The Formula 1 Car with INFINITE GEARS | The Blueprint

This 1993 Williams has one of the most unusual gearboxes ever in F1. Rather than 8 gears like modern F1 cars, it had an ingenious mechanism that could smoothly change through an infinite number of gear ratios.

It promised to make the car easier to drive, more efficient and much, much faster.

It’s called a Continuously Variable Transmission, a CVT. It’s not a new thing but was new to something as powerful as a 90s F1 car.

It meant the car was always in the right gear and could make the best use of the engine’s power, delivering all 850 horsepower, all the time.

Photo provided by Tristen Krijgsman

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So how do they work?

There are many different types of CVT – with more clever ones being trialled in cars all the time. They’re not new though and are often used on anything from a Pillar Drill to a Scooter.

But this is the one that was used in the Williams car, it’s essentially two pulleys, with a belt connecting them. One pulley is connected to the engine, the other to the wheels.

Each pulley has one side fixed in place, whilst the other side can move.

When the pulley is squeezed together, it forces the belt up the cone, the same as shifting to the largest cog on the back of your bike.

The same happens in reverse, pull the two sides apart and the belt moves to the bottom, similar to the smallest cog on a bike.

If you were to hold the pulley somewhere in the middle, you can have any gear ratio you like, as the belt can deliver power anywhere on the surface of the pulleys.

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