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Can Formula One help save the world?

07 Rhagfyr 2007

Can the Formula One circus, as it flies from high-octane event to high-octane event around the world, ever be environmentally friendly?

That was the issue addressed by two University academics at a Cardiff Science Café, which came to some surprising conclusions.

Professor Karen Holford of the School of Engineering, and Dr Paul Nieuwenhuis, director of the Centre for Automotive Industry Research at Cardiff Business School, agreed that technological advances from the motor racing world had already helped produce greener cars.

Dr Nieuwenhuis pointed out that many motor racing cars were using alternative fuels, including the Audi TDI, winner in Le Mans in 2006. Advances in aerodynamics, carbonfibre structures and tyre technology have also passed from motor sport to mainstream motoring.

Professor Holford got Cardiff involved in the Formula Student racing project, in which students design, build and race their own cars. She told the café that many of the brightest engineers wanted to get involved in Formula One.

She added: "Many young engineers in the University are already coming up with fantastic ideas for sustainability.

"I believe that scientists and engineers together will solve the global energy problem and motor sport will continue to inspire and fund them."

The event was hosted by Wendy Sadler, of Cardiff University spin-out science made simple, which promotes public engagement with science.

The Science Cafés are an opportunity for the public to find out more about new, exciting and topical areas of science.