Renault tabs F1 KERS system for electric car concept

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Formula One machines and road cars may look as if they’re worlds apart, but Renault is making an effort to bring those worlds closer together by utilizing the kinetic energy recovery system — or KERS — for its Twizy F1 electric concept car.

A collaboration between RenaultSport’s production car team and RenaultSport’s F1 department (which supplies engines for a number of F1 squads including Red Bull Racing), the Twizy F1 is a lightweight, rear-wheel drive single-seater that, thanks to KERS, has a claimed 0-62 mph acceleration time of 6.0 seconds.

In case you’re new to F1, the KERS system collects the kinetic energy that’s present in the waste heat created by the car under braking and converts it into power that can be used for acceleration. For the Twizy F1, KERS raises the car’s power from 17 horsepower to 97 (although the boost is only available for 14 seconds). After being stored, said energy is activated by a pair of paddles that are on the car’s steering wheel, which is taken directly from the Formula Renault 3.5 racing machines.

The Twizy F1 also boasts a body kit that mimics its Grand Prix brethren, coming complete with front and rear wings, a rear diffuser, and a set of slicks.

“We always said we wanted to create F1-derived technology that was road relevant,” said Jean-Michel Jalinier, RenaultSport F1 president and managing director in a press release. “Hopefully, this car will make a few people smile while also making a serious point…I’m not sure we’ll be seeing many of these cars on our roads, but it does show that the same principles we see on the race track can be filtered down to the road car range – this is just the evil elder brother!”

Renault has attempted to apply F1 technology to a production vehicle before. In 1994, it unleashed the four-passenger Espace F1 concept, which featured a carbon fiber body, six-speed paddle-shift gearbox, and last but not least, an 820-horsepower V10 engine as used in Williams’ 1993 challenger, the FW15C.

The Twizy F1 will make its public debut this weekend at the World Series by Renault event in Aragon, Spain.

Williams to wait until new year before making 2018 F1 driver decision

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Williams will wait until the new year before making an announcement regarding its Formula 1 driver line-up for the 2018 season.

Williams holds the final vacant seat in F1 for next year, with Felipe Massa retiring at the last race of the 2017 season in Abu Dhabi at the end of November.

The Brazilian’s departure has opened up a seat alongside Lance Stroll for 2018, which looked poised to be taken by Robert Kubica, over seven years after he last raced in F1 before injuries sustained in a rally accident appeared to cut his career short.

Doubts emerged about Kubica’s comeback following a test with Williams in its 2017-spec car in Abu Dhabi after the final race of the season, leading to Russian youngster Sergey Sirotkin becoming the favorite.

Besides Kubica and Sirotkin, ditched Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also an option, but Williams has now confirmed it will make no decision on its line-up until the new year.

Sirotkin first entered the frame in F1 in 2013 when he became a development driver at Sauber, with Russian backers SMP Racing pushing to get him a race seat for the following year.

Sirotkin missed out on a full-time role at the team, leading him to focus on racing in Formula Renault 3.5 for 2014 before spending two years in GP2, where he finished third in the standings in both seasons.

Renault struck an agreement to sign Sirotkin in a junior role in 2016, leading to a number of practice run-outs over the last two seasons, but he was passed over for a 2018 race seat when it signed Carlos Sainz Jr.

Williams emerged as an option for Sirotkin following a successful maiden test with the team in Abu Dhabi alongside Kubica, with talks now set to continue over the holiday period.

Sirotkin has not taken on a full-time race program this year, making just a single competitive appearance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with SMP Racing in the LMP2 class.

Sirotkin has also been involved in the development of the team’s BR Engineering-designed LMP1 car for the 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship season, and is likely to secure a seat should he miss out on the role at Williams.