The goal of FUELCOM, as Sarathy outlined, is "to show that fuel and engine co-optimization—or co-design—can provide better fuel efficiency and better engine performance in light-duty passenger cars and heavy-duty trucks. It's the same thing here for Formula 1 vehicles. We're going to show that developing fuels for the extreme F1 engine application can improve engine performance. Conducting this research will improve our understanding of fuel/engine interactions and pave the way for fuel design in future high-efficiency road vehicles."
The agreement between McLaren and KAUST stipulates the joint intellectual property (IP) sharing of innovations generated from the collaboration. For instance, the development of new sensor technology or computer algorithm may be spun-off into the commercial automotive sector.
"We at KAUST want to see our world-class research put to use in the economy and in society. The partnership with McLaren will help us to develop the science into real-world applications which will likely cascade from the exciting extremes of F1 to become part of the road-going cars of the future," said Kevin Cullen, vice president of KAUST Innovation and Economic Development (I&ED).
Technological innovations from the Formula 1 race track already have a long history of making their way into our everyday cars. Disc brakes, seat belts, gear shifts and dynamic suspension are a few examples of this. KAUST I&ED and its counterpart at McLaren, McLaren Applied Technologies, will be actively working on identifying and pursuing IP development opportunities.
"Much engineering-related technology transfer rolls out from leading-edge solution-development to become mass applications, and we are delighted to have McLaren as a partner in making that happen in the automotive sector," Cullen said.
Finally, there's the important element disseminating the fruits of the collaboration and engaging with the wider community. Different types of science and engineering initiatives like a forum during the Formula 1 race in Bahrain are being planned. People from the region and beyond will be invited, and they will have the chance to learn about KAUST and take part in discussions about science and engineering. A driver from the McLaren F1 team is also scheduled to come to KAUST as part of the University's Winter Enrichment Program (WEP) in January 2019—where the program's theme will appropriately be "Time."
Over the course of the five-year partnership, a Steering Committee represented by three individuals from each organization will be responsible for examining and deciding on collaborative projects over the course of the agreement. The KAUST Steering Committee members are: Sarathy; Dr. Teofilo (Jun) Abrajano, the University's Office of Sponsored Research director; and Cullen.
"The work of the Steering Committee is the easiest part of this undertaking. The pioneering work of Mani Sarathy and his colleagues at the CCRC, the Extreme Computing Research Center and the Sensor Initiative and the state-of-the-art research infrastructure of the University all converged to create this opportunity to meet the performance challenge posed by McLaren and Formula 1 racing. KAUST has shown yet again our distinctive approach in the pursuit of excellence and impact," Abrajano said.