Born in 1950, the Formula 1 teams used to only worry about racing on the track. But today things have changed a lot. Maintaining a car has become much more expensive and advertising is carried out on several levels.
Formula 1 has become a high-tech test lab for the automotive industry or IT companies that want to test their products with high speeds and under extreme stress.
Aerofoil's project, in collaboration with team Williams Advanced Engineering division, led to the creation of a new aerodynamic device that attaches onto each refrigerator shelf and, like the front wing of an F1 car, breaks the flow of air to convey the cold air towards the products and not towards the aisle.
Tests have shown energy savings of about 20% in supermarkets.
These airfoil devices have benefited from the Williams design work that included the use of Computational Fluid Dynamics services (CFD) and testing facilities.
The Aerofoil technology is being tested on the UK's largest supermarket chains such as Sainsbury's and Asda. has invested in this need by creating an advanced engineering division that offers technological innovation, engineering, testing and manufacturing services to a wide range of industries: from aerospace to civilian, from defense to energy.
Essentially, this division allows other industries, outside of F1, to take advantage of innovative processes and products being developed for this sport.
Williams Advanced Engineering is working on almost 40 different projects, with nearly 20 different customers including names such as Jaguar, Land Rover, Nissan, Porsche, Aston Martin, Brompton, Formula E, and General Dynamics.
However, there are also other examples of external companies that use F1 technology, such as the UK start-up Aerofoil Energy that created new integrated devices called "aerofoils" for use in supermarket refrigerators.
Open refrigerators, normally used in the frozen food section of supermarket aisles consume a lot of energy. They work, in fact, by blowing a curtain of cold air that often ends up spilling out from the refrigerator creating the "cold aisle syndrome", the cold feeling while shopping in these aisles that buyers know well.
In the UK, it is estimated that in supermarkets and stores refrigerators account for between 5% - 10% of the UK's total energy consumption, and between 60-70% of the energy used by the supermarket.