The F1 Car That Had Infinite Gears | CVT Explained


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    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 best use of the engine's power, delivering all 850 horsepower, all the time.
    There are many different types of CVT - with more clever ones being trialed in cars all the time. They’re not new though, and are often used on anything from a Pillar Drill to a Scooter.
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    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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    #Formula1 #Engineering #WilliamsF1
    00:00 The Williams FW15C CVT
    00:19 Why Engines Have A Power Band
    02:13 Why You Need Gears
    02:43 How a CVT Works
    07:46 Fuel For Fans - Link In Description
    08:46 Why Did It Never Race?

    Pubblicato il 5 mesi fa


    1. Driver61

      What do you think to this genius gearbox? Would you want to see this in F1? You've got two days to check out the Fuel For Fans Black Friday Sale - link in description!

      1. Louis Edwards


      2. RWBHere

        It wasn't new in the 90's. For example, Scott motorcycles had them on their twin-cylinder 2-stroke engined 'Flying Squirrel' bikes in the 1920's, and those bikes were winning race after race.

      3. TheThirdMan

        @Justin Craig What part was that?

      4. Justin Craig

        @TheThirdMan, the part of the CVT assembly we made failing would not be a belt issue.

      5. Justin Craig

        @TheThirdMan, well there are a lot of variables but a belt failure would just kill your drive gear and you'd be coasting to a stop. A CVT failure from the part that we machined would be caused by an imperfection in the metal. Porosity or maybe just a bump that causes added friction, causing the part to seize up, very likely causing an accident. This is different than just a drive belt failure.

    2. Hunter Wall

      "They gave no explanation but I'm sure you'll all speculate." Ain't a very difficult mystery to solve, Ferrari complained and the FIA bent over and said "harder daddy"

    3. OJ

      F1 is very focused on driver skill. With modern systems, having a driver at the wheel is basically optional, so it makes at least a little sense that they banhammer anything that makes it easier.

    4. Hasan Imam

      7:10 wtf that's weird to listen

    5. Louis Edwards

      In theroy , good idea ! In reallaty Not

    6. TwoTen

      Mopeds have this.

    7. RWBHere

      It wasn't new in the 90's. For example, Scott motorcycles had them on their 'Flying Squirrel' bikes in the 1920's.

    8. OoogaBoog

      CVT doesn't have any's 2 pulleys.... It's been used in farming tractors since the 1930s. The problem with CVT with a high performance engine is pulley slipping and they overheat very easily, which leads to no acceleration. This would be very evident on corner exit in the latter part of a race.

    9. Operator 801

      Ahh, the future that could have been. If F1 had continued with this development, we might have a CVT today that doean't suck ass. Too bad.

    10. FalconPunch1978

      What would it sound like if all the cars had cvt’s? Everyone’s head would explode.

    11. Thomas Chui

      Teams: Comes up with innovative things FIA: *Grabs the ban hammar*

    12. john

      My old scooter has this system

    13. LaCuisse Qc

      I ride a fixed gear bike, my legs are a CVT transmition

    14. Ramaano Muravha

      Quality engineering explanation

    15. kevin lkxc

      How do you “shift “ a CVT

    16. raheel saleem

      Bullshit gear in reality .. suffering cvt shit on every 1.3..1.6 litter small engines

    17. Jon Kozak

      I wish cvts could have gained popularity and been developed to be more bulletproof than they are today!

    18. Dan The man

      So like a snowmobile

    19. AbyssalReClass

      I drove a Chevy Spark with a CVT once. It was awful, though that could have been the weed eater motor rather than a proper engine they put in that thing.

    20. Mr. Adventure

      The CVT in my Corolla is nice and smooth. Thanks F1 team for your research & development.

    21. Phil Torbert

      Goddammit siri i said cbt

    22. Make it Mental

      As an automotive service technician I see a lot of the Nissan's with the cvts come in for repairs they are total failure for civilian use. Or at least the ones that Nissan used.

    23. Speedytrip

      Surprising that nearly 20 years later common cars still have crappy cvt’s.

    24. Michael B W

      CVT now common in low power, cheap road cars, also being used in high power agricultural machinery..... time must have come for to be allowed in F1.

    25. Danger Noodle

      All i took from this is that my corolla is a formula one car. I’ll wave from the top of the podium, HAMILTON.

    26. Lenny Meyermann

      Scooter Tech F1

    27. Butthole The Barbarian

      Nissan has given a bad reputation to CVT using Jetco

    28. D C D

      So its technically a 4 wheel moped

    29. Damon Traeger

      As with many other auto technologies, Formula 1 is a test bed for auto innovation.I believe that if they had not banned the CVT, and formula 1 had continued development, within a decade it would’ve brought about the death of a standard automatic transmission and our cars today would almost all have CVT’s.

    30. pingpongpung

      0:36 to 0:42 is an ad.

    31. Seahorsefun

      I have designed a CVT that can handle virtually unlimited HP and torque and can work with any prime mover. I am looking for any smart engineer or opinion leader that can open a door for this concept. It is almost 100% efficient and has just a bit more than bearing losses. It overcomes the limitations stated in this video with the exception of the rules.

    32. Samuel Godoy

      "these new f1 cars are so easy to drive with all the driver aids the car drives on its own drivers no skill reeeeeeeeeeee 90s f1 much better" meanwhile 1993 williams with automatic cvt, active suspension, traction control and ABS: "hm thats cool"

    33. karl G

      Basically a torque converter lol I put one on my mini bike and top speed went from 28mph to 42 lol

    34. Tyler Nero

      I wonder what changes you could make to an engine to optimize for a single rpm? What durability concerns would there be?

    35. graham longley

      My rayleigh supermatic moped had that sort of gears on a 50cc engine in 1963

    36. scott basham

      I work for a transmission rebuild center. These transmissions are absolute trash in daily drivers.. my shop wont even touch them.

    37. Ecthelion

      Williams is not a manufacturer. you have to mention Renault not Williams.

    38. Germano Fanizzi

      So, according to min. 6:08 , if i want better acceleration i have to shift gear at the highest peak of Torque, instead at the highest peak of HP? 🤔🤔🤔

    39. lifeschool

      When someone invents a human peddle-powered flying car, these gearboxes will come in handy. Williams are on a gold mine.

    40. Cubinator73

      Why do the F1 regulators always ban progress? I have watched a few videos on this channel now and in virtually every single one of the ones I watched I always hear something along the lines "Some team developed some revolutionary new tech to solve some problem, and then F1 banned it". Sometimes it is justified with safety, but in some cases I see no obvious safety concerns at all. In those cases it seems like F1 doesn't want one specific car to go way faster than the others and just prohibits it to do so.

    41. Dad's car

      If CVT's could handle lots of power, they'd be devastating for motorsports especially qtr mile drags

    42. 0xyg3n

      Our car has CVT. It's lovely on the highway and in the city (much quieter and non of the annoying spooling-up of the engine), but it's a pain to get up a steep incline like the ramp of our underground parking.

    43. Narmacil427

      Snowmobiles have had this for several decades

    44. Dan The Meme Man

      Video: The CVT ran hot and stressed the engine, and the belts were even more shit back then than they are now. Oh, and the FIA banned it after the fact. Comment section: ErMAhgErD FiA BaNHaMmeR

    45. Brendon Hoover

      I super appreciate how well you break down complex topics, keep up the great work!

    46. Calethal TTV

      I sometimes wonder if the reason Williams have fallen from grace is because they got sick of innovations they made being banned all the time, and kinda just gave up, I miss them being up there with the greats.

    47. arctan

      F1 cars advancing in engerineering means also advancing normal road cars. If you think about it: many technologies which you take for granted these days have their roots in motorsport and especially f1. When did the car industry had their most improvements? Between 1960-1990! Cars existed way before f1 and they had no major breakthrough till the today known f1 stepped in. Cars became lighter, faster and cheaper, everything based on the knowledge they gained from motorsports. Since 1990 we didnt had any major breakthrough because the combustion engine run into its limits. But did it tho? We dont know and will maybe never know because after 1990 the FIA had the issue that rich racing teams were working on very expensive projects which the smaller teams couldnt afford. So what did they do? They banned everything and tried to keep the engineering simple. This video shows only one example. Now they trying to pretend like they are caring about the environment but are flying with a whole fleet around the world with their 20 year old airplanes which have 3 times the fuel consumption compared to modern airplanes. In motorsport you should allow anything which improves the efficiency of the cars and stop handpicking few areas where its okey to spend billions on aerodynamics for example. Otherwise you will hold back major breakthroughs in technology.

    48. Breneser

      here's an odd question... what font did you use in this video? :)

    49. War Viking

      CVT is what most 4wd Atvs and snowmobiles use, except honda, and older atvs, and cross quads

    50. robert woodliff

      DAF did this back in the 60's. But then they were noted for CVT cars.

    51. 7mgtesup1

      Early 90's 3.5L engines revved to about 14000rpm and made about 750hp. It wasn't till the early 2000's that hey were revving to 18000rpm and making 850hp+.

    52. krrrruptidsoless

      Snowmobile technology

    53. Kavan Pyle

      Hello sun!!

    54. Lync Volt

      Honestly I think it would be way more interesting if for a single season the fia just said "Keep to the basic safety requirements. Do whatever with your car"

    55. James M

      Well explained. In theory CVT should work but in engineering always trade offs of a change. Would also increases fuel consumption. I know a lot of people had CVT cars and disappointed with running costs. I suppose dual clutch gearboxes are a middle ground between Auto/ CVT and Manuals but require increased gearbox oil changes etc?

    56. Marjan Sarec

      Any car that would always make the same noise and not gearshifting seems so boring. Even automatic cars are lifeless, no selfrespecting man will drive an automatic

    57. Robin Westergren

      why did f1 not try Wankelmotor?

    58. terrence wilson

      The FIA was absolutely terrified of that williams car.

    59. dr stranger

      Kida wanna see a racing league of ai driven cars with no driver and no weight restriction maybe even some fans for active down force just to see the absolute peek speed round a track 😄

    60. W Eertman

      The CVT is a dutch invention. The car, a DAF, could reach the same speed backwards as it could do forwards.

    61. Quarky

      was a nice vid...until the plug

    62. Silver1080p

      My moped is about as good as this F1 then!

    63. Malcolm Stuart

      Not infinite. But constantly variable to the final ratio. The CVT slips a little and you lose drive.

    64. francisco nikotian

      I have this in my scooter

    65. Bokka _

      So "the Infinite Gears" Gearbox utilizes less actual gears than the standard variety Gearboxes. cool.

    66. Enis Ucar

      Dude you are fucking awesome

    67. Aram K

      Biggest problem of cvt they can’t handle load for long. Try driving aggressively in any modern cvt car and you probably gonna need a new tranny after few months.

    68. TheThirdMan

      Anyone who thinks flexing wings is something new has obviously never been on an aeroplane before.

    69. TheThirdMan

      More moronic comments about the FIA banning things and Ferrari conspiracies. The videos change but the bots don’t.

    70. Drive4fun

      Now F1 should think about Toyota eCVT that has no belts or pulleys and only works as changes the ratio of the gears ⚙️ between internal combustion engine and e motors, probably the best transmission in the world. They can make it also faster with suitable control module and large battery 🔋 🏎

    71. Daniel Brooker

      Formula 1 races with CVT's would've sounded like a hive of angry bees every time they came around the track 🤣

      1. Gregory Clark

        That probably factored in to the decision to ban them. The races wouldn't sound as good.

    72. EnZoFerrari

      i was actually trying to invent a system that allows to smoothly transist different numbers of teeth on a gear while at the sane time replacing the differential... while i was making 3d drawings and calculations i learned about that cvt system in my professional school, but i thought the belt was too slippery and soft to transfer such a power in a car... so i dropped the idea quickly. but. thats not long ago, maybe 3 weeks and thanks to your video, i am now inventing a system that can connect both ideas... i was inspired to invent incredible techniques and unseen systems by koenigsegg, as they did in the jesko in pretty much any part of the car and especially in the regera... and i remember when i told my driving teacher about the regeras transmission more than a year ago and he didnt understand that its like a 6th gear and the electric motor comes in at low speeds to save the v8 from stalling... but he didnt believe it was possible and asked me if it doesnt have like a smooth gear regulating the rpm at every speed... so that gave me the idea in the first way and this video really helped me get back to it. atm i am 18 years old and live in germany, but in the last few months when i really got into koenigsegg secrets, vin hunting and knowing every car plus owner plus house plus everything around it, the idea of making an own car grew and grew stronger and a friend also said that would be a great idea by fun, but now i actually managed to make him clear that im serious about this now. from now on my life will be about inventing a new car, i already started to draw very many completely new ideas for everything around the car. in 10 years there will be a new german sportscar manufacturer hopefully producing co2 neutral combustion engine hypercars. and i will try to use this system. thank you very much for inspiration

    73. Dakota Winnie

      tired: CVT in economy cars wired: CVT in F1

    74. Josip Perinić

      Great man great speak l like every thing about

    75. Nicolas Guereca

      Cool vids

    76. Lance Roark

      Isn’t the term infinite a bit of an exaggeration?

    77. Anton Fetzer

      Formula 1 is so ridiculously overegulated, that I don't enjoy watching it. Its just ridiculous when you know that the engineers have their hands tied on their backs because of a rule book as thick as the bible

    78. ABaumstumpf

      I find it strange that there is no mentioning of efficiency: CVTs are a lot less efficient (in relative efficiency) than the manual transmissions that F1 cars use. For normal everyday-cars this does not matter as they are still around 85-90% efficient vs the 95-98% for manual, but for racing this is a dealbreaker. An F1 engine outputs around 600 kW of power that goes through the transmission. At 95% (lowballing manual) efficiency that would be 570 kW that go to the wheels and 30 kW lost in the transmission as heat (heat that needs to be transported away). But with CVT that would change to 540kW/60kW respectively - another 30 kW that is not reaching the tires but instead needs to be cooled. That is one of the main reason why you normally do not find CVTs in anything requiring more power. For a small scooter it is great - no need to shift gears, just cruse around. But for cars there are better alternatives as even normal street-cars require ACTIVE COOLING for CVTs. They have their places - just not in normal car-racing. Snowmobiles are a good example - their the small lightweight nature of CVTs is great and the heat is in general not a problem.

    79. S King

      I found this video interesting, but the high engine temps and revs are much overstated. 1- In the video, high RPM seems to be equated to high power, which isn’t true. Off -throttle, high-rpm engine operation is NOT a power-producing condition. And even IF the engine were kept at the peak-torque rpm while the car was in corners, the car wouldn’t be under high-power. In fact, the CVT car would be off-throttle as often as a geared-transmission car, thusly the engine heat generation in off-throttle situations would be similar between the two types. 1a - Of interest regarding high engine rpm in corners, drivers of geared cars optimize engine revs in the corners to allow for strong corner-exit acceleration. This equates to keeping the engines as near peak-torque rpm as is practicable. 2 - CVT’s don’t need to be thrashing around at maximum rpm 100% of the time. The unit would be controlled by a processor capable of varying engine rpm in accordance with operating conditions, including but not limited to throttle position and brake pedal pressure. In an F1 application, CVT’s offer a greater potential variability of off-throttle/low-throttle rpm range than do the geared unit, as CVT ratios are infinitely adjustable AND more rapidly changeable. In light-throttle conditions, engine rpms could be lower for the CVT car as the effective downshift is instantaneous upon power demand. A geared car would have to downshift to mimic that action, which isn’t as seamless as with the CVT. What this means is the engine heat generation from friction and engine wear is potentially less with the CVT car. 3 - The only time that heat generation and average rpm would be at a higher level with the CVT car would be under maximum acceleration, due to the lack of power and rpm dips at upshift as with a geared car. The CVT would be delivering max power all the time on acceleration, which last time I checked, was a highly desirable condition. As far as how the CVT itself would hold up in such high power cars, I don’t know. I think they would have had a lot of teething pains, but that’s just speculation.

    80. DJTINNIO

      I would never have thought, that this Williams or any F1 car , was, or could be using, a belt drive, because of all the power, and the high rev ranges. Crazy.

    81. memberi makan kucing cat feeding

      CVT motorbike/scooter has oversold the manually geared ones.

    82. [KPG]

      Well I guess we have Williams to thank for creating a monster

    83. TheMatrixcube

      first off a cvt system does not garantee maximum engine power all the time .... seconde ... cvt on an f1 car was a failure .... they had cooling issues due to the motor constantly being in such high revs. the wear on the engine internals was enormous also due to rpms... not to talk about the massive amounts of extra fuel needed ...also due to rpm,s .. even the cooling system could not keep up with the excess heat produced... again rpm it was a great what if .. not much more then that really

    84. Ray Miles

      Of course a marginable engine aspected variation of controll might be Partially applied to relieve Failure Catastrophics. Any losses are in complex - all this Savvy is Admirable as presented to up date😐.

    85. Somebody with big D

      Car seller: So you like cvt transmission? Vin diesel: YES

    86. Jonki Pastramki

      The silly divorced additionaly mate because bar prenatally drum among a insidious squash. vagabond, nine sock

    87. Jon Donnelly

      repeats himself a lot

    88. Logan Bobrow

      It feels like any time any F1 team ever makes any new innovation or design, the FIA decide that its illegal, I feel like the teams should have more say in whats legal or not.

    89. Harry Turner Project

      Scoots rule

    90. Max Mustermann

      Watching F1 with CVT: Pretty monotonous.

    91. Vivien Hardgas

      CVT ist pretty interesting. on motorcycles and cars its one simple mechanic on tractors its a very komplex system

    92. ImaginaryStranger

      At this point, is there ANY innovation that isn't banned? Every single time I see a IThomes video about F1, it's about a banned innovation.

    93. Graham Hill

      lol that's not what infinite means fam

    94. Solowarrior1221

      Williams: *innovates* FIA: Aaaaannnnnd it's banned.

    95. Jeremiah Peter

      Subscribed mate keep it up👍🙏🌈✌️🇲🇾🙂💓

    96. David Ryger

      6:00-6:15 = is not correct

    97. BlaziTheEdgelord


    98. Dragon HearthX

      So why isn't this used in traditional vehicles?

    99. Erroll Leggo

      Used in snowmobiles since 1935.

    100. apenas um nome de canal

      I'm the one who drives a stick car but can't figure out how to use bike gears?