Slate has a cool article on Formula 1 racing and technology, and the degree to which it is now a kind of arms race.
Of course, this is nothing new: the America’s Cup has become a race in which unique, clsely-held designs help win races, and other sports like golf and tennis are forever trying to figure out which new technologies– Calloway Big Berthas, extra-large tennis racquets– constitute reasonable improvements in equipment versus unbalancing the sport (either by making it impossible for poorer teams to compete– as is the case with America’s Cup and Formula 1– or by making the playing field TOO level).
Edward Tenner’s Our Own Devices has a pretty good discussion of this tension. (Here, incidentally, is my review of Tenner [PDF].)
[To the tune of Peter Gabriel, “Washing Of The Water,” from the album Us.]