The helmet - a prototype for refuelers but with enormous potential for communications
March 20, 2006 A day can make a big difference in any form of sport, but perhaps none as pronounced as in Motorsport. Just a week ago, in the first round of the championship, the rule changes that will define a new era in Formula One appeared to have levelled the competitiveness of the field. Renewed pace from Ferrari, reliability from McLaren and Honda, and promise from Williams and BMW looked to have made for a season of intruige and a broadly contested title. But following the application of the Malaysian blowtorch, Renault now appears set to successfully defend its Formula One dual crown. The French team that gave Fernando Alonso his first Formula One crown last year has already demonstrated in 2006 that it has the speed and the reliability to run two cars at the front all year and yesterday was the first one-two for the blue and gold since Renault returned to the sport as a works manufacturer in the 2002 season and only its second in history. It was a day for technology too as Ferrari debuted a new brake cooling drum (technical details here) - an evolution of similar devices seen on cars last year, but Ferrari have taken it to its extreme. The cooling drum not only covers the brake disc and calliper, preventing heat being transferred to the wheel rim, it also completely fills the space inside the wheel rim, not only improving brake cooling, but also dramatically reducing the vortices generated by the rotation of the wheels, hence making this area more aerodynamically efficient. Other news included the coolest new helmet for some members of the Renault pit-crew and young lion Nico Rosberg who was once again the talk of the paddock with third fastest in qualifying before an engine failure wrecked his race.