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April 1, 2009

Praxis makes grand impression at Renault F1 team

KERS gives Alonso and Piquet speed boost

By Steve Evans

The Renault Formula One team has been using software consultancy and system analysis from Praxis, part of the Altran Group, to gives its drivers a timely boost of speed during a grand prix.

The Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) can store energy generated during braking and use it to charge a battery. Using a button in the cockpit, the drivers are given a boost of 80 horsepower for 6.7 seconds during that lap.

Renault used the system during the Australian grand prix on March 28, where it had a mixed afternoon. Fernando Alonso finished the race in fifth, scoring four points, but his teammate Nelson Piquet, Jn., son of legendary F1 driver Nelson Piquet, failed to finish the race.

KERS technology is new for F1, and is made up of three parts: an electric motor situated between the fuel tank and the engine, linked directly to the crankshaft; lithium-ion batteries; and a control system box.

Tad Czapski, vehicle technology director, Renault F1 Team, said: “KERS is a major new innovation that promises to introduce green technology to Formula One. It aims to deliver a step forward in performance that could ultimately benefit motorists around the globe. Working with Praxis has helped us meet the complex challenge of creating our KERS system and ensuring it delivers where it matters – on the track.”

Praxis is part of Altran Group, a technical partner of Renault F1. The company provided critical systems engineering for the KERS project, which involved analysing the control system software and providing consultancy to promote optimisation.

Keith Williams, Praxis managing director, said: “Creating successful Formula One technology is amongst the toughest challenges in engineering. It requires ingenuity, high tempo delivery and total engineering precision.

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“This project enabled Praxis to transfer its expertise gained from other critical embedded applications, such as fifth generation stealth fighters, to Formula One. It has been a great opportunity to help deliver innovation with tangible benefits, as well as to work with the talented engineers at Renault.”

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