The FIA, governing body of Formula One racing, is issuing automakers a technical challenge: create a system that uses brake heat to boost short-term acceleration. Such energy-retention systems, a spokesperson said, would not only benefit F1 racing, but also be directly applicable to consumers' vehicles, much in the way widespread use of turbochargers in the 1980s allowed carmakers to keep fuel economy numbers down, while offering consumers on-demand horsepower. (Of course, we all know how that turned out.) [Thanks to Richard for the tip.]
The UK's Guardian quoted McLaren CEO, Martin Whitmarsh as saying such systems are attractive, in that they could offer drivers an extra 60 horsepower in five-second bursts, to aid in passing.
But the FIA's challenge could also mark a positive strategic move toward forming closer bonds betwen F1 and carmakers' (or, in F1 parlance, "constructors'") technology development. Broadening the use of F1 as a test bed (or, according to the FIA spokesperson, a "shop window") for consumer-level technologies could benefit both groups, not only in tech development, but marketing as well. We'll see how much clout F1 has by whether or not carmakers step up.