The BMW Group benefits from highly advanced innovations developed by the BMW Sauber Formula One Team. The main prerequisite for BMW’s comeback to Formula One in 2000 was to generate synergies between F1 and series development. It was for this reason that development of the Formula One powertrain and electronics was integrated at the Munich plant, store with the BMW Research and Innovation Centre (FIZ) playing a pivotal role. The F1 factory was set up less than a kilometre away from the think tank and the two formed a close network. “The FIZ represents the future of BMW,” states Mario Theissen. “Here you have the most capable engineers working in state-of-the-art research and development facilities. The FIZ has vast resources at its disposal, from which we benefit directly. Conversely, with its extreme technical challenges and the requisite pace of development, the company’s F1 involvement represents a unique testing ground for our technicians.
The acquired know-how remains within the company, where it benefits the development of production cars. The expertise developed for the machining of various materials and components in Formula One, such as cylinder heads or crankcases, finds its way into production cars as well the development of motorcycles at BMW Motorrad.
Further focuses are the advancement of expertise in CFRP materials and their use in body construction, the development of hybrid components for Formula One and derivatives for series models. But production vehicles also enjoy the fruits of development and logistics processes honed in the sphere of Formula One. Examples include further advances in aerodynamics and the systems control unit.
Starting in season 2009, hybrid technology can be deployed for the first time in Formula One to enhance performance and efficiency. The BMW Sauber F1 Team is working flat out on the development of the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), for example, which serves to regenerate brake energy. In doing so the BMW Sauber F1 Team is also promoting the hybrid competence of the BMW Group. Further innovations are being developed in the areas of casting technologies, powertrain and intelligent energy management.
Dr Klaus Draeger, Director of Development for BMW AG, summarises: “The BMW Group can transfer the knowledge gained within the BMW Sauber F1 Team directly into the development of standard production vehicles. This makes Formula One the ideal predevelopment platform for innovative drive technologies. The new Formula One regulations give us the opportunity to deploy innovative hybrid technology under extreme conditions and at the same time glean important insights for production development. BMW customers stand to gain from this.