William did a test with a CVT some time in the 90's I think but it was quickly banned, I'm sure partly based on it
wouldn't sound right just going around at a constant ~16000rpm
David Coulthart tested the car.
I had a meeting with Patrick Head at the time.
The Williams CVT was based on the VanDorne twin cone system.
The problem with all CVT transmissions, Van Dorne, Perbury or others, is that if they are used in a high performance application they all have to use a large input of energy to move and control the variable diameter cones (Van Doorne), the friction discs (Perbury), or other moving components. The toloroidal disc based CVTs like the Perbury also use a friction fluid to maintain traction within its variable mechanism.
Tony Rudd of Lotus and I looked at an electromagnetic fluid for a similar purpose and for remote activation of fluid clutch packs way back in the 80s.
The modern flybrid system is based on the toloroidal system with its high energy control system and friction fluid.
It is ok for low power application but would be unreliable for a high power hybrid system like the 2014 F1 ERH/ERK powertrains.
The CVT concept was nothing to do with my bevel epicyclic geartrain designs of the time.
These were stepped ratio geartrains and would have varied engine speed through fixed ratios exactly the same as the ancient layshaft geartrain.
The difference was in the shift system, which was hydraulic the same as in a conventional automatic gearbox.
However, there was no torque converter and a conventional clutch was used for starts.
My current system uses electro magnetics for shifts and needs no clutch at all.
It is also a complete gearbox and energy recovery/apply unit all in one, with only one bearing in use in 8th gear.
The FIA banned all 'automatic' gearboxes and specified stepped ratio gearboxes with a maximum of 7 gears, it will be 8 gears in 2014.
Downshifts were allowed to be automatic, which is another reason why sequential gained an unfair lead.
It being very difficult to program a control system to activate anything other than an approximate 500 rpm engine speed increase between gears on downshifts using an ancient layshaft gearbox other than in sequence.
Trying to do anything else with the current masking by the high downforce levels, gives insufficient driver feel and control over the shifts and with the regulation controls over traction limiting and diff design, there is no way to prevent rear from breaking away during rear wheel brakeing and energy harvesting, or of effectively controlling tyre wear.
This has totaly lost the old driver skill, manualy changing down under braking and replaced it with a juggling act on push buttons like an arcade game.
I would love to wake up to a new formula that encouraged proper powertrain development instead of model aeroplane technology.