Passenger-car gasoline in Italy costs the equivalent of around nine bucks a gallon. Formula One racing fuel goes for several euros more. And at a (full-speed) fuel consumption rate of between three and four miles per gallon, Ferrari's F1 cars can burn through heaps of Italian green during track testing. That's one reason the company, along with a few other F1-entrenched firms, are betting on the latest virtualization tech to help shave a few Euros off the high cost of testing.
F1 teams have been using simulators for years; BMW Sauber works with sponsor Intel, and Toyota Racing invested in a new, hydraulically–powered that uses data from prior seasons to simulate Monaco, the UK's Silverstone or Montreal's Ile Notre Dame. Now Ferrari has joined the game, commissioning electronic control-systems firm Moog Inc. to build a next-generation driving simulator for its headquarters in Maranello, Italy. Moog (not related to the music-synthesizer company of the 1970s) says the system will offer drivers the feel of a real environment along with the direct feedback on their actions that racing engineers need to properly develop and set up the cars' components. Not that Ferrari needs more help; last weekend the team swept the French Grand Prix.
I have had the chance to ride on one of these Motion Base Simulators that Moog is developing and I have to say, Bravo Ferrari, Bravo! The technical advantages that the Moog system can offer is above and beyond what I had expected prior to experiencing the motion base. I took two classes of Road Vehicle Dynamics at the University of Buffalo while working toward my Bachelors and from that was able to understand how much affect a small change to a vehicle's design can have on performance. Ferrari has been "fairly successful" in F1 over the years and if I had to make a prediction, expect them to improve even more.
Actually the reason they try to save fuel is because it helps them win races. The less fuel they carry, the faster they go.
So, although there is a Green-frenzy, F1 does not seem to share this mindset. Not yet, at least
The testing on an actual track with an actual car is limited on a yearly basis (30 days per year IIRC), so the reason they do this is not to save fuel, but rather to gain a competitive advantage against their competitors by applying a new technology.
But, most other teams have simulators, so the question is who has the most realistic one.
F1 will make an attempt to go green in 2009.
They should run the simulator on solar power and be as green as they can