Formula One: motor of innovation

While the question: “is F1 a sport?” has become an internet meme, many people are considering it as a polluting, expensive and unnecessary show. Even if the foreground of every grand prix is a gathering of wealth, exuberance and noisy cars; F1 has been, and still is, a major driving force of today and tomorrow’s society in terms of performance, protection, management and environment.

Since 1950 and the first Grand Prix in Silverstone, UK, the F1 industry has never stopped searching for ways to improve every detail of racing, whether it’s on the engine, the car or the personnel. Obviously many technical breakthroughs have emerged and worked their ways to regular cars. The shape of every vehicle is the result of aerodynamics studies that have shown that a flattened and well-curved car is less impacted from wind and air flow. The composition and structure of tires has now improved grip and drag, and mechanically speaking, engines have been miniaturized and optimized as well as today’s V6 (6 cylinders) are more powerful than mid-2000’s V12 engines.

BMW-Sauber car air flow. (2006)

Although these breakthrough aren’t off the charts as we’re talking about a motorsport based on performance, other fields have been impacted too. For example, the F1 industry studied the carbon fiber which is a very light and resistant materials with great properties under strain and high temperatures. In order to lighten formula one cars, this fiber has been transformed to carbon shell which is now used in every modern aerodynamic vehicle (bikes, motorcycles, planes, rockets and more). It was on a F1 circuit for the first time in 1981, and developed by Mclaren Racing. Carbon fiber’s resistance is also a huge benefit for people safety as it is now used for technical clothing or military equipment to absorb chocks without overweighting. To improve driver’s safety even more, today’s F1 cars have retention cables holding wheels to the shell and side impact bodies, technologies which will surely be added to regular autos in a near future, like it happened for the ABS (anti-lock braking system).

1981’s McLaren carbon shell.

Human management improvements are also a huge part of racing sport research. Through qualification sessions and race day, winning is a matter of milliseconds and all means are good to earn them.  2020’s Mercedes Racing Team is composed of more than 500 employees, with a hundred of engineers and technicians working every race day on the paddock around the 2 star drivers. Dealing with every personality and making the process work perfectly, everybody knowing their role, has become a master piece in F1. Big companies are inspired by biggest team directors that have lead their teams to long term winning culture, such as Jean Todt, Toto Wolf, Ron Dennis or Christian Horner; indeed its efficiency has become a world class model.

Red Bull’s managing team on the paddock. (2015)

Oddly, F1 is starting to put its print on hospital and surgical block management too. Mortality rate in British health institutes in the 90’s was the spark for huge society debates, increased in 1994 by a study showing a lack of coordination from the hospital staff. Dr Elliott and Goodman has required the Formula one team Scuderria Ferrarri to share the principles and accuracy of its pit-stop team. Pit stop is a major part of racing, whether it’s changing tires or removing broken parts of the car, many seconds can be lost in its process. To optimize its efficiency, every crew member has a strictly defined role, and knows every other member’s function, allowing him or her to improvise and react on purpose. The improvement of team member’s coordination, confidence and well-being has led to an all-time quick pit stop of 1.82s to change every tires of the RedBull car in 2019, which is the average reaction time of a human being. Helped by a choreographer, the Ferrarri pit stop crew has helped initiate a three steps process for hospital staffs to optimize their movements and reactions. The first step is to predict issues and to carry out standardized procedures as answers, then the crew has to master these procedures by periodic training, to end up with everybody knowing perfectly each coworker’s job and be able to be in charge. Hosiptals have also bought F1 teams data processors in order to fasten and sort out the patients monitoring easily.

Ferrarri pit-stop crew at work. (2019)

Formula one is now in the front row of ecological research in the automobile field. Many devices created for F1 are now common equipment for every day’s car. The thermal energy produced by the racing car is gathered and transformed in kinetic energy which is reinjected in the engine by a system called KERS (kinetic energy recovery system). It allows them to reach a 50% thermal efficiency, meaning that a F1 car recycles more energy than it loses, which is a huge improvement for a 1000 horsepower racing vehicle.  It’s not the only device reducing gas consumption created by F1 search and development teams, however their main resources are dedicated to hybrid and electrical engines. Inspired by KERS, a hybrid engine collects thermic energy then transfers it to an electric battery which is afterward used to run its electrical part. This system allows recent hybrid cars to lengthen their autonomy up to hundreds of kilometers using only their electrical component. The FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, responsible for the evolution of F1 racing) is pushing towards the development of the newly born Formula E championship in which only fully electrical cars can compete.

Ahead of its time, F1’s research has improved performance, comfort and security of today’s cars, however this industry is now looking forward to create a less polluting way of travel. The whole automobile field benefits from the new policy of the FIA aiming to dominate motorsport racing with a non-polluting championship. The search and development budget of F1 teams  exceeds a billion dollars and will continue to grow. Formula E is meant to be the new Formula One and it’s the best thing that can happen to the car industry.

What about Grenoble?

Finishing high school can be stressful, especially if you know that you will have to move out on your own. Choosing where you are going to study is a big step in every young adult’s life. Thousands of French students are in that situation every year, along with international students that decide to come to France for their studies.

How do you decide where you should go?

As a foreign student, it was very hard to decide where I wanted to pursue my studies but let me tell you why I ended up choosing Grenoble.

Grenoble by night – Source


The city itself

Grenoble, also known as the Capital of the Alps, is a French southeastern city in the middle of three mountains: Chartreuse, Vercors, and Belledonne. It is also the capital of the department of Isère in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.
It is at a perfect distance from other cities like Lyon or Paris, which lets you explore France as often as you can during your studies.
The city is small enough to make you feel welcomed, but there is still a huge variety of things to do or visit!

Ski resorts
Grenoble is the perfect city if you love winter sports like skiing or snowboarding. If you have never had the chance to try them, this is also your chance to visit some ski resorts like Chamrousse or Les Deux Alpes.
It is a lovely opportunity to spend time with your friends during Winter, away from the city life.

The Bastille
It is one of the most known main sights in Grenoble. It is located on the Chartreuse mountain, and from up there, you get a magnificent view of the city and its surroundings. You can also find some really good jogging tracks and restaurants.
You are able to go there on foot, or you can sit and enjoy a ride on the cable cars and a view over the Isère, the river that crosses the city.

View of Grenoble from the Bastille – Source

Cultural activities
There are several outstanding museums in Grenoble such as the Museum of Grenoble which has an extensive painting collection, CNAC (National Center of Contemporary Art) that has several exhibitions in store throughout the year.
As of performance halls, the Palais des Sports is not very far from campus and it hosts several famous artists.
Also, one of the cinemas that I have tried and recommend, is La Nef because it will occasionally show movies with subtitles!

Continuer la lecture de « What about Grenoble? »

Le sport : de l’activité à l’apaisement, il n’y a qu’un pas

Prête ? HOP ! Je suis lancée dans l’arène.

L’arène ? C’est simplement ce qui nous entoure : des routes, des chemins, de l’eau, avec des arbres, des plantes, des immeubles ou d’autres personnes. C’est ce moment,  celui où tu te lances courageusement vers ton objectif. Cela peut être une distance, un temps, une compétition à préparer, un peu de chocolat à éliminer, ou tout simplement pour se faire plaisir.

Dans ce moment, on peut se retrouver parfois seul, ou parfois accompagné. Mais au final, toujours face à soi-même. Au début, nos problèmes arrivent dans notre tête, ils s’entremêlent. En plus de cela, viennent s’ajouter certains éléments qui mettent notre motivation au défi : les chocs contre le sol, l’environnement trop chaud en été ou trop froid en hiver, la douleur ou encore l’inconfort. C’est pourquoi, la tentation d’écourter ce moment est manifeste. Par chance, la volonté de continuer se fait ressentir

L’eau nous portant, et nous coupant du monde extérieur, la natation est un sport adapté à tous, et sans choc pour le corps – Photo de Julie Tournour 

Il y a ce cheminement, pas après pas, longueurs après longueurs, kilomètres après kilomètres, où chaque question tente de se remettre en place dans notre tête.  A ces instants, nous nous retrouvons face à l’environnement, et où chacun se créé une bulle. Elle nous promet à la fois force et sécurité, tout en ayant notre objectif en vue. Et, grâce à tout cela, nos pensées se libèrent.  En regardant cet objectif qui est au bout du parcours, on peut voir que nos problèmes quotidiens se retrouvent comme cachés derrière lui, effacés.  C’est grâce à lui que nous trouvons en nous la force, l’énergie et le mental pour arriver à notre but. Celui que nous attendons avec impatience, que nous recherchons avec détermination, celui qui est notre final. Celui dont on sera fier. Ce n’est pas celui qui sera uniquement affiché sur nos montres cardio ou sur notre application préférée. Il sera celui qui sera gravé en nous, mentalement et physiquement. Avec au bout, un bonheur d’avoir surmonté toutes les épreuves rencontrées le long de ce parcours menant à l’objectif.

La montée de La Bastille est un parcours de Trail incontournable. Un objectif accessible mais physique, dans un cadre naturel et avec un magnifique point de vue final.

Nous oublierons presque ces moments, où, sur notre chemin, nous avons pu découvrir de nouveaux endroits, de nouveaux végétaux ou animaux. Possiblement, avons-nous croisé d’autres personnes ayant le même objectif que nous. Mais surtout, où nous avons pu absorber le calme et l’apaisement, voire un air différent, peut-être plus vert, peut-être plus pur pour nous.

Qu’on soit à pied, en maillot de bain, ou à vélo pour ne citer qu’eux, le sport est indispensable pour notre physique, mais tout autant pour notre moral. Et, entre l’activité et l’apaisement, il n’y a qu’un pas.

Interview of Guillaume, member of the BDSM (Mountain Sport Office)

⇒ Hi Guillaume! So, can you introduce yourself to those who don’t know you yet?
Hi! Of course!
My name is Guillaume Colin, I am a GCC student and the Material Manager of the BDSM.

⇒ And you are also a high level athlete, aren’t you?
Yeah, in rock climbing, I won the University French Championships and I participated in a World Cup in Chamonix last year.

⇒ So, can you tell us about the BDSM, what are the purposes of this organization?
The BDSM was founded by Thomas Bioud and Marylou Pellerin, which are currently president and vice-president of the office.
The idea of creating this organization emerged in the spring of 2018 :
the main goal was to provide the opportunity for students to meet new people and to go hiking, skiing and climbing around Grenoble.
We recruited the office’s members in the different sections of Polytech, and we started the administrative steps quickly, so that the association could be ready for the school startin September 2018.
The other purpose of the BDSM is the equipment loan : we provide members with mountain equipment.
The school management was rather against this idea, mainly for responsability’s reasons, that’s why I made a training, provided by the FFME (French Federation of Mountain and Climbing), in order to be able to manage the material.

⇒ Can you tell us about the events you have already organized, and those you planned to organize?
The first event we oragnized was an aperitif at the top of the Moucherotte, over the 60 participants, 50 of them took their BDSM membership after this event.
We also organized a DVA (Detecting and Locating Avalanche Victims) formation.
For the end of the year, we plan to organize a barbecue at Fort St Eynard, and for the next year, we want to organize a week end in the Callanques with the collaboration of Polytech Marseille!

⇒ Okay, thank you for your time and I wish you all the best for your exams!

Poly’Raid Handi-Valide 2019

Organisé par des étudiants de l’école, la 4e édition du Poly’Raid Handi-Valide a eu lieu le 28 mars 2019. L’objectif est de rassembler des personnes en situations de handicap et valides autour du sport : course d’orientation, course à pied, biathlon laser, run & bike, VTT et kayak !

Revivez cette journée riche en émotions en vidéo !