2009 F1 rules make rear wings tiny

Williams has tested a version of its car with a rear wing apparently designed to meet the 2009 F1 rules. Becken has pictures of it on his blog and here’s an artists’ impression of how the 2009 F1 cars will look (right, found on the F1Technical forum).

I knew from looking at the 2009 F1 technical regulations that the new rear wings would look small but I’m taken aback by how drastic the change is.

With the Williams pictures it looks as though the front wing of the car and the sidepods are still 2008-spec.

The 2009 F1 rules should reduce the complexity of the front wing and add an adjustable element, which provoked much debate here recently. The new rules will also get rid of the winglets from the sidepods, making the back of the car look much smoother.

Hopefully the questionable aesthetics will be more than made up for by much closer and more exciting racing. And it certainly looks a lot better than Max Mosley’s horrible CDG (‘centreline downwash generating”) wing did.

F1 2009 season

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60 comments on 2009 F1 rules make rear wings tiny

  1. graham228221 said on 19th September 2008, 10:21

    I’d agree with Eddie Irvine, these rule changes might suit Ferrari who seem to be ahead on engine development but behind on aerodynamics.

    The Williams looks bloody stupid, IMHO, but I’m willing to let that slide for the sake of improved racing. whether it’ll make much difference in practice…i’m not convinced.

    =( i’ll be sad when these rules come in, i love the aero bits and bobs. this year’s BMW Sauber is the coolest F1 car EVER!!!

  2. John Spencer said on 19th September 2008, 11:17

    @Eddie Irvine & graham228221 – why are McLaren disadvantaged? The Mercedes engine is generally regarded to be pretty much up there with the Ferrari, and the benefits of shark fins seem to be pretty marginal. We’ve already heard rumours (possibly put about by Ferrari themselves) that the Italians’ KERS development work isn’t going so well.

    The teams that will do well next year are those which spend the most on development, so McLaren should be up there with Ferrari.

    My prediction for the biggest disappointment next year: Honda. They have staked their reputation on 2009, and unless they’re near the front, they’re gonna look stupid.

  3. John Spencer, add Williams to that list along side Honda.

  4. So much for the aero package to improve the look of the cars – that Williams rear wing looks like a toy charicature!

    Although I wish racing to be improved, I disagree that the cars shouldn’t look the part. Part of what got me into F1 was the cars, the designs…everyone doodled in class, and mine was mainly F1 cars. Bear in mind, sponsors who have to put their livery and names on those cars as well, I’d be interested to hear what they think of cramped logo names.

  5. Apart from KERS, what else is new here.
    First we change away from what was already there, then change back and we call it a great idea. We have just gone back to what the cars were like in maybe say 94/95.

    I just hope this is the last regulation change for the next 5 – 10 years, or else many more smaller teams will be forced to face the door.

  6. A1, GP2 and heck even Champcar all had cars that were capable of running close to each other to solve the perceived lack of passing in Formula One and none of these Formulas require such a comical looking solution. Not only does it make the cars look like a cheap knock off F1 car you might find in the Kmart toy section, it goes against the culture of commercialism in Formula One by reducing sponsorship space so dramatically.

    Personally I subscribe to Windsor’s point of view that there is nothing wrong with Formula One and wouldn’t change a thing.

    No, I won’t be ok with how these cars look even if the racing is fantastic. If I was concerned about arbitrary position changes every other lap I would watch GP2 or Nascar or IRL or whatever might take my fancy. Formula One is supposed to be the pinnacle of this sport, there are better solutions than this and no one should be satisfied with this one.

  7. Stealthman said on 19th September 2008, 14:02

    I don’t mind most of the design, and if it helps the racing that’s fine, but the sharkfin and tiny rear wing make me sick. Period.

  8. Jonatas said on 19th September 2008, 15:08

    Good God that wing is ugly!

  9. Peter Boyle said on 19th September 2008, 15:41

    Current 2008 scenario is


    25% downforce from rear diffuser with strict anti ground effect rules
    (flat undertray and plank),

    33% downforce from rear wing

    My aesthetic vote goes for allowing more freedom in the venturi area, and
    scrapping rear wings altogether.

    Not sure how the disruptive effects of ground effect on following cars
    compares to wings, but my instinct is that it will be better.

  10. John, 2 queries :

    1. The flow conditioners around the mid-region of the car will now be disallowed. So, are all dumbo ears and small winglets booted out? What about Ferrari’s nose-hole?

    2. About turbulence, I feel I agree with Eric M and disagree with AussieLab and you; when you say that turbulence will increase. A smaller wing will produce lesser turbulence.
    And, I had read somewhere; that the primary reason for less overtaking is increased turbulence at the rear of the car. Why would FIA then implement a rule which increases turbulence..
    Why do you feel otherwise?

  11. I think the car looks quite good actually. The main thing after all is the overtaking and close racing, but its always fun to see how teams adapt to new rules and the pecking order changes. Maybe next year we could see 10+ winners instead of 6.

  12. REALLY ugly

  13. William Wilgus said on 19th September 2008, 16:50

    What strikes me the most about the drawing of next year’s car is how ridiculously large the front wing is.

  14. John Beamer said on 19th September 2008, 16:57


    Sorry there is a confusion. Turbulence from the rear wheels will increase a touch as the banning of flow conditioners means that flow isn’t cleaned up here. Turbulence from the wing will reduce because of the narrower shape.

    Dumbo ears are booted out. Nose holes will disappear as well, especially we now have a standard centre section for the front wing.

    You will always get turbulence (lots of it) from the back of an f1 car. The thing the FIA is trying to calm is upwash. This is what causes the following car to see its performance harmed. The goals are

    1) Cut upwash
    2) Make the aero less sensitive – hence the end of flow conditioners etc …

    Hope that clears things up

  15. That’s not a front wing, its a bulldozer shovel.
    With the wing being the same width as the tyres, many won’t survive the first lap (are you listening Nico.

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