar Airways like to say, it's half way to anywhere.
Blurring stands at Losail International Circuit. .
There are two projects planned at present. The first derives from the KERS
energy recovery system allowed in last year's F1 regulations. Here,
energy which would otherwise be lost during deceleration is recovered
and used during subsequent acceleration.
The aim is to scale-up this system to make mass transport more energy efficient, and even to back up hospital energy systems to provide emergency cover in the event of power failure.
Williams' Unique System
Williams believe they have a system which offers unique advantages by using
a light weight, high momentum Magnetic Loaded Composite flywheel concept,
which radically improves the performance compared to more conventional
designs incorporating permanent magnets - and is much less environmentally
damaging than conventional hybrid cars using lead/acid batteries.
Electric Power Stabilisation (EPS) smoothes out fluctuations in electric power
supply typically found in wind power generators or from unstable grids.
The estimated market for this technology is US$250m over the next three years!
The estimated market for this technology is US$250m over the next three years - a sum which which could Williams could potentially use to cover the entire costs of their drivers' champagne!
Do you want to drive an F1 car?
You could sit in a Williams F1 car and lap Lusail race track at high speed, without any danger to yourself, the car or others. Or indeed drive any circuit in the F1 calendar. This is the second project in hand at the Williams Technology Centre.
Trying out the new Formula One simulator in the UK.
Williams have developed extremely sophisticated simulators for their F1 cars, partly to offset the high costs of on-track testing but also to compensate for the limited time available under F1 rules for drivers to become familiar with the season's new cars and to practice the many different circuits.
Now Williams are looking to capitalise on this expertise in the development of simulators for new driver training for both cars and public service vehicles and also for entertainment products.
Driver training on simulators would be much more cost effective, runs no risk to the trainees or others and allows training for emergencies and hazards without posing any dangers.
William's Association with Qatar
Williams has other developing relationships with a country obsessed with cars.
Not only did Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al-Thani travel to Williams Oxford headquarters in order to have a test and familiarisation course on the Williams F1 simulator but Williams brought their F1 car here to Qatar, where Sheikh Khalid impressed them with several laps of Lusail circuit.
Sheikh Khalid takes the Williams Formula One for a quick spin around Losail International Circuit.
Rubens Barrichello also tested here in December 2009 and Nico Hulkenberg, promoted from test driver to team mate, followed a course of training at the Aspire Academy in Doha.
With all the above happening, Qatar Visitor asked Liam Clogger if there was
likely to be a Qatari sponsor for Williams.
"As an independent team we are highly reliant on our sponsorship income, so
we welcome commercial partnerships where-ever they come from. Given
our established presence in Qatar, some form of commercial relationship
would serve to deepen our links with the country and would be welcomed
but not expected or anticipated at this stage".
QV Translation: "Bring it on!"
By our technology correspondent.
Thanks to AT&TWilliams for the use of the images in this article.