Qinetiq is to enter the world of Formula One, following an agreement with BMW Williams that will see its technologies used in racing car development.
The UK company said it will initially employ systems used in its defence work. Materials developed for military aircraft, for example, are stronger and more heat-resistant than conventional materials used in F1 cars, so fewer should be needed. This means vehicles will be lighter, the company claimed.
Predictive software — introduced to determine the aerodynamic properties of stealth aircraft — could also be used to improve existing car designs or develop alternative options.
And GPS technology, originally developed to land military aircraft automatically, will be used to determine the exact position of the car on the track to an accuracy of 2.5cm, providing the team with useful data.
Qinetiq’s chief executive Sir John Chisholm said he hoped the partnership will act as a showcase for UK technology.
‘Formula One adopts the world’s most innovative technological developments well ahead of other businesses,’ he said.
‘A technical partnership with the BMW Williams F1 team is a natural association where we can show the world the power of UK innovation.’
Qinetiq is not the first technology company to join forces with an F1 team. BAE Systems has been working with McLaren for a number of years, after the aerospace company realised the benefits of trialling its emerging technologies on the tough conditions of a racing car. In return McLaren gets access to BAE’s engineers and technologies.