For Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, energy saving was the first item on the agenda at Spa-Francorchamps, the backdrop to Sunday’s twelfth round of the Formula 1 World Championship.
Along with Shell Project Leader Mike Evans, they met students who had designed highly efficient cars to take part in the Shell Eco-Marathon, in which teams from all over the world compete to see who can cover the furthest distance using the equivalent of one kW/h of energy or one litre of fuel.
Before having a go at the wheel of six of these unusual prototypes near the famous La Source hairpin, Fernando and Kimi spent a long time talking to the young engineers, about environmental sustainability, at the event organised by Scuderia Ferrari’s technical partner Shell.
Much less powerful but greener than a Formula 1 car, the best of these innovative cars can cover one lap of the track using just 2.2 millilitres, or about a teaspoonful, whereas a Formula 1 car requires around two to three litres to cover the same distance.
Fernando Alonso: “Energy efficiency is now one of the key factors for Formula One teams in 2014 and moving forwards. As such, it’s amazing to see these students using the same technologies as the teams to keep improving SEM technology and vehicle design. It’s extremely important to have a younger generation of innovative engineers and scientists raising questions and taking part in events such as the Shell Eco-marathon and today has provided a great opportunity to see first-hand how we work together with the students to develop the latest innovations in the fields of science and technology on a daily basis. Their work is really inspiring. I wish I’d been given this opportunity when I was at school!”
Kimi Räikkönen: “I already met some of the students this year in Goodwood at the Festival of Speed and drove their simulator. It’s normal to drive apart from the low speeds and they look simple on the outside but actually they are more complicated cars and the students that build them are very smart people. I think the Shell Eco-marathon is an excellent event and gives the students a good way to learn and improve and hopefully move into bigger things in the future.”