The Williams tech chief, also F1 Racing’s regular columnist, takes part in a very special Q&A, translating the more scientific aspects of the sport into plain English in his inimitable style
Having worked in Formula 1 for more than 30 years, Williams’s chief technical ofcer knows a thing or two about the sport. Every month in F1 Racing, Pat Symonds brings his wisdom to our monthly ‘Inside Tech’ column, but we thought it was time he answered some of your technical questions directly.
It’s our policy not to show our interviewees their questions ahead of time, but we made an exception in Pat’s case – not for censorship, but rather because he was keen to research any for which he did not already have a thorough answer on the tip of his tongue. Indeed, as you will see, quite a bit of work with a calculator was needed at one point, and Pat thanked our readers for testing the limits of his knowledge.
We meet at Silverstone and retreat to the middle deck of the Williams motorhome in the paddock. But when we’re only halfway through the questions, Pat has to leave for another engagement. “Don’t worry, stay put,” he reassures us. “I’m enjoying these so much I’ll come back and answer them all.” Indeed, so comprehensive were his responses that this month we’ve devoted a little more space than usual to answer your technical queries.
Can the energy captured by hybrid engines be saved for extra seconds of power the driver needs it, or must it always be used on the next lap? Kenneth Trask, Canada The answer to this one is that these are true hybrid power units, so the electrical energy and the energy from the normal internal combustion engine are almost one and the same thing. When a racing driver presses down on the throttle, the system decides how much power comes from petrol and how much is electrical. In qualifying, we’re using everything we can, whereas in the race we tend to be balancing it that little bit more.