What's the Latest Development?

Andrew Moss has been at the helm of Britain's star engineering firm Umeco since May and is determined to continue the tradition of high-tech transport. The company cut its teeth on Formula One racing cars for which it developed light yet extremely durrable materials. "You see the crashes that occasionally occur and the drivers usually escape unscathed—and that's not by accident. A lot of technology goes into that process," he explains. Today, the company is looking to export its expertise in these materials to the automotive and aeronautic industries. 

What's the Big Idea?

The kinds of materials Umeco produces for Formula One cars is beginning to catch on in other industries, especially given today's economic demands which must be reconciled with environmental concern: "Lightweight means environmentally friendly," Moss says, "and actually makes electric vehicles more feasible because you can put more of the mass into batteries and get the range, rather than having to use fuel just to drive round a weighty structure." Reflecting the growing use of composites in new planes, the aerospace industry now accounts for one-third of Umeco's business.