'Seamless' gearbox not unique

BAR will not be the only team that starts the year with its much-hyped 'seamless shift' gearbox system, autosport.com has learned, with at least three other teams believed to be developing the devices in readiness for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix

'Seamless' gearbox not unique

Although the recent controversy about the systems, which had threatened to be banned on the request from Ferrari because it felt they were effectively a form of outlawed Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), was based entirely around BAR, it is understood that four teams in total are now running the systems.

The 'seamless shift' gearbox provides an advantage because it allows drivers to change gear without a break in power - saving vital time over the course of an entire lap.

As autosport.com exclusively revealed, it was only this week that the 'seamless shift' technology was given the green light by the FIA and it now appears that three teams will race with the devices in Melbourne.

Although it is not known exactly which teams they are, it is believed the outfits are BAR, Renault, McLaren and Williams - with the latter outfit maybe not having its device reliable enough to commit to it for Melbourne

FIA president Max Mosley has confirmed that a number of teams are running the system, but he drew short of naming them.

"Three or four teams have the gearbox," he explained. "My immediate reaction when I first heard about it was that it was probably CVT. But we have examined the gearboxes and they are all legal.

"There are the seven ratios and they have all found a way of changing gear with there being no break in power. I cannot say how it works because then the six other teams would know, but it is clever and fascinating - which tends to go against my views about having a standard gearbox in F1."

Despite his praise of the technology, however, Mosley has warned that the financial outlay of developing such systems may not be in the best interests of the sport.

"Whether F1 can afford them is another matter," he said.

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