'Pole position' for Sidney alumnus

Engineering alumnus and MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Executive Director Paddy Lowe on the formula for sporting success.

Engineering has long been one of the College’s most prominent subjects.  And one of its most well-known alumni Paddy Lowe (1981-84), Executive Director (Technical) at MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 Team, is celebrating the team’s first Constructors’ title.  Paddy was on the podium to receive the race-winning trophy in Sochi, Russia, after the team’s one-two triumph secured the championship.

Paddy Lowe joined MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS in 2013, after six years at Williams and then 20 at McLaren.  Writing in the College’s Pheon newsletter in 2012, Paddy described the "challenges and conflicts concerning environmental responsibility and commercial sustainability" facing his sport.  The 2013-14 season has seen the introduction of a significant series of new rules that have provided a stiff engineering test for the teams, as Paddy explains:

"For 2014, we saw probably the greatest change in regulations in Formula One history. The headline was ‘efficiency’ and the fact that we can now run a race with one third less fuel than in 2013 – at the same level of performance – thanks to our innovative hybrid technology, sends a great message about the technology our sport can deliver.

It also gives an important message to the automotive world in general: it’s not simply about the fuel saved by each race car on a Sunday afternoon, it’s about technology that can make a difference to series production cars in the future. We developed a whole-car solution to this efficiency challenge: it is more aerodynamically efficient, with custom-made fuels and lubricants for maximum efficiency, and a brand new downsized, hybrid Power Unit which is probably the most thermally efficient gasoline engine in the world.

Over the years, we have seen how relatively small things filtered from Formula One through to the production world, both in terms of technology and the image of what is seen as attractive. This time we have done it in a very big way! That is what Formula One should be doing: adopting and stretching innovative technologies in the most aggressive and ambitious way possible."

This is an archived news story, first posted in 2014.

For further information please contact the Fellow Communications Officer, Dr Tom Lambert (FellowCommunicationsOfficer@sid.cam.ac.uk)

News item posted Sunday, 3rd May 2015

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