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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?


  1. Driver61


    3 kuukautta sitten

    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!

    • TheCharillz23


      Päivä sitten

      Cvt is great in idea but a gearbox is better.. growing up with go karts I tell ya cvt sucks.. robs control from the pedal

    • Rondo Cat

      Rondo Cat

      16 päivää sitten

      Not a fan of it... That type is same as on all snowmobiles and it is better with gears when you do not have sophisticated electronic control (like on the snowmobiles).

    • Patrik Einarsson

      Patrik Einarsson

      Uukausi sitten

      @Peter L Yes I tried one of those in the 80's was pretty cool, but not a very popular option. Same with Volvo and DAF. They had some models with the CVT. Went as fast backwards as it did forwards.

    • Peter L

      Peter L

      Uukausi sitten


    • Patrik Einarsson

      Patrik Einarsson

      Uukausi sitten

      @Driver61 Clickbait! There was nothing "infinite" about this gearbox. That is why it was called the CVT and not the IVT.

  2. MJC van Iersel

    MJC van Iersel

    7 tuntia sitten

    The picture of the Williams F1 car in the museum is actually not the Williams museum, but the DAF Trucks museum in my hometown. DAF is located in Eindhoven, the Netherlands and this transmission concept is developed by DAF. The old DAF cars had this transmission in their road cars and therefore they could drive backwards and forwards at the same pace. We had a “Backwards Driving Race” at Circuit Zandvoort where these small DAF cars were used to race the circuit facing backwards on the grid haha.. good old times!

  3. Jeremy Frances

    Jeremy Frances

    9 tuntia sitten

    It's pretty obvious what the primary reason was for banning this.

  4. 613repforme


    16 tuntia sitten

    Its very similar to a snowmobile clutch.

  5. Braden McLean

    Braden McLean

    Päivä sitten

    The Fast and Furious franchise liked this

  6. MoonBernie


    Päivä sitten

    That was variomatic, right?

  7. Pine City

    Pine City

    2 päivää sitten

    CVTs are trash

  8. Pine City

    Pine City

    2 päivää sitten

    Nope terrible

  9. Cameron McColl

    Cameron McColl

    2 päivää sitten

    I am 14 and i understand everything this man is saying thats how well he explains

  10. mushenji


    2 päivää sitten

    CVT is the worst transmission ever created. The quack who created it should be found and beaten till he cries like a baby. If he is dead, then good riddance.

  11. Francisco Fernandes

    Francisco Fernandes

    3 päivää sitten

    that sound got me anxious

  12. UnpleasantLlama


    3 päivää sitten

    Can i just point out how smooth that sponsor transfer was

  13. Mike Hunt

    Mike Hunt

    4 päivää sitten

    Here in snowmobile land, we've been dealing with these and transifical crutches for decades. Welcome noobs. Lol

  14. Ian Ireland

    Ian Ireland

    5 päivää sitten

    I hate driving CVT trans cars, horrible

  15. moreelo silva

    moreelo silva

    8 päivää sitten

    Wasnt it banned because it was to good 😁

  16. Sabien Ruffin

    Sabien Ruffin

    9 päivää sitten

    I thought most modern cvts could not take more than 250hp. 850hp on a cvt? Impressive. Edit: I commented at the start of watching the video. I truly look forward to the day, if ever one such would exist, where CVTs may be viable on vehicles with high horsepower.

  17. Ten Zin

    Ten Zin

    9 päivää sitten

    Sounds like a boat

  18. dnh300


    9 päivää sitten

    Just like mopeds and motorscooters lol

  19. DBRstuff


    9 päivää sitten

    I like how the CVT is good on race cars but terrible on regular road cars

  20. flashgordon


    11 päivää sitten

    We might have nanotechnologies and materials science able to make a infinite gear ratio work. Also, future nanotechnologies might be able to solve the radiator problems. Unfortunately, F1 has banned it! Well, maybe we can get them to unban it!

  21. Sky man

    Sky man

    11 päivää sitten

    Dad used it years before in F3.

  22. aln456


    11 päivää sitten

    Oh hey sun

  23. Fritz Bucher

    Fritz Bucher

    14 päivää sitten

    Such an interesting design and extremely practical. I was a mechanic for Saturn. And some of the Vue and Ion models used CVT transmissions. They had their issues, but when they worked they were very efficient. I think most of the problems actually came from improper use rather than design. But when they went they sent the belt teeth all throughout the transmission. And needed to be completely replaced.

  24. Scotty Gadoury

    Scotty Gadoury

    14 päivää sitten

    Basically whats inside snowmobiles is what was used in an f1 car. Thats cool

  25. Jon Einar Mattias Visser

    Jon Einar Mattias Visser

    14 päivää sitten

    I have a weird idea: a cvt on a bicycle. Combined with frictipn shifters this would be amazing. But how do you intergrate brake levers with friction shifters? No one likes down tube shifters!

  26. Pepijn de Vos

    Pepijn de Vos

    14 päivää sitten

    This video and the one about clutches inspired me to invent a new kind of CVT system that I think might even bypass the CVT ban because it's technically not a CVT at all.

  27. GBass


    14 päivää sitten

    Great but wish you talked about the car more and the definition less. Plz get DC's impression of that Williams car. Driving a CVT road car is the worst sensation!. Yes an F1 engine sitting @ 18k rpm all day long would have totally blew up much more than the engines did back then omg......

  28. fadzlen kadir

    fadzlen kadir

    15 päivää sitten

    explaining cvt in f1...innovative and ground breaking... cvt in my nissan....not so innovative and ground breaking as explained

  29. Jae H

    Jae H

    15 päivää sitten

    I innovated a way to beat Ferrari. FIA:ban innovation

  30. Andy Chen

    Andy Chen

    16 päivää sitten

    This made automatic seems like manual

  31. Brad Hale

    Brad Hale

    16 päivää sitten

    Pretty sure you just edited the acceleration video to when a manual gearbox car was in top gear. Seems to cut out the first part.

  32. El R*******

    El R*******

    16 päivää sitten

    Proof we are not as intelligent as we used to be

  33. Brock Hooper

    Brock Hooper

    16 päivää sitten

    Williams only has like 2 things on fuel for fans sooo...

  34. Chuck Whitson

    Chuck Whitson

    16 päivää sitten

    Cvt at some point, will be better, I think. However, everyone who bought s cvt chevy equinox has suicided themselves or their car by now, do yeah thats going to be awhile. Its the best thing that ever happened to go carts, if you still have old school setup on your ho cart, check out go powersports torq-a-verter and you will thank me

  35. Just another rider

    Just another rider

    16 päivää sitten

    F1 Teams: Hi F.I.A.!! F.I.A: Banned!

  36. debeunhaasfm


    17 päivää sitten

    this car is in the daf museum in the netherlands

  37. A_22_Naveed Kadechur

    A_22_Naveed Kadechur

    17 päivää sitten

    Williams was so good FIA literally banned their innovations

  38. B.N. Lassiter

    B.N. Lassiter

    17 päivää sitten

    CBT is the such an amazing idea

  39. mightyfitz


    17 päivää sitten

    excellent upload as always. Just read about this recently in newey's book.

  40. Janosch Kladenz

    Janosch Kladenz

    18 päivää sitten

    as a young guy i had a small scooter called piaggio zip. it had only 9hp or something like that after a few mods, but it kicked so hard. the right weight of the variomatic-weights and automatic clutch springs were nealy the most important ;D

  41. Borat Sagdiyev

    Borat Sagdiyev

    19 päivää sitten

    infinite gears? More like no gears... And even if it where really gears, it's definitely not infinite,... clickbait.

  42. I̵t̸s̵A̵b̷n̵o̴r̶m̴a̵l̵i̶t̵y̴


    19 päivää sitten

    If this wasnt real life and it had a fast and furious runway which is basically the usa to russia, infinite gears = infinite speed???

  43. PlePlePleiadeath


    20 päivää sitten

    Honestly, I get used to it with the Koenigsegg Regera yet in fact I'll buy Regera if I have money than other Koenigsegg cars, so i think it's okay tho😅

  44. Todd


    20 päivää sitten

    that was a pretty smooth segway into the sponsor

  45. MrPetari


    20 päivää sitten

    Honestly, I don't think that Williams or any other team used such type of 'gear box' in F1. I know for some 50 years that it was used in street cars DAF, and that's what is shown in this video too. And I read then that this system is not usable by larger cars, cars with stronger engine. Now, imagine how is it then possible with some 700 HP F1 car in 90-es . Maybe yes, but not with single belt. And something related. I watched F1 races on track in 1993 and 1994, on location with many corners. And I could hear work of cars very well, as not possible on TV. Williams was extremely fast with gear changes, much better than any other. Just to mention that Ferrari was only one with 12 cylinder engine, and that was much higher engine sound. So, Williams probably used some digitally controlled gear box control, what could sync. gear speeds much faster than usual solutions. I guess, it became standard years later. And even if it is true, is there real reason to ban it ? Surely, automatic gearbox was forbidden, but this could be with manual control. Saying than gear count is limited too - yeah, but here no gears :-) Well, something like with DAS last year. Anyway, as said, hmmm ... Good way to pull attention.

  46. Cecil


    20 päivää sitten


  47. Bas


    20 päivää sitten

    And you can drive it down the track in reverse just as fast

  48. Felipe Behrens

    Felipe Behrens

    20 päivää sitten

    Hmmm, why can’t we make that for bicycles???

  49. maxdefranker


    20 päivää sitten

    DAF 66 had a cvt also.

  50. jake schemmel

    jake schemmel

    21 päivä sitten

    Isnt that an automatic?

  51. Bhargav Dihora

    Bhargav Dihora

    21 päivä sitten

    All the scooties here in India uses CVT

  52. Mike L

    Mike L

    21 päivä sitten

    9:44 that sega logo 😍

  53. CCCanyon


    22 päivää sitten

    I can't find the cvt in the tumbnail.

  54. Christopher Chan

    Christopher Chan

    22 päivää sitten

    Is this the tech on the Regera?

  55. John Z

    John Z

    22 päivää sitten

    90s Williams was so ahead of the game with their tech.

  56. iJousKa63


    22 päivää sitten

    Ok but imagine this on current f1 cars Better cooling, lower rpms, more advanced ecu and engine mapping could have the cvt run before the max peak to cool down and slow down wear.

  57. Frank Harris

    Frank Harris

    22 päivää sitten

    Wrong explanation of torque/horsepower. CVT allows access to "unavailable horsepower" that cannot be got with fixed gear boxes because maximum acceleration in any FIXED gear (speed open) is always at the torque peak while maximum acceleration at any fixed speed(gearing open) is always found at peak horsepower. A fixed ratio trans can never give access to peak horsepower cvt can. Hence the term "Unavailable Horsepower".

  58. Ramsay Bolton

    Ramsay Bolton

    22 päivää sitten

    Never knew cock and ball torture was so useful

  59. geochafg


    22 päivää sitten

    How the hell the nowadays ctz suck?



    23 päivää sitten


  61. Cunning Linguist

    Cunning Linguist

    23 päivää sitten

    The title alone proves you don't really understand what is going on.

  62. Harvey Ashworth

    Harvey Ashworth

    24 päivää sitten

    This sound like an electric car that uses gasoline/petrol

  63. John Andrews

    John Andrews

    24 päivää sitten

    My 1997 Honda Civic HX had a CVT transmission. Big deal.

  64. James Weber

    James Weber

    27 päivää sitten

    This CVT just sounds like a fancy torque converter

  65. connor hoyle

    connor hoyle

    27 päivää sitten

    Shout out to the cvt in my altima lol.

  66. Astrax Gaming

    Astrax Gaming

    28 päivää sitten

    doesn't modern-day f1 cars have 7 gears? that is what most drivers have said

  67. Kenyi Abreu

    Kenyi Abreu

    29 päivää sitten

    Oh hey sun, great video

  68. Aleksander Mietinen

    Aleksander Mietinen

    Uukausi sitten

    Why would they go for max engine torque rather than power during acceleration? Doesn't max engine power equal max wheel torque?

  69. GeoMetall yt

    GeoMetall yt

    Uukausi sitten

    I made a sort of CVT on forza motorsport 7 for in 7th gear

  70. Dave Woff

    Dave Woff

    Uukausi sitten

    You forgot the whole technology started in snowmobiles , in the 6O's and is useless in f1 due to fuel use, works fantastic in snowmobiles and machinery

  71. KingOfDoggos


    Uukausi sitten

    It sounds like half the forza cars

  72. Icrem Ibor

    Icrem Ibor

    Uukausi sitten

    I can do burnouts in 80th gear.

  73. Pierre andre Parsemain

    Pierre andre Parsemain

    Uukausi sitten

    Williams is always astonishs me I m sure hé shall come back To the top

  74. Felix Chan

    Felix Chan

    Uukausi sitten

    Probably banned for being too annoying. 13000 RPM for more than half a minute won’t be beneficial for your mental state and your ears.

  75. Andrew Folz

    Andrew Folz

    Uukausi sitten

    I always wanted to find out what happens if you run a gearbox with a cvt just for s's&g's

  76. Tomasz Kusmierz

    Tomasz Kusmierz

    Uukausi sitten

    CVT on F1 car makes perfect sense - cost is not prohibitive, it only has to survive one race so endurance is not a problem compared to daily commuter, in F1 people don't care about the sound but care about lap times, when executed properly it's actually lighter than standard gearbox :)

  77. zhongming wen

    zhongming wen

    Uukausi sitten

    Me: Yo my car is having a diarrhea. Mechanic: No it has a CVT.

  78. DCVK


    Uukausi sitten

    This is uncomfortably close to being called CBT

  79. David Ringo

    David Ringo

    Uukausi sitten

    The only REAL CRIME was that Williams wasn't big enough.

  80. David Ringo

    David Ringo

    Uukausi sitten

    If Ferrari or Mercedes had done this the FIA would have just ignored it for several years.

  81. Sienna Bartlett

    Sienna Bartlett

    Uukausi sitten

    That's a powerful moped

  82. Benjamin Linn

    Benjamin Linn

    Uukausi sitten

    imagine designing a new transmission and building it, only for it to be made illegal.

  83. Tyler Robertson

    Tyler Robertson

    Uukausi sitten

    Looks just like the one on my Polaris fourwheeler

  84. Thomas Reiber

    Thomas Reiber

    Uukausi sitten

    Cvt transmission are great until your try going up a hill, its like you can feel it stuttering

  85. Alexander Brohl

    Alexander Brohl

    Uukausi sitten

    this technology paired with new manufacturing capabilities in modern times would be tremendously amazing! Gj FIA for prohibiting ingenious engineering...

  86. Matthew Neary

    Matthew Neary

    Uukausi sitten

    I completely understand f1 parts are some of the strongest that exist, but most CVT cars are 4cyl, and CVTs tend to fail very early compared to standard transmissions even with those motors. They often fail under high load due to overheating like hard driving or going up steep hills that are long. I imagine an f1 car would make this problem even worse, and while the cvt may provide fast lap times it would likely start to slip and slow down as the race were to progress. My opinion would be f1 banned them to prevent manufacturers from going down a rabbit hole and engineering cars they would have to ban after a few seasons of development.

  87. bonnome2


    Uukausi sitten

    Prius has this type of transmission too, even the old dutch DAF 600 car from 1958 had this type of transmission

  88. Evan Devries

    Evan Devries

    Uukausi sitten

    I feel baited by your thumbnail. I wanted to see what that transmission was all about!

  89. smaster7772


    Uukausi sitten

    FIA is against innovation, that much is clearc

  90. LuLu, Sweet Thing

    LuLu, Sweet Thing

    Uukausi sitten

    I think I watched and enjoyed enough videos to sub.

  91. Hachiroku Spain

    Hachiroku Spain

    Uukausi sitten

    aaah but they dont like torque, anyone who has driven a cvt car or scooter uphill will know

  92. Sosa Parks

    Sosa Parks

    Uukausi sitten

    Im hearing all these great points but whats the catch 🤔

  93. Nick Martinez

    Nick Martinez

    Uukausi sitten

    So this is where Nissan got that shitty idea? Lets take a perfectly good auto trans and add more parts that can break... On top of that lets buy the cheapest ones

  94. FichDich InDemArsch

    FichDich InDemArsch

    Uukausi sitten

    6:42 less peaky you mean.

  95. Rients Dijkstra

    Rients Dijkstra

    Uukausi sitten

    A few facts: 1. CVT Was invented by DAF ( = van Doorne Automobile Factory, which most people nowadays know as truck builder), but who in the 50-s to 70-s produced small cars for the low budget 2. They invented CVT actually as a way to make driving easiers for people who found changing gears to difficult 3. For that reason the little DAF's in Holland where called "granny shakers with garterbelt propulsion" (free translation) 4. The original CVT used a (rubber) pulling belt reinforced whith steal cables. 5. These however were not a able to withstand more about 70 HP tops 6. To make them stronger DAF invented and patented a new type of belt, which does not pull, but actually transmits the power by PUSHING (!) 7. It does this by the this by way of stacks of small steel plates which are slid onto the belt 8. These are the steel plates that you actually see in the animation 9. Because has a very high compressive strength a great of torque and power can be transmitted in this way 10. That, however, did not solve some other problems like wear and tear, and the like

  96. Russell Moore

    Russell Moore

    Uukausi sitten

    So do CVT gear belts push or pull? I thought that they push not pull like most belt drives.

  97. mark taylor

    mark taylor

    Uukausi sitten

    Ill be honest. I can't think why they'd ban it. Sounds to me like it might actually be useful in the hybrid era. I bet they could make a reliable one now and i actually think it would make these hybrid cars sound better with one engine tone.

  98. Andre Silva

    Andre Silva

    Uukausi sitten

    Interesting to see Williams go from a super innovative, modern team that wins championships to the terrible thing that is today.

  99. Mika Spranz

    Mika Spranz

    Uukausi sitten

    could you make a video about Königsegg Regera Direct Drive Gearbox?

  100. notfiveo


    Uukausi sitten

    Nuvinci bike hub..