The FOZ wrote:A few problems.
Visibility - Nearly anything moving through the air can be detected. Even gasoline vapors, which are otherwise invisible, refract light and give a "ripple" effect. Today it's very cheap to buy very, very good photography equipment - cameras in the 20+ megapixel range and with the sheer number of spectators at events, someone would catch a shot of it happening, sooner or later.
Size - Anything capable of making that much of a difference would likely take up a fair amount of space, if not for the substance itself, then for the delivery system, most likely pressurization of some sort.
Volatility - Again, anything capable of making that much of a difference is likely going to be very cold, very harmful to people, or otherwise unwanted anywhere near one's head.
Safety - Even if the substance and it's delivery methods were safe, compromising a helmet is something nobody wants to do. Every square centimeter of material removed from the helmet for a delivery system would be one less square centimeter of energy absorbing materials protecting one's head in a crash situation.
The concept is creative, I'll give it that, but realistic...not as far as I can see.
Good points. However I think these could be overcome with enough effort.
Visibility: The 'ripple effect' can be dismissed as buffetting off the helmet. The outlet nozzle can be oriented to simulate the buffetted air.
Plus the system would not have to be used at every track. Just at the 'weaker' tracks. Or possibly only at one or two of the 'weaker' tracks.
Size and safety: Remember that the system does not need to supply a prolonged increase in power. A slight reorder of qualifying results or pit stops can change the outcome of a race. Assuming the storage would be in lieu of the driver's drink supply system, only a reroute (& resize) of the 'straw' thru the helmet's air vents would be needed to run through the helmet without sacrificing helmet integrity. No helmet material removal required. Pressurization only needs to be in the bottle and we've all seen those small (sometimes annoying) foghorns.
Volatility: Although somewhat of a fire hazard, oxygen gas (or some other balanced, noble gas combination of it) doesn't pose the threat say a gasoline supplement would.
As is natural for 'concepts', quite a few things are assumed. Actual power increase, actual effect on lap times, amount of substance required, the effect of adding any substance suddenly to the engine intake, reduction of effect by the air cleaner, etc. Is it feasible? I think it is. Would I do it as an amatuer? No because of personal ethics (gratification of winning fairly). Would I do it in the pro leagues? No because the risk of getting caught is too great. I'm more thumbs up about 'grey area' cheats (innovation) than blatant cheats.
Why does it seem like I'm defending this as if I support teams doing it? Boredom.
H. Kurt Betton