Formula one motor racing has the quality of the peacock’s tail about it…mostly for show and without a great deal of realworld functionality. Nevertheless, it’s such an exuberant display of engineering that I’ve got to love it.
Even something as mundane as changing tyres is transformed by F1 into a mini opera. The instant the car stops, it’s manually jacked up by only a few inches off the pitlane floor. Tyres changed, the jack is released and the car hits the deck. Millisecond mistakes here cost championship points (and horrifying amounts of cash).
Today’s invention is therefore a spring-loaded jack which doesn’t just drop the car but which fires it downwards at an acceleration greater than 9.81ms^-2. Doubling the downwards acceleration saves about 40 ms (ie about 3m when travelling at top speed…easily the difference between first and second place in a tight race).
If the rules allow it, this descent might be coordinated with the engine so that the wheels hit the deck (harder) whilst spinning at exactly the right rotation rate to give maximal acceleration from the pit lane.