F1 technology helps workers and troops

Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:23pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One technology used by McLaren's Lewis Hamilton on the racetrack is also playing a role in protecting troops in Iraq and keeping factory workers on their feet.

An exhibition at London's Science Museum, timed to coincide with the start of the Briton's title defense in Australia this month, opened Wednesday to highlight ways in which the sport has influenced sectors as diverse as healthcare, domestic plumbing and the defense industry.

"Contrary to popular belief, Formula One is not all about glitz and glamour, parties and celebrities," said McLaren chairman Ron Dennis in a speech, with one of his cars suspended upside down above him.

"Of course it attracts more than its fair share of all of these but...at its heart, it is about technology and scientific innovation."

The 20 examples on display range from composite materials used on the 2003 Beagle 2 Mars lander to slip-resistant Wellington boots whose soles have tread patterns similar to Formula One tires.

The caption accompanying that exhibit explains that, in a seven-month trial of the footwear in a pet food factory in Doncaster, northern England, not a single person had a 'slip accident'.


Other items show how:   Continued...

<p>Visitors view the Factor 001 bicycle at the Science Museum in central London, March 11, 2009. REUTERS/Toby Melville</p>