This Slick Video Shows Why Formula 1 Is More NASA Than NASCAR

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
March 12 2014 6:25 PM

This Slick Video Shows Why Formula 1 Is More NASA Than NASCAR

20617_belgian_grand_prix_sunday
Sebastian Vettel was dominant in the RB9. The RB10 will feature some big changes under the hood.

Photo courtesy of Infiniti GP.

A far cry from stock cars driving around in circles, Formula 1 racing is the most technologically advanced sport on the planet. And with yet another set of drastic rule changes coming into play for the 2014 season, F1 team engineers have been pushed to create safer and more efficient cars without sacrificing the level of performance that has always made the sport more NASA than NASCAR.

In the video above—a sleek package put together by F1 juggernaut Infiniti Red Bull Racing—first-year team driver Daniel Ricciardo lays out the various changes that needed to be made, while the updated parts slide into place all around him with Transformers-esque flair.

Advertisement

To the naked eye, Ricciardo's (and his teammate, superstar driver Sebastian Vettel's) ride will look to have undergone only a minor makeover, but the reality under the hood tells a different story. The most drastic of Formula 1's new rules will require cars to use 30 percent less fuel, and as such, teams have to find a way to make their cars 30 percent more efficient. In addition to the restrictions on fuel, the engines will also be smaller (from last year's 2.4 liter V-8 to a 1.6 liter turbo V-6), and teams will only be allowed five of them per season (as opposed to eight last year).

As far as upgrades, teams will be able to add a gear in the gear box (from seven to eight), and most teams—Infiniti Red Bull included—hope to retain performance levels through improved aerodynamics in the body and tweaks to their cars' energy recovery systems.  

While Infiniti Red Bull and Vettel have won four consecutive Drivers' Championships and Constructors' Championships—a nearly unprecedented run in the sport—these changes could level the playing field a bit. And even if not, by simply adapting to an ever-changing sport once again, F1 engineers will have earned their paychecks and then some.

Update, March 12, 2014: This post has been updated for clarity.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

A.J. McCarthy is a Slate Video blogger.

TODAY IN SLATE

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM The Global Millionaires Club Is Booming and Losing Its Exclusivity
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 1:47 PM The Best Way to Fry an Egg
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 4:14 PM Planet Money Uncovers One Surprising Reason the Internet Is Sexist
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.