From Formula One race track to Ford showroom

The upcoming Ford Focus 1.0-litre EcoBoost due at the end of this year is the latest example of race track technology filtering down into your local showroom. The twist is that racing’s new emphasis on fuel economy and overall efficiency is landing right in the wheelhouse of new models aimed at cost-conscious consumers.In particular, this version of the Focus appears to be inspired by the changes to engine and aerodynamic rules for Formula One racing. When the 2015 Focus EcoBoost goes on sale, it will be powered by a teeny, tiny, turbocharged three-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection, variable valve timing and Ford’s own software designed to smooth out the jitteriness that often comes with little turbos and even big ones.
This ultra-modern little mill is already on sale in the pint-sized Ford Fiesta here in Canada and it’s in both models in Europe – where Ford says that 32 per cent of buyers want it for the Focus, 26 per cent for the Fiesta. So it’s a hit.
At present, the only engine available with the Focus in Canada is a 2.0-litre four-banger (160 hp). It’s a good engine, but the 1.0-litre EcoBoost is half the displacement of the 2.0-litre, with 75 per cent of its output (123 hp in the Fiesta and probably about the same in the Focus, though Ford isn’t yet being specific).
F1 fans will recognize something similar in the new rules for the 2014 season. Like the Focus, F1 race cars are downsizing to a 1.6-litre V-6 turbo engine. Last year they raced with 2.4-litre V-8s.
Ford is not yet equipping the updated Focus with something like F1’s ‘energy recovery system,’ though. But something similar to this F1-like technology that generates energy from braking and through waste heat from the engine is in other models on sale right now.
Mazda’s i-ELOOP brake energy regeneration system in the latest Mazda3 and other Mazda models is in fact a modest version of the F1 energy recovery system. In the Mazda models, i-ELOOP converts kinetic energy generated during deceleration into electricity, stores it temporarily in a capacitor, and then uses it as supplemental power for the car’s electrical equipment. By using 100 per cent of the engine’s power to drive the power train, this now-mainstream technology conserves fuel.
From race track to showroom. More of the same is on the way.