Formula One may see the introduction of an entirely new specification of fuel flow meter by the end of the 2014 season in an attempt to resolve the accuracy issues that continue to plague teams.
In light of the turnaround in the regulations that limit the fuel consumption of Formula One cars, 2014 also saw the introduction of FIA mandated fuel flow meters to make sure that flow does not exceed 100kg per hour, at any point in time during a race.
F1's supplier Gill produced a flow meter which didn't entirely comply with the governing body's requirements. Although the company improved the accuracy by the time of the winter testing and the first race, teams were not delighted with that and kept relying on their own tools. When Red Bull breached the rules in the Australian GP, Daniel Ricciardo's podium finish was stripped.
Since then the situation calmed down, but the FIA want to further increase the accuracy and therefore plans to introduce a new device. Racecar Engineering has found the new flow meter is being developed by Sentronics, a partnership of three British companies and led by Managing Director Neville Meech, previously Gill Sensors’ lead motorsport engineer.
“Hyspeed approached me after I started Reventec with funding for a new sensor project. Being based at Mikina made it easy to bring them on board to handle manufacturing, and the final piece of the technical puzzle was put in place when we teamed up with Polyhedrus, who brought a cutting-edge approach to the electronics element.”
The new device will be named as FlowSonic which will be available to different series. It will have three versions, the best one will be supplied to F1 and WEC, the one from the mid-range to IndyCar, DTM and SuperGT and the basic one will be used in touring car and GT championships.
The flow meter aimed for F1 and WEC was designed under two principles: firstly it should have weighted the least and it should have provided high reliability. To reach their targets the company's engineers concentrated on using the least amount of materials. The device weighs in at around only 250 gram, half the FIA maximum.
The development work finds itself in its last phase. Both bench and track testing are already under way. The company reportedly intends to present its product to the FIA and other sanctioning bodies over the course of the next months.