Williams F1 to promote motorsport in Qatar
Williams’s 2009 FW31 car will be heading to Qatar
One of Formula 1’s most famous teams, Williams, will bring an F1 racing car to Qatar for the first time later this year.
The team has signed a deal with the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation (QMMF), which will see it assist in the development of local motorsport through education and technology projects.
The collaboration will see the Williams F1 team travel to Doha later this year to conduct a series of events around the city itself and at the Losail International Circuit with the 2009 FW31 racing car. Up to 30 members of the team will travel to Doha where they plan to impart their knowledge of motorsport technology and marketing skills to local Qatari media and students. Further details have yet to be announced.
The team has also announced that it is opening a new facility in Qatar to develop F1 technology for commercial use and will help the country grow its motorsport.
The Williams Technology Centre will be constructed in the Qatar Science and Technology Park in Doha and conduct research and development into how Williams’ F1 technology can be used in commercial and industrial fields. It will employ around 20 staff, many of whom will be Qatari.
Two projects are planned initially – the development of the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) for industrial use, and advancing Williams’ F1 simulator.
The KERS system is technology introduced for the 2009 F1 system. It stores energy from braking and then allows drivers to re-use it as a power boost during racing.
Although Williams decided not to use KERS on its cars, it developed the technology based on a Magnetically Loaded Composite (MLC) flywheel, and Williams’ chief operating officer, Alex Burns, believes it could be developed further for use in a variety of applications.
“KERS has good opportunities outside of F1,” he told AutoMiddleEast. “There will be a large investment in transport infrastructure in the Middle East over the next 10 years. The Dubai Metro is a good example of a vehicle that stops and starts regularly. We want to upscale our flywheel and take it to a much larger product, for example, a metro train could use it to store braking energy and re-use it when it pulls out of a station.”
The simulator is used by F1 drivers to train and also to set cars up for different tracks. Best described as a giant computer game, it contains huge amounts of data on cars, tracks and conditions and allows both drivers and engineers to prepare for races when testing at the real location is not possible.
‘We think there’s the potential to commercialise that similar technology for a number of markets,” Burns explained. “Other motorsport series for example – F1 is the pinnacle but A1GP or GP2 often race at the circuits that we already race on in F1. We can modify the simulator technology and sell time to those drivers.”
Williams also sees potential in creating simulators for use in road safety training.
“Qatar has a particularly high per capita accident rate on the roads. There are a lot of people with very powerful cars and sometimes they lose control of them. There’s the potential to scan streets or particular accident black spots and recreate them.”
Burns also admitted that as well as being worthy and useful, the simulator was also great fun to use, and said versions of it could be used for events or corporate entertainment.