Anyone doubting Formula One's temperance movement has legs need only cast their F1-geek eyes on the latest Constructors' champ's entry for the aught eight season. Yesterday, Ferrari's F2008 car became the first showing among new cars that must comply with the latest technology prohibition by Formula One's own Robin Hood, Bernie Ecclestone and his "Merry Man" Max Mosley. They've robbed from the rich and given unto the lowest common demoninator, standardizing engine computing and banning most driver aids. All that, they say, to force F1 to be more of a drivers' contest. This is just an intermission, however; the next wave of development will start before next decade. But first, there's the whole matter of giving up some of drivers' favorite toys.
Topping the no-use list for 2008 are traction control, launch control and engine braking. A standard ECU developed by Microsoft and rival McLaren now control most functions. The new box manages the entire drivetrain, including gearbox — which now must last four consecutive races — and differential. The leaves aerodynamics as the major area for tweakage, and Ferrari's reconfigured its '08 car, vowed to make more changes in time for the Australian Grand Prix in March, and says it will keep tweaking all season. Between 2009 and 2011, the greening will accelerate, with a range of fuel-efficiency tech set to go online, starting with brake-energy recovery systems, moving to the reuse of exhaust gases to propel the car and a return to turbocharging to reduce engine speeds. All that, Ecclestone and Mosley tout, will bring F1's development direction back in line with that of passenger cars. Bah. We'd rather see F1 more unfettered — you know, biodiesel-powered turbine cars producing 20,000 hp, with aero kits creating downforce enough to suck low-earth satellites out of orbit. No sleep till 500 mph on the straights!