FOTA consider new 2011 downforce cuts

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

F1 cars are now producing almost as much downforce as they were in 2008
F1 cars are now producing almost as much downforce as they were in 2008

The Formula One Teams’ Association is considering further restrictions on how much downforce F1 cars can generate as the 2010 cars are already producing almost as much downforce as they were in 2008.

The changes introduced last year at the urging of the Overtaking Working Group have not succeeding in reducing downforce levels.

FOTA is considering going beyond the banning of double diffusers in 2011 to cut downforce further in an effort to encourage more overtaking in F1.

Speaking during the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Phone-In the team’s engineering director Paddy Lowe explained why overtaking has become even more difficult for F1 drivers in 2010:

I think things are getting worse in terms of how close are we to getting to the intentions of the Overtaking Working Group.

Principally, that’s because the cars are generating much more downforce under the floors than was ever envisaged, and that’s driven by the opportunity you get with the double diffuser interpretation.

One of the intentions with the OWG package was the downforce generated from the floor should be much lower, and this helps overtaking for two reasons.

One, the cars have less downforce altogether, and there is a direct correlations between the amount of downforce cars have and the weight of the problem. That’s obvious because you lose downforce in the wake of another car, and if you have less to start with you lose less.

The second one is to do with where the downforce is generated, and generating it from the floor is a bad characteristic because of the wake it generates.

So we’ve gone in the wrong direction. Downforce in these cars is approaching where it was in 2008.
Paddy Lowe

Not everyone agrees with Lowe’s analysis – Red Bull designer Adrian Newey claimed in January that banning double diffusers won’t make it easier for cars to overtake.

However the teams have already agreed to ban double diffusers in 2011 – and may go further:

We’ve agreed to ban double diffusers next year and also reduce the height of the diffuser, both of which will significantly reduce floor downforce.

That’s correct for the same two reasons: less downforce is better and less floor downforce is better for following cars and therefore overtaking.

We are looking at whether that is sufficient, and that’s an ongoing discussion as to whether even more should be planned for next year. But I think what we’ve already agreed are very big steps and absolutely correct for what we’ve learned from the OWG.
Paddy Lowe

These are not the only changes being considered for the 2011 technical rules. The teams may also have to accommodate a change in wheel size from 13 to 18 inches which could further increase development costs.

Michelin are talking to the FIA, FOTA and FOM about a return to Formula 1 for 2011-2013 and 18-inch wheels would be a requirement. They feel those wheels are more contemporary in terms of appearance and technology, similar to high performance road cars.

It depends how we manage it as to how big a problem it could become. The teams, I hope, will agree to certain constraints so that we don’t expand the development into any envelope that’s freed up by that.

I think we can do it in a way that manages the cost.
Paddy Lowe

Both changes could be positive for F1, potentially improving the quality of racing and making F1 more useful for tyre manufacturers. Do you think this is the right direction for F1? Have your say in the comments.

Double diffuser ban and low profile tyres

Image (C)

179 comments on “FOTA consider new 2011 downforce cuts”

  1. I would like to see a big swap from aerodynamic grip to mechanical grip, but i’m with Keith on the best and cheapest way is to increase the tyre size to 15″. I’d also like to remove the raised noses from the car too. That should nicely return the cars (mostly) to a circa 1990 style of design.

    1. It would be nice but whatever they do the teams will constantly find “loopholes” in the rules and they’ll end up back at square one with the same problem again.

      1. which is why the rules need to constanly evole.

        I believe downforce should be greatly reduced again, cutting the height of wings in half both front and back, and a much shallower diffuser, and then compensate with wider, softer tyres

        1. theRoswellite
          13th April 2010, 18:53

          @Sam: Oh that you were writing the FIA’s new, hopefully, regulations regarding a reduction in downforce….I’d even be happy if you were just head of the OWG.

          Obviously, I’m a 100% behind your ideas!

          1. Softer tyres is a bad idea though.

            They damage too quickly and thus mean that drivers need to be careful not to damage them too quickly. Which means no overtaking.

      2. Tommy, that’s the whole point of F1!.. But, an aero reduction is a good start.

    2. Fred Schechter
      13th April 2010, 18:54

      Amen, Wiiiide tires, CDG wing (seriously that’d help central wake a ton). Require the shark fin (who’s really going to complain about bigger billboards?)
      Then, single diffuser with and under-tray template that halves the current undertray downforce amounts. Open the rest and the goal will be aero efficiency.

      1. WOW… CDG wings, thought everyone had forgotten them. Wasn’t there some issue with the stability?

    3. I believe the noses are required to be high for safety reasons, so that cars don’t run under each other.

    4. Finaly the ddd wake lie has been exposed! I have gotten sick of explaining that the ddd wake is a problem..

      1. Newey says that it isn’t a problem. I’ll pick Newey’s opinion over anyone elses anyday.

        The only problem is that the front wing is now too low. That means it’s exactly in the wake of the diffuser.

        1. He’s bound to say that though….

          1. @Uncle exactly. NEVER believe an aerodynamist. They’ll have you believe that we have no overtaking due to soft tyres + semi automatic gearboxes. Rubbish.

  2. I would also make the cars smaller, specially much shorter, and with smaller brakes.

    1. There is a direct correlation between Tilkedomes and size and speed of cars.
      If we want to use beautiful historic tracks, cars cannot continue to be longer and faster.
      On television you cannot see how fast or technically sophisticated the cars are, what you see is the track ( and hopefully some good racing and overtaking ). Rules have to be created with this in mind.
      Whoever wants computerised spaceship racing can get a videogame.

    2. Didn’t they restrict the maximum width of an F1 car quite a while ago? Also I remember reading an article before the season that because of the rules on fuel tanks such as location and that you can only have one, that it was inevitable that the cars would be longer this year with the need for larger fuel tanks.

      1. I remember that the cars were narrowed dramatically as part of the radical rule changes that came into force in 1998 (including grooved tyres, boo, hiss). The width regulations may have been revised since then, though.

        1. No they never re-widened them.

          1. Now that we have slick tyres back this is the one thing i’d love to see return, those pre ’98 cars looked epic!

  3. Why try find out what combination’s work on todays cars when we have already found a combination that works?

    Cars of the 80’s seemed to do just fine in overtaking, if we could just modify the regulations to get cars to a similar level.

    plus they looked bad-ass ;)

    1. A big part of the reason why they can’t do that is because F1 teams’ can’t unlearn what they already know.

      Mid-80s cars a tyre-shredding turbo power and massive but inefficient wings.

      Teams are now much better at managing tyre degradation and wings are not only more powerful but also more sensitive to following the wake of the car in front.

  4. Yep, this is finally the right direction for the sport. I would take it further though, not only would I reduce “cost” to 1990’s levels, but I’d reduce downforce to 1990’s levels too.

    Downforce does not give anything back to the motor industry, whereas all the other “standardised” components do. Give development back in these areas, including KERS/Hybrid, and allow Formula 1 to be a proper development area for the road cars.

    1. what ever is done I just wish before they make any radical changes on paper based on paper exercise and brain storming that they actually do some testing to see how the new proposed changes transform into real life.
      One of the problems with some of the changes in the last few years is that they where never tested and the expectations of the changes didn’t happen because things didn’t behave as expected. I would like to see cars ran with say 18″ wheels, without double diffuser and any other changes they might propose and test to see how a car behaves behind another car to test overtaking before making another radical change that end up not working as planned.

  5. Well I’ve made my veiws clear on how we should reduce downforce a few times now so no need for another big one. Interesting to see Neweys veiw. As the best aerodynamicist in the paddok he’s probably unlikley to be very helpful about ways to slash downforce but presumably if he thinks banning DD isn’t the problem then it’s top downforce that is the problem?

    So Ban Wings!

    Anyway FOTA’s discusions could leave us with 18 inch wheels, further reductions in downforce than loosing the DD, an a few more discusions. Hope they go at it sensibly.

    1. Agreed. Ban diffusors and ban wings completely and be done with it! Any other way, and the teams will find a trick to get around the rules.

  6. Formula One is getting slower and slower. I am only supporting this only if they bring wider and bigger tyres to give the cars more mechanical grip to compensate for the lost of downforce.

    1. No, you’re not alone.

    2. Cars are going faster and faster Jonathan. Banning wings would be silly, but by reducing the dimensions here and there we can make the teams find new ways to become aero efficient which is sort of the point. If you don’t like wings, then watch Nascar.

      I agree that there needs to be more mechanical grip and a need to reduce wakes causing limited passing; however, I the wake allows for drafts down the straights which helps passing. In my opinion the problem is that the tracks themselves develop singular lines so that we no longer see cars going around the outside 2×2 on a corner. I believe the tracks are as much to blame.

    3. “Formula One is getting slower and slower.”

      Are you entirely sure about that? What evidence have you to back up that statement?

      What is this obsession with F1 being the ‘fastest’? Doesn’t anyone watch Drag racing?

  7. Ned Flanders
    13th April 2010, 14:26

    Why not kill two birds with one stone and bring back the one set of tyres per race rule? This would not only create better racing (like in 2005, which had some great races), but also mean potential tyre suppliers would have to bring fewer sets of tyres to each race, reducing costs

    1. Keep in mind, they also had V10 engines in 2005. After they were banned, we saw the beginning of this massive down-force cars.

      1. However a return to tubo’s is being considered so imagine wingless turbo one tyre f1.

        My f1 wish at the mo.

  8. Personally, I think banning the double diffuser will have an adverse effect beacus ethe floor downforce isn’t disturbed by following another car. If anything we should be making some sort of limited use of ground effects or at least increase size of diffusers. Just think, GP2 and IndyCar are two of the best open-wheel series in terms of the quality of racing and both types of car generate alot of downforce from the floor.

    1. I would assume the extra turbulence from the double diffuser interferes with the low down front wing though.

  9. Mouse_Nightshirt
    13th April 2010, 14:32

    What I don’t understand is if Adrian Newey of all people says banning double diffusers won’t have an effect, why is everyone else harping that it will? Has Newey ever been completely wrong on anything in his career?

    1. i think it is totally wrong that the teams are making the rules to begin with. If someone like Adrian Newey suggests a new rule, the next moment he’ll already think of a way to get around it. i think a while back someone suggested an FIA-led independent group of engineers, I wonder what happened to that.

    2. if Adrian Newey of all people says banning double diffusers won’t have an effect, why is everyone else harping that it will?

      The more the rules restrict aerodynamic design, the less scope designers like Newey have to make a difference.

      As the rules become ever more restrictive, sooner or later we could be looking at have a specification aerodynamic package. Then teams like Red Bull can save themselves a few million by not hiring F1’s best aerodynamicist.

      1. but do we really want to get to where we have basically a spec car? Isn’t this the very thing that makes F1 unique that each team build and design their own car and you have multiple engine manufacturers and all that. If the chassis would be a spec aero package then the only thing different between F1 and GP2, Indycar et al is that you have 4 different engine manufacturer instead of one. Next step would be to make one mandatory engine manufacturer and vola you have a spec series no different then GP2, Indy, Formula 2, Formula 3, Formula Renault and what all others there are out there spec series open wheel racing.

        1. Some parts of the car are already essentially spec parts. Others are homologated at the start of the year and then unchanged. It’s a question of degrees.

          1. I believe that we can all agree that there is some sort of solution, but as of yet nothing has come into effect that illustrates this. The series cannot become overly restricted, spec or homologated. There must be development and the rules should change to reflect this. With that said, there needs to be static rules for a minimum number of years, say 3 or 4. Before this can happen, we need to see passing occur. Rain shouldn’t be the only good race!

            What if the rear wing had to have a 1 foot or .33 meter wide hole such that there are essentially two wings divided by a slot so that air would pass behind the car to the following car? Is there anyone who knows whether this would be a positive aero rule such as an engineer or whatever? I’m curious. If this did allow for following, the teams would then have to work on getting the most downforce out of it while maintaining efficiency and low drag.

          2. @seattlechris

            such a wing was explored and ultimately thrown out (CDG Concept wing, Central Downwash Generating wing)

            Detail technical analysis

            But the idea was finally scrapped (at least for now)

        2. I don’t see why we can’t have one spec aero and open the engine / mechanical regulations, surely that’ll new manufactuers more inclined to sign up.

          1. @macahan

            Thanks for the link! What is interesting is that there is not much discussion on how large the rear wing is in this analysis. After reading the article I find it odd that they went with a smaller rear wing instead of the double rear element. The article shows how the rear tires create a significant wake so keeping a central wing element makes almost no sense at all. At least in the split wing scenario there is some, albeit small, clean air passing to the following car.

      2. Maybe then, the drivers can start winning races. LOL

  10. James Allen wrote about how the front wing is the biggest area for downforce on the F1 cars at the moment. Apparantly the front wing is worth as much as 5 or 6 times more downforce than double diffusers…

    I reckon we need to tghten up the rules with regards to front wings. Make them “smoother” and cleaner”.

    1. I agree with James. If we removed all that front wing snowplough we could also make the cars at least half a meter shorter.

    2. One thing he points out is also how important the wing is to remove aero drag on the tires. One option would be to limit the width of the wing further. In 08 the wing covered about 1/3 of the front tire and in 09 it went all the way to the outside of the tire. Make the wing only cover again 1/3 of the front tire as maximum with NO vanes or other aero devices on the outside or in other word a flat straight end plate.

      1. I agree that the wings need to be narrower but I don’t think eliminating the endplates or other developments. Making the wing smaller automatically reduces the amount of advantage even Newey could glean from it yet still allow for some room to develop. I don’t want to see the Newey’s of the world disappear if we can come up with ways to continue research and development while maintaining a competitive racing league.

        Its almost polar on this website whereby the reactionaries freak out if the race doesn’t have 20 lead changes. Removing all wings? Making the cars spec? There are plenty of feeder series in the world, YES- even in America, where this is already done. I watch F1 because I want to see whats new, what can be done and leave it to the brilliant imaginations of engineers. The F-duct is awesome for the sport. I don’t root for Button or Hamilton, but I do like what their team has done. I want more of the outside the box thinking, not less. I too desire some more real racing action and some changes are going to get us there we just need to iron out a few more details. There’s got to be some middle ground that allows for cars to follow, reduces costs and yet still allows for some crazy new concepts. If the ideas proposed thus far were political I would say most of you are either Radical Left or Radical Right. Where is the middle? Where is reason? Lets do what America’s government can’t: Compromise! Find something to satisfy both sides!

        1. It’s a tough one to call, but the front wing is where there needs to be some changes. I’d say revert back to 08 wings. Some drivers in 08 said that the front wing from that time would better on the cars in future compared to the propsed.

    3. We want turbos
      13th April 2010, 15:51

      How about banning front wing supports and having them as 1 single piece with 1 endplate and maybe let them have a small adjustable flap??

    4. I’d have the front wing look and operate in a similar fashion to the canards on a Eurofighter, shorter and swept a little, single element. Driver adjustable angle of incidence across a larger range.

      This would also hopefully stop such finely tuned aerodynamics; if your front wing can vary by say 15 degrees or more, so will the aerodynamic performance of the entire car, as it affects airflow over the entire car. So you would be forced to design a better aerodynamic “all-rounder” rather than something which only works 100% effectively under certain conditions.

  11. i hate this.. are they trying to slow down and ruin everything that is Formula One..?

    it seems as there is NOTHING the teams can do to progress these days without the fat cats butting in.. :\

    F1 is the pinacle of motorsport.. it should be the most spectacular and fastest motorsport on the calendar..

    stop slowing everything down..!

    this is Formula ONE NOT Formula Twenty six..?

    1. sorry i should just clarify, im all for the cutting costs and whatever but if the teams can make their cars faster whilst cutting costs.. why stop them

      to many rules will just make it boring

      what next.. every driver must paint their helmets the same colour so they can be orderd in bulk.. pffft

      1. Yeah, after the helmets get painted the same color I’m hoping that all drivers must be 5’10” tall and be right handed. Next, they must all be of the opinion that Citizen Kane is the best movie ever made. They must then all be pay drivers because teams are not allowed to spend any of their own money above $5/year… however, any profits must never go into the drivers pockets or the teams, it must go directly to Ecclestone and his cronies. After this is accomplished, all races must be held in the poorest middle eastern countries where 95% or higher of the wealth is held by fewer than 5 families. There must be no actual fans at the race. They must build new tracks every other year that has so many slow corners with a width capable of only allowing 1 car to manage it at a time. Anyone in the luxury box must have at least 5 cars in their garage worth over $250,000. They must travel to the track in a limo and if they are on holiday, must arrive in whatever country in their own private jet. Regarding the teams, each must pass the Briatore school of ethics taught by Symonds and Briatore themselves at a cost which will be passed onto the driver super license costs. In this school they will learn that crashing to help out an established teammates career is the most important aspect of their legacy. They will also learn to accept full responsibility and be immediately banned from all FIA racing sanctioned events. Their fathers must also become involved.
        Each year there should be a randomly chosen group of new teams that are “allowed” to compete. They must agree that they are fortunate to even be there and expect that they will not be competitve. This will be accomplished by allowing the established teams test for two whole weeks while they are required to build cars using only freeware such as google’s sketchup program; they will not be allowed to test the car before the first race. They do have the honor of building two complete cars to have crash tested at a palatial mansion established at the whim of Ecclestone whereby he invites the wealthiest individuals over for a catered extravaganza and a good laugh to all attending.
        Any websites that pertain to F1 must demand payment for viewing yet accept none of the income and pass the money directly to the FIA. It should be noted that no negative comments about the FIA or its leaders are to be allowed.
        I am hopeful that these changes will go into effect as soon as possible. I know I am not alone in my hopes.

        1. ROFL.. Excellent one… Love it… =)

        2. @Chris. Are you an idiot? All helmets the same colour? How will we then know which pilot to hate?

          Btb, they are pilots. With the aeros, the cars are more aeroplanes than racing motorcars.

          Ach aye, the noo. Bonnie post, Chris.
          Jaggy andy.

          1. Damn. Okay, I may be an idiot, but at least I’m a dreamer! ha ha!

        3. You made my day !
          Just wondering: did you write all that up in the spur of the moment ? Impressive !

    2. Keith showed a few days ago that F1 cars are about as fast as hey ever been.

      1. and they are still trying to kill that..

        havnt they learnt that whatever rules get introduced the teams will always find a loop hole..

        id love to see more overtaking and what not.. but all these rules are just annoying me..

        i think the refuling ban was a silly idea.. but thats my opinion just having a rant haha

        1. Well the speeds need to be brought down because otherwise the cars go too fast. That could endanger the lives of the drivers, marshalls and spectators.

      2. Not exactly. On race pace, they are even slower than last year. Besides this point,the comparison Keith made can be deceiving too. The new records are being posted by cars running on petrol fumes. In 2004, they were done with cars carrying race fuel. (some 40-60kg more, which is a massive difference)

    3. hear hear nemo. i agree, f1 needs to be the fastest otherwise it wouldn’t be f1!
      they need to free up development too. like unfreeze engines, build whatever kind of wing you want.

      1. give it a few more years and we’ll have Formula Prius hahaha

        im not so sure about the 18inch wheels either.. think it will look daft :\

        the 13 inch are pretty much unique to F1.. keep it that way

        if not, someone mentioned maybe 15 inch..?
        i think i could learn to love that :D

        1. actually it’s the rim that is 13″ with balloon tires. The idea with 15 or 18″ is still to keep same outside tire diameter but with a bigger rim (otherwords bring in low profile tires that is used in almost every other form of racing as well on performance street cars). I’m all for this because this means lower sidewalls on the tires which means the tires can easier handle lateral forces without thick reenforced sidewalls and less cost in development for tire manufacturers.

          1. yeah i knew that :) i just think it will give the F1 cars too much of an indy look..

          2. just had a flick through AutoSport magazine.. and they have a photoshop of the Renault with the 18″ wheels on..

            hrmmmmm.. :\

          3. Here on the site someone posted a mockup of a McLaren with 18″ chrome.

  12. I read a post at James Allens blog that made sense to me. If downforce was the reason for the lack of overtaking, wouldn’t that mean that you got less overtaking in the rain than in the dry? – That’s when you go for maximum downforce, but have a very reduced mechanical grip.

    If it was up to me i would try to give the cars a longer braking distance – worse tires and steel brakes. I seem to remember there being better racing in 2005 because of worse tires. And to keep the speed up, and the chance of making mistakes I would free up the engine regulation – why not restrict CO2-emissions instead of capacity – to give the rear tires an excess of power. That would make sliding and wheelspin more common, and todays drivers makes way to few mistakes.

    I might be wrong and I’m sorry for rambling, but I find it incredibly frustrating that very few of the solutions the teams and the FIA comes up with seems to work.

    1. What makes rainy races so exciting is not that mechanical grip is lower, but that it’s impredictable: conditions are changing all over the place and all the time. So it’s a lot more of a gamble and there are many more mistakes. Reducing the grip in a predictable way, e.g. with smaller/harder tyres would not improve excitement or overtaking

      1. lowers speed as well because grip is less so in cornering you have to slow down more making aero less effective and usable and you have to start breaking sooner and you don’t get the same launch from a corner. One thing also it’s different from each corner to another corner on different area on the race track because of how water collects and runs off making things unpredictable. With smaller/harder tires on a dry track things are still very predictable because the tires react the same on any portion of the track. When it’s wet a slight late breaking and you miss the apex and you now of the “drying” line and the other car might either be on it or at least manage to put one set of tires on the dry line for better grip while the other car has all 4 on wet asphalt.

    2. I’m guessing, but the reason there’s more passing in the rain may be because, for all the efforts in maximising the car’s downforce levels, conditions mean that the cars still produce less downforce than in the dry.

      1. I haven’t heard anybody complaining about the wake turbulence in rain conditions. Where’s that gone ?
        That said: how come Hamilton can slipstream on Rosberg in Australia and yet be unable to do the same thing in Bahrain ?
        OK, you can grill me now …

  13. Call me repetitive, but if the more downforce = less overtaking relation holds, the Herman Tilke venues must generate a hell of a lot of downforce. No double-difuser banning will ever compensate for that.

    1. I think Herman Tilke tracks have all those slow corners because aerodynamics are of course, airspeed dependent, they don’t work until your moving at over about 60mph, so any chance with an apex speed of 40mph should theoretically have more overtaking on it.

      1. theRoswellite
        13th April 2010, 20:50

        @ MuzzleFlash:

        Airfoils “function” at any speed. Their downforce is a constant relationship and is, as you say, airspeed dependent. Once you have laminar flow across the top and bottom surfaces then, thanks to Mr. Bernoulli, you get a difference in effective pressures. (Sorry, you probably know all this)

        I’ve never heard what the required speed is for most F1 front wings (obviously, the front wing isn’t a wing, but a structure of multiple wings) to move from a stalled condition to generating lift, but I doubt it is as high as 60 mph.

        The problem with passing in a corner with an apex speed of 40mph is you probably need to position your car for the passing maneuver in
        a braking zone in which the speed is considerably higher, thus the wings are working to generate downforce. If you are the following car your disrupted downforce decreases your ability to steer (front wing loss) and brake (front and rear wing loss); and it is this handicap that “prevents” many passing attempts, or turns some of the attempts into crap shoots….the banzai move!

        @ Antifia:

        Downforce from wings doesn’t negate passing, the interruption of the downforce when following closely behind another car is the culprit.

        1. case in point. Webber on Hamilton in Oz. Webber got to close lost down force on his front wing and couldn’t steer and hit the end of Hamiltons car. If the cars where not so aero sensitive he would still had steering control of the car and might have manage to stick the pass instead of loosing control. Car less reliant on downforce or at least affected by turbulent wake of another car and more mechanical grip would allow closer following and more overtaking. The problem is the design today create to much reliance on downforce and the car creates to much disturbance behind them destroying air flow for car behind to function well.

    2. The problem with a lack of overtaking is not Tilke.

      There is plenty of overtaking on the Istanbul, Bahrain, Sepang and Shanghai tracks.

      Classics like Hungaroring, Barcelona, Monaco and even Silverstone offer much less overtaking.

      Granted there are some Tilke duds too like Valencia and Singapore, but those are street tracks forced on him by Ecclestone. With a street track there isn’t much anyone can do.

      Do his tracks lack atmosphere and tradition? Sure, but they are new tracks, what else can one expect.

      The whining about Tilke tracks preventing overtaking is just nonsense though.

      1. I agree; surely nobody invests that kind of money to increase boredom …

        I would suggest they listen to the drivers, what suggestions they might have in changing track layout, not like Bahrain mind !

      2. consider all but one track was built in the last 6 years the track should function more to suit todays car which is not the case. Bahrain does not see much overtake and this year change utterly destroyed the track just curious if Tilke had anything to do with this change or not. One big reason why he gets so beat up is because so many of his tracks are created in the last 6 years and produced so poor racing and represent a high percentage of all race tracks used by F1. The best track he done is Malaysia which he did 12 years ago and was his first track. Korea his latest track seems to be a inverted Malaysia instead of the two straights on the “inside” of the “ring” it’s now on the outside of the ring. It might actually be a good track consider it’s similarity to Malaysia that can create exciting racing even in the dry.

        1. Bahrain is one of the tracks that has the most overtaking. 21 during the last race and about 15 on average. Only Turkey and Interlagos have a higher average number of overtakes (in dry races).

          It would be much better if people argued about these things absed on facts rather than just guessing.

          1. 21 is highest at Bahrain except for 06.

            Back at you then. People complained on some of the traditional circuits are bad.
            Average overtakes on some of the “booring” traditional tracks Silverstone was mentioned above..

            Silverstone 22
            Nurburgring 17
            Hockenheim 21
            Canada 18
            Spa 20
            Interlagos 21
            Melbourne 15 (last race 41 in wet)
            Hungaroring 15
            Monaco 9
            Spain 8
            Monza 22
            Suzuka 15
            (dry overtake average)

            Tilke tracks
            Bahrain 17
            Yas Marina 6
            Valencia 2
            China 13 (last race 60!! in wet astonishing 30 average if you can all races)
            Malaysia 15
            Istanbul Park 18

            Singapore 6 (design based on modified Tilke design)

            So yeah alright Bahrain is not the MOST boring of Tilkes tracks but some of the tracks of the traditional tracks including hungaroring pointed out to be bad for overtaking and have boring races produce as many and more overtakes then Tilke tracks.
            Monaco and Spain is the exception and well Singapore (kinda Tilkes but not really).
            I must say I was VERY disappointed in his latest creation Yas Marina but put it down to a hopeful fluke.

            Tracks that can go. Valencia, Barcelona, Singapore, Bahrain or Turkey. Sure last two have a decent high overtake but they are guaranteed to be dry I take Malaysia and hope for wet or a wet Suzuka.
            Turkey started out VERY good 26 and 27 overtakes the two first years. Bahrain with exception of 06 (what happen there 34 overtakes??) would have a average of 15 instead of 17 if it wasn’t for 06.
            A race that is guaranteed to be dry has less excitement in my book I would rather see race go to a location that maybe don’t have as many overtakes in dry condition but have the chance of being a wet quali or wet race. Bahrain have the record the last 10 years for the most overtakes in a single dry race with 34. Man now I will have to figure out what went on in that race because I can not recall.. lol

          2. FYI Bahrain 06 was the first race of the year with the new quali rules. Some drivers got caught out and didn’t get the starting grid position expected. One of these was Kimi Raikkonen whom finished 3rd after climbed 19 positions from his grid starting position. Button finished 4th behind Kimi after a slow start and had a fight with Rubens and Montoya (passed twice).

          3. You have to correct your data. First of all you should only look at recent races.

            In the eighties and nineties Silverston had something like 40 overtakes per races. That’s much higher than today. They had massive numbers of cars on track in those days.

            That way indeed the “classic” tracks will show much more overtaking.

            Look at the data since 2000 and you get the following dry Silverstnoe races:
            8 6 46 11 6 6 13 9

            I then removed the outliers (46 and 6) to produce a clean result of 8.8 overtakes on average in a recent dry race at Silverstone.

            Bahrain has the following numbers of overtakes:
            12 8 34 18 13 15 21

            remove the outliers 34 and 8 and you get an average of 15.8

            Almost twice as much as Silverstone.

      3. @Patrickl: Do you actually read what you write? For one, you cite 4 of the worst tracks in F1 as an argument for the Tilkedroms. Bahrain and Sepang already provided a fresh borefest this year and, if no rain comes in China, the next one is coming thick and fast. Add to those, Abu Dhabi, Valencia and Singapore and you have all the fast-parade circuits in F1. Granted, Barcelona and Hungaroring are also junk, and they cannot be blamed on Tilke. But hey, my argument is that every circuit designed by Tilke is crap, not that every crap circuit has been designed by him.

  14. Front wings should have only 1 wing element on each side, and flat side plates. They wlao need to be only the width of the stace between the wheels. The width of the cars should go back to 2m, and we need wider tires. Also, the cars need flat bottom floors, and all aero helper devices that are not part of the bodywork itself should be banned (barge boards, splitters…)

    And yeah, i definetly want lower noses back.

    1. They also need to be only as wide as the place between the wheels. Same goes for the rear wing, and the rear wing should be lower.

      WHat i’d also like to see is an impact test for the front wing elements.
      First to prevent wings randomly falling off (kobayashi in aus, virgin in testing…)
      Second, to make a contact less costly and allowing the racing to continue, without one of the participants needing a new wing immediately after just touching something else.

  15. Strange line of thought: generating downforce from the floor is bad because of the wake it generates.
    That wake is only a problem if your car’s downforce is dependent on clean air, so make downforce independent from the wake of another car: limit the wings, widen the tires.
    Go back to early ’80s design: wing-cars or even fan cars. Or introduce counter-wake measure: additional grids of some sort to neutralize air flow behind a car.
    Unbelievable that the aero lobby can find arguments to point the finger somewhere else. Job protection anyone ?
    Just a thought however: if Lewis can pass Rosberg in Australia, why didn’t he do the same in Bahrain ?

    1. they could make wind tunnels produce turbulent air. and design their cars around that…

      1. I have always wondered a bit about just how necessary wings, diffusers etc really are on a racing car. I was at Castle Coombe recently watching Formula Fords, and they seem to survive without them!
        Also, thinking back to when wings were first added in F1, they were really little more than an extra place for advertising, and had a terrible habit of falling off the car too.
        Now all the designers seem to be completly dependant on wind tunnels and computers for the car design, and then have a big surprise when this ‘ideal’ shape for going fast in clean air gets into difficulties behind another car with the same ‘ideal’ shape. Are the designers blind? They need to spend time at the trackside and pay attention to what really happens out there.
        I had thought that the OWG had maybe knocked sense into car design last year, but Brawn’s diffuser just complicated matters. Maybe we need to be thinking back along the lines of ‘brute force’ as well as ‘grip’ and ‘aerodynamics’ to find the answer…..

        1. Just reading through the post here and picked up the interesting idea that aero needs to simply more inefficient or have a broader operating range with a variable Typhoon-like canard front wing. That seems to be the heart of the problem.

          Strange that everybody hangs on the lips of the aero guys, when all the evidence points in their direction: series that produce overtaking all have less efficient aero packages.

        2. theRoswellite
          13th April 2010, 21:03

          @ DGR-F1:

          Believe me the designers and aero guys are totally familiar the actual ontrack problems that you mention. The problem is, if they don’t design their cars as they are at present, they won’t be able to keep up with a car with the present downforce configuration…thus they can never get into a position to pass!

          1. I was thinking that as I was writing last time, but decided to stir the designers up a bit for a reaction…… :-)
            If the whole package was forced to backtrack to something much simpler, something similar to GP2 or F3, but kept the power advantage (with or without KERS), would that be going in the right direction? I mean if the FIA saw sense and decreed it……
            There is (or was) a series called Grand Prix Legends, where ex F1 drivers such as Our Nige were in new cars designed around an earlier generation of F1 car – perhaps this is more what is needed?

  16. Why don’t they simply ban the diffusers? It would certainly improve the racing.

    1. And what would you do with all the trapped air under the floor? A racecar (even a roadcar) needs a diffuser (even if its small), to get rid of the air from under the floor, so it doesn’t generate lift.

      1. Also, note that
        Difusers = good
        More aero (wings) = bad

      2. Just a stepped-flat bottom is enough. Formula 1 already has huge amount of downforce from the wings.

        1. We want turbos
          13th April 2010, 19:26

          You’re going about it the wrong way get rid of the wing aero keep diffusers.

  17. Let’s be honest, Michelin want 18in wheels because they just want to bring over their Le Man slicks.

    1. There’s nothing wrong with that.
      Even considering they’d be tyres designed for endurance racing, I doubt we’d see options lasting over 40 laps.

      1. They will still be black, don’t worry. Don’t really care which tires they have, to me that is irrelevant.
        I cant even remember which tires JB had while he was ploughing through the field in Brazil last year.
        Looking at pictures from the 70s era, wow those tires were gigantic !

        1. Jarred Walmsley
          13th April 2010, 20:23

          Also if F1 goes with the low profile tires then Firestone becomes realistic option as they can bring the Indy tires over which would reduce the costs and thus make it more attractive

  18. *Bee in my bonnet alert!*

    At the moment I think the aerodynamic grip issue is a bit of a red herring. I am not for one minute downplaying the fact that the wake created by a modern F1 car prevents drivers from overtaking, we all know that, but I’m trying to point out other factors which add to the problem, and in my view there are two critical factors which, when added to the aerodynamic problem, make it nearly impossible for modern F1 cars to overtake.

    The first (and most important in my book) of there is the fact that the cars are limited to 18 000 rpm. How often do you see a modern F1 car get in the tow of the car in front, pull out, hit the rev limiter, and then fail to get past. It’s absurd. If teams were allowed to run unlimited revs (with the same restriction on the number of engines to be used during the season to keep things within reason) we would see cars overtaking again.

    The second factor that is standardisation and the rules which aim to make cars more reliable. All the cars must be powered by 2.4 liter V8 engines, KERS can only give you 80 bhp for 6,7 seconds, you can only use 8 engines per season, you can only use so many sets of tyres etc etc etc. If you give the teams options in respect of what type of solution they want to run in a number of areas you would end up with cars with varying strengths and weaknesses. This would result in interesting races as certain parts of certain tracks would suit certain cars and not others. Standardisation was part of the reason why KERS was such a monumental failure. What’s the point of investing 8 figure amounts of money in a technology which can only give you 80bhp for such a tiny amount of time? Why should you be forced not to use your system’s full potential? If you have a system that could deliver 150bhp for 20 seconds or 30 bhp for a whole lap, that should be to your benefit.

    When the engine rules are changes in the near future I honestly hope that the FIA doesn’t only give the teams one option. I honestly hope they give the teams a choice. Yes in time they will all probably end up using the same stuff eventually as they did in the Turbo era, but for a while we would get fantastic racing… and isn’t that the point?

    1. to be devils advocate here.
      Indycars produce some pretty exciting racing, they are rev limited to 10,500rpm, slightly heavier then a F1 car, bargebords are allowed, they have a overtake button that give them a whooping 9bhp additional power and they can only use it 20 times in a race (last race was 90 laps), and it only give that extra power for a short period of time and takes a few seconds to reset which means you might be able to use it out on a straight, car infront react in responds to hit his button and the overtaker might have a chance to hit his overtake button a second time before end of straight and the car being overtaken will not have a chance to hit his button a second time before breaking zone.

      Before anyone say anything else, this year the majority of the races are road race tracks and NOT oval tracks. On the oval tracks the rear wing is higher mounted then on a road track. On oval tracks Indycars can be as much as 20kph faster then a F1 car on the fastest straight. On the oval tracks there is a ton of overtaking I think the record is 53 lead changes because they can get a incredible tow and launch themselves a head which means often you do NOT want to lead the last lap unless you can break away from the car following you so you can break his tow. Can make for very exciting racing and very close finishing.

      On road course racing the wing is mounted lower to lower the aero performance and the wake behind the car.

      It seems in F1 between 08 and 09 the wing was allowed to be raced mounted at a higher position but this might just be an illusion I do not know for fact if there was a regulation change that allowed this or not.

    2. I’m sure there’s more than one cause of the problem – but I suspect the rev limit is a much less significant cause than the aerodynamics.

      If cars are hitting the rev limiter while slipstreaming and passing then the teams need to adjust their gear ratios accordingly. If they were hitting the rev limit that we could tell by listening to the on-boards… and probably the drivers complaining after the race as well.

  19. Why going trough a lengthy process of proposing a “new solution” to reduce downforce, wait for FIA, FOTA, FOM to agree, spend money to implement it. Than, in a year or so find out that was a bad solution.
    Wouldn’t be more economical and effective for FIA to test the solution, make sure it works, than impose the solution? (example: a standard undercarriage package)
    I really don’t get it.

    1. Absolute right, Ranilom.
      In their defense, I think the 09 regs were actually working as cars were visibly closer to one another last year.
      I guess it depends on the people discussing it within the OWG: if Red Bull delegate Newey, then you can rest assured that wings will not be touched or at least still feature prominently within the new regs !

    2. absolutely what I been chanting for a bit about. No more paper solutions. Come up with a solution/option test it out and based on result make ratifications.

    3. It might be more effective but at the moment making changes the way they do doesn’t cost the FIA anything.

      To do what you’re suggesting they’d have to get someone to lend them an F1 car or two, build the parts, hire a track to test them on and a couple of drivers.

      So there would be a substantial cost involved, and they’d have to find someone to foot the bill.

      I like your idea, but who’d going to pay for it?

      1. How about the owners of the whole circus, isn’t that CVC or something?
        As I understood from the budget discussions of last year, half the money generated currently leaves F1. Surely, a bit less wouldn’t do anyone any harm ? It would be an investment for future revenues, if anything.
        Otherwise, they could check with Indycars and copy what they did. They face the same issues, being open-wheel racing.

      2. Keith,
        FIA knows how much money a team will spend to develop a new undercarriage, the diffuser, etch. Instead of spending ?? x 12 teams, the teams could contribute to ??/12 for the FIA to conduct necessary test. The aerodynamic engineers will have plenty to work on the rest of the car, and the modifications will be visible to us.
        If both the teams and the FIA are honest about cost reduction, they should be happy to contribute to a tested solution that will work and save money in the process.

      3. There is a simple answer.

        There is currently an aerodynamic experiment that is about to enter its 6th year, which is being tested in front of millions of people. It’s called GP2 and it produces some quality racing.

  20. If the technical freedom is restricted even more I am afraid the best of the best will just go find other challenges.

    1. couldnt agree more..

  21. Just ban either the front or rear wing (keeping the other one juste to balance the car) !
    Or ban all the wings, getting back to what the cars looked like in the 60’s.

  22. Why not banning wings at all?

    1. that would be hard the PR and Marketing departments in the teams would riot because that is the biggest advertisment place on the car. Only the side pods are larger but many time visible for less time on the camera. :( Teams need money to race and to get the money most of them need sponsors and the sponsors want exposure where better to get exposure then the name painted on prominent positions on the car. Wings and side pods are the best places in that order based on viability during race on TV.

  23. Personally I think the aim should be to make it easier for cars to follow each other closely, and for someone who is not very technically minded like myself the solution seems to be to reduce aerodynamic grip.

    On an aesthetics point I hope they get rid of the side-pod deflectors.

    Ideally I would like the technical regulations signed off a year before the season they apply to, and if there are any spaces on the grid for new teams for these to be allocated at the same, to give the teams plenty of time to get ready. Although I appreciate deciding on who gets the final slot for 2011 will have to be done later than that.

  24. We keep trying to move the goalposts on downforce levels forgetting the closest and most exciting season of the past 20 years came in 2008 after a decade of relatively stable aerodynamic regulations. I have to say I’m starting to doubt that trying to regulate downforce can make a difference, especially when the teams are always one step ahead with new ways of generating downforce.

    When you look at 2008, like in most seasons the best races with the most overtaking were the wet ones. Considering wet races do not effect aerodynamics but do reduce mechanical grip from the tyres and increase the length of braking zones it may reveal where the real problem is in F1. I think Frank Dernie and others who argue against the downforce argument are probably right and we should concentrate on reducing mechanical grip and regulating brakes if we want to see better racing.

    1. Agreed – I think standardised, less efficient brake disks and thinner – grooved tyres and a more powerful KERS unit with a total race usage limit – say 20 uses, could be the best solution to the overtaking problem in formula 1.

      even with all that – you put the fastest guy at the front he’s gonna disappear into the distance during the race

      1. …I agree with the braking distances point*

    2. the closest and most exciting season of the past 20 years came in 2008 after a decade of relatively stable aerodynamic regulations.

      Not at Valencia, Shanghai, Catalunya, Bahrain, Sepang, Magny-Cours and the Hungaroring it didn’t – at least according to readers of this site:

      1. agreed, 2008 was no different than other years.
        The favourable outcome probably coloured the memory …

      2. I think we could probably play that game with every season and chose the boring races and ignoring classis races like the ones in Australia, Monaco, Canada, Britain, Germany, Belgium, Italy and the race of the decade in Brazil. There were also very entertaining if not classic races such as Japan and Singapore. Hungary was also good race with a stunning first lap move by Massa, Hamilton’s puncture, Massa’s engine failure and the Alonso-Raikkonen battle. Far from being a boring race it was actually quite a good one.

        The main point I was trying to make though was that in most of the classic races that year it was the lack of mechanical grip and not aerodynamic grip in the rain that made for great racing.

        PS. Gilles, I think its fair to so I’m not exactly Hamilton’s biggest fan and wanted Massa to win the title that year. So the outcome of the WDC certainly hasn’t clouded my view of the season.

        1. OK Ads21 !

          I’m not sure that mechanical grip is the main culprit: they’ve been curbing it for over 25 years and since then close racing has been gradually disappearing.

    3. The only reason that wet races offer more overtaking is because they tend to be a lottery.

      If drivers start having pit stops at random, changing conditions, cars flying off and other chaotic events, then sure you get cars in the “wrong” order and they will start overtaking.

  25. Am I the only one that is happy with the current overtaking levels in F1?


    1. haha, i think you’re not alone in feeling that F1 is far too obsessed with improving “the show”

    2. No, me too.

      People just need to get their facts straight and stop complaining.

      The problem is more the viewers than the racing itself. They want to see their idols overtake cars.

      When we see Hamilton, Alonso, Button and Massa fight for the lower end of the top 10 from the rear then we see a “great race”.

      In total there were 24 overtakes. In Bahrain there were 21 overtakes. Why do people claim Bahrain is boring and Malaysia was great?

      Was there a big fight for the lead in Malaysia? No, in Malaysia there was nothing happening at the front either. Had the camera’s followed the top 5 like they did in Bahrain then it would have looked just as “boring”.

      The problem is not in overtaking, but in people’s perception and in their desire to see their idols fight for position. Even if in the end they score hardly any points.

      1. It’s a good point, and one of the reasons I actually gave Bahrain a 7 whilst everyone else slated it.

        In football, a 3-0 win by a big team is praised far more than a 4-2 game involving two small teams.

        But in Bahrain’s case, it was just as much FOM’s fault as it was the fans’

        1. True. We simply didn’t much of the overtaking that was going on on our TV’s during the Bahrain race.

        2. Good point indeed.
          Personally, I don’t need 100+ overtakings a race either. Wouldn’t mind seeing them closing up on each other more though; the closer they are, the more chance of an overtaking.

      2. In total there were 24 overtakes. In Bahrain there were 21 overtakes. Why do people claim Bahrain is boring and Malaysia was great?

        In Malaysia the passes were spread throughout the race:

        In Bahrain we had a load of passes around the pit stops and with the lower runners sorting themselves out at the start but not much more the rest of the time:

  26. If they want to cut the downforce, fine. However, make sure you already have an alternative to make to cars go faster than today because I can’t stand Formula 1 becoming slower every year!

    The pinnacle of technology in making cars go slower. :@

    1. They should open up engine development again. The quality of racing really went down when they changed to V8s and then froze the engines, I refuse to believe it’s a coincidence…

      But I’m not really sure what they can or will do on that front between now and 2013, when they’re planning to bring in a new engine formula.

  27. I may sound crazy but is it possible to have all the cars with the same wing angle?

  28. I don’t think I have enough technical understanding to comment on the wheel dimension issue. One thing I’d like to mention, though, is that after even major aerodynamical changes, people always seem to be nonchalantly surprised to realise downforce levels quickly elevate to prior levels again over the course of the development of a season or two.

    That always gets me to think if it wouldn’t be a better, more permanently effective approach for the FIA to just regulate the maximum amount of downforce a car could generate – and set that value at whatever less than the present is considered worthwile and still safe at the same time. Potentially, this could be splitted up into different groups of the cars’ aerodynamics, so the diffuser wouldn’t be allowed to generate more than X, the front wing no more than y, the rear wing no more than z – like that.

    I’d expect much research would have to go into finding the right values for a model like that, but maybe, that could be considered an alternative to the – in my opinion also interesting – possible concept of making a larger switch from aerodynamical to mechanical grip.

  29. First, I believe we agree that returning F1 to the rules that existed whenever everyone first began watching, or whenever, would be a waste of time. As Keith pointed out, the reason we had, allegedly, better racing and less turbulence in name-your-era was because cars performed more poorly. They did not make efficient use of the tires and the airflow. The only way to “unlearn” these advances is to spec out the design. (Welcome to IndyCar/GP2, which must be for people who Love Racing rather than technical expositions.)

    Second, I simply cannot understand Newey’s suggestion that underbody downforce creates more turbulence than wings, espeically since the diffuser is fed with air only a few millimeters off the ground. If the idea is simply that lowering overall downforce, and the underbody is where most is gained, gives you less to loss from turbulence, then fine. He may be suggesting that diffusers ruin the airflow to wings, but this would be an argument for increasing the share of downforce coming from the underbody.

    Last I think it bears remembering that F1 cars are not like Group C cars or GT cars: an F1 car, with its open cockpit, big tires, and exposed suspension, has the drag coefficient of an ice cream truck. And thus so long as the cars generate some downforce for the underbody, wings, or body profile, they will suffer from turbulence. I therefore suspect that hurculean efforts to cut turbulence per se may be tilting at a windmill, because incremental changes in the ease of passing on the track is not what the sport most needs.

    1. Very good points. I especially agree with the 3rd remark. It’s the main reason why we see less overtakings in open wheel racing.

  30. Anyone who spends even a week on this suite and reads my comments will know my views, so I won’t get into that again (less aero, more mech).

    But I’m with Newey on this one. We shouldn’t be getting rid of underbody downforce, but (though I don’t think he said this himself) getting rid of the downforce produced by the front win and the top bodywork. If most of the aero downforce came from the underbody, wakes wouldn’t be a problem; turbulent air is only a problem when you rely on the front wing so much, which is what F1 cars currently do.

    Right reasons, wrong decision, once again it seems!

    1. Agreed. Double diffuses do not limit overtaking at all. they create more wake, yes, but why does wake limit overtaking? Answer: Because the front wing needs clean air to work. Romove the front wing, no issue, you are left with a better tow down the straight to pass, and you do not lose out on the corners.

  31. In the 90s, Mclaren Mercedes had an extra pedal – which enabled braking of the rear and front wheels separately. Why was this disallowed? Is it still banned with the current rules?

    1. We want turbos
      13th April 2010, 20:25

      Because Ferrari didn’t like it!!

    2. I believe it allowed splitting the reverse torque between the rear wheels. I kind of manual stability control. You can still adjust the front/rear bias on the fly, and Schumacher was a master at this.

  32. I know its not really on topic, but thanks for advising the indy race. Just started watching it on youtube. F1 could learn a couple of things, mainly from the amazing looking track and the cameras which can swivel to keep up with the action better.

    1. The yanks sure know how to market their products, don’t they !
      If indycar races were on at the same time as F1, and less on ovals but also on places like Suzuka, Spa and Interlagos (to add to Watkins Glen, Laguna Seca and Alabama); F1 would simply be blown out of the water.
      Indycar has a huge potential here as Bernie drops historic F1 tracks, they can pick them up again and go more global.
      When the audiences come, the money will come as well; leaving F1 firmly behind because of the on-track action and the presence of concrete walls next to the track.
      The cars might be not as quick, but who cares ? We want to see racing, not looking at the clock.

      1. Not so sure abut marketing there. CART dissolved, Indy isn’t that strong (financial and follower base), Nascar is but still have problems and dealing with some similar issues as F1. Don’t know of a racing series that don’t seem to have some fundamental flaws that they want/try/need to fix.

        This year MAJORITY of the Indy races are on street circuits and not ovals. One reason why it used to be Ovals only was because of FIA.

        “Up until 2000 CART was restricted by the FIA to only running on oval tracks outside of North America for fear of detracting from the Formula One series. They threatened stiff penalties to CART and it’s participants if they disobeyed that agreement. However, now all that has changed because the FIA, under pressure by the European Union (EU) for monopoly practices, finally recognizes CART as an official ‘World Championship’ series, which means it can race on road courses or ovals outside of North America.”

        Regards to Youtube and on board cameras. Indy does one thing right they provide FREE online race viewing (with commentary) where you can select main race (or on board cameras from 4 cars, you can even show two onboards side by side wish you could view onboard and main feed side by side).
        Also the pan onboard camera is bitching. Last race Taglianni passed two cars while I was viewing his onboard camera. As he passed the camera panned to follow the overtaken car. How I wouldn’t love to see that in F1 imagine to seen Hamiltons onboard camera from last race and have it follow the car Hamilton overtook.

        They want to spice up the show then bring back the BernieTV with “sensoring” which detected on track action and would automatically cut over to a car in the even of a crash or if it seemed a overtake was in the works add this with pan on board cameras and interactive selection (CangerooTV anyone?) all in HD quality… =) Alright the last might be to much to add some other sports only provide upcoming 3D viewing so HD might be to much for F1.. Also love the Germans slow motion capture. Would be nice to see that at other races to…..

  33. i don’t see the DD difuser ban as the right step (probably, i don’t know enough about fluid dynamics but…)
    if they limit the downforce generated by the difuser this will result in a lack of rear grip – compensated by a steeper rear wing angle which can only produce more turbulence in the wake.
    the smoother the car the less turbulent wake it will produce (i think this is irrefutable, at least on a simple level).
    the point that if you reduce downforce overall then the problem of it being disturbed by another car’s wake is reduced, still stands (gasp, what a dependent clause!), BUT it is the front wing that gets screwed the most by turbulent air.

    does anyone remember (and can think of a way to make use of the knowledge) the ground effect cars of the early 80s that had no front wing? surely they wouldn’t be affected by following another car closely.

    1. I do recall that the massively powerful Group C/GTP cars of the late 80s early ninties, with thousands of pounds of ground-effect downforce, had notoriously bad understeer. Many cars had steeply raked noses (wings were banned) to combat the issue. I’m not certain they could follow more closely, but I perceived that the massive tunnel-based downforce helped moot turbulence issues.

      Front wings are still banned in prototype racing. However, it is instructive to observe that, today, protype designers spend a mint coming up with ways to add front wing-like devices to the cars— and competitioers fight a running battle over whose front non-wings are legal. Acura even runs rear tires at the front to address the problem. This is what you would get in F1 if we tried to turn the cars into USAC Midgets with no wings and giant tires, as many advocate. Just as much silliness as now, but bad handling cars.

  34. How about this, skip all the regulation changes to tires and aero. All you need to do is install sprinklers at every track and turn them on at least half way through.

  35. The history of the FIA setting rules to try and reduce the downforce generated by the cars is a history of clever designers circumventing those rules. So why not set a maximum weight for cars for when they’re moving.

    All teams now have wind tunnels so they should be forced to install scales in them and the FIA should be able to check the weights of their cars with the wing settings they have used for any race. Perhaps after every race when the cars are in Parc Ferme conditions the FIA should note all the settings of the cars then arrive at the teams windtunnels on the monday morning to confirm the are no irregularities.

  36. How does one go about reducing downforce levels, and expecting teams to keep them at a low level, when to be competitive, a team needs to have a high amount of downforce. And thats exactly what engineers are expected and instructed to increase?

  37. I think that some of the most exiting races have been in low down force circuits, as drivers rely more heavily on the mechanical grip (monza, Spa to name a few). I think those should be circuits that serve as a base for new ones as we have seen a trend towards slower street circuits which can be processional because they either lack overtaking opportunities or because the cars cant follow each other that closely either.

    Now about the wheels and other tech, F1 should try to always be not only on the forefront but provide a platform on which sponsors can further gain knowledge on how to improve their products. So I do agree with the 18inch rims. as i have mentioned before it could lead to not only better design (performance wise) but also help manufacturers develop ways to bring us lighter, sportier, etc models to the mainstream market ( I dream of the day I can afford a set of carbon fiber rims, although I will first have to get a good car to add them on too).

    Although I am not a fan of standardized technology at times. Its racing for god-sake, the point is to develop a wickedly fast car that beats the rest. sure its great to see overtaking, but if its at the expense of ending with standardized monocoques, chassis, etc then the sport will have lost its purpose.

  38. An Open Letter and Request to Keith Collantine and JA@ another site

    Dear James and Keith,
    Your blogs / forums are the best things about Formula 1 nowadays.
    I read 7 or 8 sites but most are filled with drivel and excuses as to who did or didn’t do what, and I don’t bother to read responses to their articles.
    You both , however, are usually at least thought provoking, an usually very interesting and informative as well.
    I have been following Formul1 since around 1964. I’ve been lucky enough to see some of the great drivers race, although not in F1, except Long Beach the year Lauda came out of retirement.
    Most of the time I was at the Can-Am races at Laguna Seca.
    I am writing to you both as I have a suggestion/ request to you both, and if you either or both could somehow arrange it, I and I’m sure most of your audiences would enjoy it immensely.
    Ask for your readers to submit a list of questions, suggestions and concerns to you regarding things like aero, KERS, larger wheels, ground effect, down force, engine size and type, tires, brakes, and the publics’ view of f1 in their opinion and order of priority. The reason I ask this is that it seems to I recall that ground effect was banned because of high cornering speeds. There was concern that with little or no suspension, that a stuck skirt, broken suspension or puncture would be hugely dangerous.
    At the same time, I recall great battles that lasted sometimes for a lap or more (Gilles and Rene for example) during the Turbo- Ground Effect era, and this type of racing is sorely missed now. On top of all that I mentioned before, I started to notice that I not the only one that thinks these last few years have produced THE UGGLIEST F1 cars in history.
    With the present day cars producing probably as much negative lift now as they did back then, it seems to me that we need to return to the thinking of the not too distant past, as now, the floors and wings are the equal of ground effect, but don’t allow close following.
    I also think that Turbo V-4’s with Kers would be something relevant, with fuel changes over time to adapt to upcoming technologies.
    I personally think that with V-4’s there would be room for flywheel Kers, which would obviate the need for batteries, and the associated recycling. Additionally, reducing the fuel capacity by 40% would cause the need for a pit-stop and would open the window as to when it took place. No mandatory time stated. I also think limiting the amount of fuel for the race would be a good idea, but engine development should be allowed as necessary to develop better fuel efficiency.
    I think ferrous brakes should be required as the carbon brake don’t really have much use in day to day driving, and they are hugely expensive, and have made passing under braking nearly impossible, if for no other reason that the braking distances are now so short.
    Limiting the number of elements allowed in the wing to 2, with limited maximum camber, thickness, chord , span and area of end plates would be great in my mind.
    Then combined with ground effect with maximum tunnel volume specified, we could hope for cockpit adjustable rear wing sections that could assist both cornering passing and braking.
    All things related to great racing. Managed by the drivers. Pilots do it all the time, and aircraft have had ailerons , flaps, spoilers and speed brakes since the 1930’s.
    I love to have these Ideas/ questions put to a group of designer from the teams where there was 3-5 of them there to give the fans some understanding of their thought s on these and others ideas.
    Is this at all possible to do during a few race weekends?
    I’d absolutely love it
    Thank you both for taking the time to read this if you did. You’re my 2 favorite f1 people on the web.

    1. That’s ‘Game, set and match’ to Barry !

  39. Prisoner Monkeys
    14th April 2010, 3:06

    All I can say is … sense!

  40. Maybe one way to increase technology developement would be to allow any kind of engine but to limit the horsepower to about 800 like ALMS does by way of restricters etc.Also there should be a limit on how much fuel that can be used.Aero could be limited by using single plane wings front and rear with a limited width and depth venturi in the rear.Tires should be slicks of large size f&r to increase mechanical grip,with no limit on tires or type(hard or soft).

  41. There’s a lot of crazy ideas being thrown around, so here’s one.

    Bring back active suspension, even as a spec unit.
    More mechanical grip, which means less reliance on aero. If you mandate a minimum ride height in the design or the rules, you can limit the amount of aerodynamic gain from the underfloor. Teams on the spec package will be almost equal in performance, which means tighter racing.

    Also, it has implications for road cars. Incredibly smooth ride, grip and active safety are all possible with active suspension.
    With advances in technology from the 90s, it’ll no longer be archiac and prohibitively expensive.

    1. Not crazy. I like it. We have a spec ECU, so why not spec active suspension or active damping? Also, maybe you can have a performance penalty by raising a car .5mm after every race it scores a podium, like Marty wants.

  42. Barry has some really interesting points that is deserving of an article itself!
    Only I don’t agree with one thing which I would like to harmlessly mention… I think the 2009/10 cars a beautiful and shark fins are fantastic!

    With that said, Why Don’t Formula 1 just chill about Aerodynamics for a while, because the clever ‘aero’ people will always find new ways of producing incredible grip via loop holes and creative thinking.

    So why don’t we go back to the fundamentals of Formula 1. Engines.

    Like Barry Mentioned, 4Cylinder Turbo KERS Powered motors? I’m not sure if that’s the correct way to go but it makes complete sense!

    I would only enforce that the KERS System be a Generic System (Possibly Mclarens because it seemed to work flawlessly) so that the teams are on an equal playing field and keeps the cost low.

    But the Drivers then would be able to use the KERS system to pass, while managing the Boost on their Turbo to conserve fuel and keep the car from overheating.

    It seems like the more sensible route to take.

    1. With that said, Why Don’t Formula 1 just chill about Aerodynamics for a while, because the clever ‘aero’ people will always find new ways of producing incredible grip via loop holes and creative thinking.

      That’s true to an extent but the OWG research applies the same smart thinking to the overtaking problem and, if you read what Lowe is saying about diffusers, I think their reasoning for getting rid of them is sound.

      1. Here’s a “crazy” idea: if downforce can be measured (in KG I believe) is there any reason why the regulations can’t just stipulate a maximum level of downforce??

        There’s been a lot of talk about front wings, rear wings, mirrors, sidepods, floors and double diffusers; these all generate different levels as discussed.

        But taking the car as a whole, can’t they just stick the final chassis in a wind tunnel, run it at 200mph and measure the downforce, which would be regulation-limited to to 1200KG or some appropriate figure.

        How the teams spend their aero quota is up to them, but instead of trying to extra more and more out of control surfaces limited by dimensional area, why not just regulate the overall effect?

        1. if downforce can be measured

          It can, but unless it can be measured on the cars while they’re on track, then I don’t see how they could police it at a race weekend.

          1. Yeah, didn’t think that far ahead tbh. Was just thinking of like when they do the crash testing pre-season.

            Forgot they have their measuring template thingys to check the legality of body part each weekend.

            Back to the Think Tank :)

      2. Keith,
        downforce per se doesn’t seem to be problem – the dependency on clean air to generate it is.
        Indycars have apparently put regs in place to curb this and seems to be working.
        From the past, we can tell that the wing-car era seemed to provide the closest racing. Maybe it’s time to bring them back as their dependency on clean air is apparently limited and downforce levels of that era have already been surpassed anyway.

        1. When I watched the Alabama grand prix I heard no end to complaints from drivers that they could not get close enough to pass due to turbulence. The grass is always greener somewhere else. That race was a fuel strategy snooze-fest, BTW, with drivers backing off to save tires and then trying to pass on the pit overlap. Sound familiar? Hacking away at increments of turbulence is likely a fools-errand when dealing with very large, very high-drag cars that must derive some performance from aero downforce. If you want no aero downforce at all, then look for lap times below LMP cars—and see if people will cough up a grand to attend a race run by slow, spec-bodywork cars that pass a lot.

          1. Hey, that does sound familiar !
            The grass could be greener because of the dung spread over it then, which I failed to spot …

      3. Until the Overtaking Working Group is TOTALLY INDEPENDANT of the teams nothing will really get sorted – I can think of at least 3 of the cleverest minds in F1 who are pretty much underutilised at the moment who could be recruited by the FIA to head up a TOTALLY INDEPENDANT Overtaking Working Group to out flank the teams everytime they find ways around the regs or ways to increase down force – Geoff Willis, Jorg Zander Ex BrawnGP aerodynamicist & Pat Symonds – (he could do it for free Community Service stylee for his sins against F1 ) :)

  43. Over time the cars all got beter and much closer to each other you see that clearer the last 4 years.
    The best way is to reverse the start postions so who is 1st starts behind the field and so on. Make qualifing a small sprint for points overtaking garanted during the race. Simple solutions instead of rules changing we have way to many rules already. Removing the front wing should provide enough problems for the teams to coop.

  44. The cars do need another aero package. But this time the rules need to slash the aero to around 30% of what it is at the moment. Last year’s rules cut it to 50% but the teams clawed a lot of it back, so the cut needs to be more drastic.

    Also, the OWG needs to look at areas where the teams improve in aero that lead to turbulent wakes – these areas need to be restricted heavily, otherwise we will end up with where we are now.

  45. i really dnt like the ideaof reverse grid.. it will just get nasty.

  46. ban the fancy front wings – one flap only, and dead straight endplates. ban high shark noses too, though thats just cos i like drop noses better…

    i reckon if there were no radios or pit boards to tell drivers who was where/what tyres rivals are on etc etc etc we’d see them going all out. which would equal a few more do or die manouvers.

    radio communication limited to pit-in and emergency messages.

  47. Mandate a minimum speed through the speed trap in qualifying. If it’s 320 kph now, make it 360 kph, or even 400 kph. They’ll be forced to reduce the downforce (to cut drag) and increase the gearing. Less downforce means slower speed through corners means safety, and wider gear ratios might create opportunities for overtaking as drivers are caught in the wrong gear.

  48. Here’s an idea of mine, I like to call it the Tunnel Downforce System ;)

    It is like an airvent or scoop that has aerofoils inside the tunnel that creates the downforce and then shoots the air out nice and undisturbed, allowing cars to travel closely to each other. All With the benefit of the car not looking horribly bad style wise.

    I have no idea how to work a CFD Program but it would be nice to see if my idea would actual work.


    heres another one,

    my webcam is a bit crap so it looks a little distorted :P

  50. Sounds like a good idea but the OWG never seem to go far enough to improve the overtaking issue. Hopefully that will change. I guess standardising the undertray would be a step to far lol…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.