Addicted to aero (Making F1 better)

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

Aerodynamics are widely blamed for causing poor racing in F1
Aerodynamics are widely blamed for causing poor racing in F1

The “Making F1 better” discussion series started here last week has provoke a range of responses and ideas from fans.

But one particular complaint has come up time and time again: F1 cars are too dependent on downforce.

There may be no silver bullet which cures all F1’s ills, but kicking its addiction to aerodynamics could be the best way of improving the quality of racing. How can F1 do it?

Piece by piece

It didn’t take long after wings first started to appear on F1 cars for the governing body to step in to restrict them. The first wings, mounted high above the cars on tall legs, were prone to collapsing, causing huge accidents. These were banned, but soon teams got to grips with integrating them into their cars.

Throughout the eighties and nineties and up to the present day wing size, shape and position has become increasingly restricted. But as the teams’ understanding of aerodynamics has become more sophisticated they’ve been able to claw back the lost performance.

Today the leading F1 teams bring new aerodynamic components to every race – either refinements of existing designs or one-off versions tailored to the demands of a particular track.

The changes recommended by the FIA’s Overtaking Working Group in 2009 brought the most radical changes to the aerodynamic rules in a generation. These continued the practice of limiting what aerodynamic devices the designers could put on the cars, and where.

The oversight in the regulations which allowed teams to create ‘double diffusers’ will be fixed in 2011. Some designers have disputed whether banning double diffusers will increase the amount of overtaking.

Could the FIA limit the amount of downforce a car could produce? Hiring a windtunnel to measure it would be prohibitively expensive, and the cars would have to be checked at the tracks to ensure compliance, so this looks like a non-starter.

Is it possible to reign in downforce sufficiently by continuing the practice of limiting what the designers can put on the cars? The amount of development which has gone into front wings and pod wings this year suggests more aggressive tactics are necessary.

Standard components

It’s always controversial to suggest introducing any kind of standard components in F1. But as rules on what the teams can put on their cars become ever tighter, the value of retaining total freedom looks increasingly worthless.

It is impossible for F1 to have completely free technical rules – it would be too expensive and too unsafe.

Requiring the teams to use some standard aerodynamic components, such as front wings and rear wings, could free up their budgets to concentrate on areas that are more beneficial for the wider motoring industry and less likely to harm the quality of racing than piling yet more downforce onto the cars.

Over to you

How should F1 get its aerodynamic problem under control? Has the time come to standardise wings on the cars? Is more than just a ban on double diffusers needed for 2011?

Or perhaps you think the aerodynamic a debate a red herring, and there is a greater problem which spoils the quality of racing in F1? Have your say in the comments.

Read more: FOTA consider new 2011 downforce cuts

This is part of “Making F1 better”, a series of articles looking at ways to improve Formula 1. Fore more information see the introduction: Making F1 better: a discussion series

Making F1 better

189 comments on “Addicted to aero (Making F1 better)”

  1. I think bringing back refueling would make F1 more exiting again, because all races this year (apart from Bahrain) have been influenced by rain, I fear that all dry races will be like Bahrain. Of course refueling won’t help on track action, but let’s hope banning double-diffusers will!

    1. You want refueling back because you think (based on just one race) that all dry races are going to be boring? Do I have to say more?

      1. One thing is for sure that refueling will provide more overtaking then without refueling.But I think thy people of F1 needs to think more on how to increase mechanical grip other then aerodynamics grip.

        1. paul sainsbury
          28th April 2010, 8:10

          But passing during pit stops is NOT overtaking!

          1. It is not about overtaking in the pits or not, it is about the uncertainty involved (fuel loads and strategy).

      2. his_majesty
        28th April 2010, 2:26

        I loaned him my crystal ball! Refuelling did make it more interesting and more team oriented. Seeing fuel nozzles going down pit lane was interesting as well! I say get rid of wings. Obviously more mechanical grip will be needed and road cars would benefit from that. Fuel should be monitored as well, instead of only giving them 8 engines or whatever though the year, give them less fuel for the race to put more emphasis on fuel saving, again real world improvements would show. Let them blow as many as they want, with no wings the money from there can be transferred to engine fuel saving development. Then they did away with kers, am I wrong in saying that the most exciting thing with last year was a kers car vs. non-kers? Not only that but that is in real world use as well, already, and it came from a car that didn’t even use it in race conditions!

        1. the engines are allready very effecient, there would be nothing to be gained by limiting fuel other than to slow the average speed of the cars down over a race, altho it could make for some interesting strategy, it’s not what we want in F1 :P

          If you include an unlimited kers system as well, it would get very interesting :D and actually have some real world relavance

          1. I’m not too sure if, what is it 2 miles per gallon is all that efficient. I’m not saying make them double their efficiency next year or anything. Just 1/4 to 1/2 mile per gallon per year. That would add up faster than you know it! Turbo’s would be a great reintroduction as well. MIT has made small engines with turbos being very very efficient. I believe engine sizes in F1 are small enough already though. I would sacrifice that engine noise for better racing and far better engine development for real world. What’s with the engine freeze anyways, isn’t racing supposed to help road car development? Can anybody tell me how that rule accomplishes that? I mean come on now, trying to cut costs in the most advanced form of motor racing? Did they ever hear of salary caps? F1 is cool and all, but the leadership just SUCKS! If they went to war, they’d get the whole platoon killed!

      3. Malaysia was the second dry race, and I’d say it was actually quite boring apart from the Ferrari’s and McLaren’s fighting back after their “mistake” in qualifying. In the top five, basicly nothing happened after lap one. With refuelling, at least we didn’t necesarily know who would win after the first lap if the race was dry.

    2. I doubt it…re-fueling should be an option if you want…not forced if anything.
      But the main fix for F1 woes in relation to following cars is quite simple. FIA should set a max wake allowance for all cars and then the aero wake of the car must be homligated and not altered for the rest of the season, why?
      Well as a aero guy I (well not me) could design a car to work in the set wake allowance and not grain or under-steer as they do now with zero control on any cars wake size or brutality of disturbance.

      So you can have all the BS, ddd, wings, etc but with fia controlled template…I now as an aero guy not design a car with the smallest drag and max wake with wicked turbulence disruption so cars cant sit behind or pass me. Which is what is happening in f1 today…trust me…they aint stupid. lol

      how can they control this limit …well it may need a bit of preparation to setup testing initially..wind tunnels software…how to control it..penalties for braking rule, and all loop holes and associated procedures.
      The FAI seem to be able to control engines, aero, suspension, parc ferme, safety regs and weight fuel as well as crash testes etc the list goes on….so it is a totally doable concept….and one that teams will whinge about and try and tie into cost cutting etc among other objections.

      But when you are designing next years car you spend a lot of man and comupting hours doing so any ways…so to design a cfm replication prior to building a scale model for the wind tunnel you just have to either limit the DF of the car to fit with in the regulations or spend more design time to find the ultimate balance of drag/ wake and downforce…

      I would think aero guys that pour over GB’s of data to find .10 per lap at every other race with tiny winglets and the like would find this quite exhilarating/exasperating complex and rewarding proposition.

      The teams and other media buffs and experts will cry and whinge and make this idea seem foolish and too hard, but who cares it’s not about the ‘teams’ or ther egos, is it; really!…it’s about us the fans…with out us and the ticket sales tv ratings, and merchandise purchases what is the sport anyways? We want a better, closer, faster, tighter more exciting and emotional roller coaster atmosphere for as much as the race weekend as is possible…this will never always be the case as it is motor racing and nothing always goes to plan ever! And I think we all accept and understand that

      If they dont like the easy concept then go to gp2 or touring cars because unless the fia does this style of concept we will still be whinging as fans for years to come!

      1. While I agree that your suggestion makes a lot of sense, the problem comes in when measuring this wake. As you said this will either require independent CFD simulations which will require team to provide their models or the use of independent wind tunnel testing, both of which are time consuming. Then we either fix the bodywork as before the season starts to make sure no changes are brought during season or test every car after every race with the package used during the race to make sure no infringement occur. Both of these again have their own problems.

        The FIA are well aware of the wake which teams cause deliberately and try to limit this by means which are easier to enforce such as maximum and minimum values on parameters of aero parts. While again this does not eliminate the problem since teams can try to find ways around the restrictions (i.e. double diffuser). The wake produced can be reduces by these means as well as the dependency on clean air, while still having a simple infringement test.

    3. I accept your suggestion, bring refuelling back, it will be more exciting in that no one will know fuel loads, unlike now! Double diffuser isn’t much of an issue now almost all if not all teams now have it.

      1. Enough already about refueling! It’s gone and good riddance. It’s much more interesting intellectually for the driver to conserve their tires or not and for the informed viewer as well.

        Refueling is an artificial way to create passing (in my opinion). Yes there is the team aspect of how long a stop takes. But that only goes against a driver who loses out. The driver who passes another in the pits can’t brag about that move.

        Limiting wake is key!! You still want maximum downforce on the cars as the most thrilling aspects of F1 is how fast they corner and how hard and late they can brake. Both due to downforce.

        Those two aspects also require the most of a driver’s skillset.

    4. Get rid of wings and diffusers altogether and also limit all other areas where downforce can be gained from. With virtually no downforce to start with, there’s no downforce to be lost when following another car. As long as the cars produce a meaningful amount of downforce, they will lose that downforce when trying to overtake someone. I struggle to understand why the FIA has been dumb, deaf and blind in this area for DECADES.

      All other racing series which do have wings/downforce but which still produce overtaking are doing so by other means:

      – super-high top speeds which allow for slipstreaming (IRL)
      – mediocre drivers making more errors (GP2, F3, …)
      – frequent “Caution periods” which bunch up the field for a restart (NASCAR, and to a lesser extent IRL)
      – engine disparity (FIA GT1 / Le Mans, and I don’t mean between different classes!)
      – wider range of car types / designs (FIA GT1 / Le Mans, and again I’m not referring to the different classes within one race but variety within every class)

      … and none of these circumstances could be simply “applied” to F1. “Who needs downforce anyway?”

  2. in my opinion standardising wings is absoloutly the wrong approach to curing the ‘problem.’ In my opinion there is no fundamental problem with f1, anyway once you start standardising parts where do ou stop? this is the same arguement with tyres when you standardize tyres in pursuit of fairness for each team, where do you stop? Do then standardize engines? or chassis’? variety in f1 is what, for me makes it best sport in the world. The best way to increase overtaking in f1 is to increase mechanical grip so that aero isnt as important, his could be done by making the tyres larger. Also the only reason insane aero developement came about was because the Fia banned engine developement. Other changes can also be used to make f1 more exciting such as changes in qualifying to only allow 1 lap per car per session and changing all session lengths to 15 minutes so that drivers get punished for mistakes and we get mixed up grids.

    1. The problem with simply adding mechanical grip is that cornering speeds would be increased (more danger for the drivers, who knows to what level), and braking distances would be reduced, which might end up counter-balancing the increased ability to follow a car through a corner.

      1. agreed, an increase in tyre grip alone wouldn’t solve anything; it needs to be tied in with a reduction in aero to get the balance right.

        spec wings would certianly significantly reduce the cost of running an F1 team competitively if no other changes were made to the rules. But maybe this is a step too far for now.

        Cutting the frontal area of both wings in half is all that is needed in my mind to get the cars closer together when following, which would solve the problem :D and make F1 near perfect again.

        1. the problem is the owg shot themselves in the foot by making the front wing bigger they should have kept it the same size. Now we have the situation where the front wing is the best place to gain downforce asid from the floor, they should have kept the front end the same as 2008 and changed the rear wing and difusor, also thy should ban any bodywork in the gap between the engine and the rear wing to get rid of those hideous shark fins. the renault one looked nice when they first came up with it but now they are hideous, bar the mercedes version.

        2. guinnesspuddle
          28th April 2010, 7:39

          Is “degree of turbulence” something that could be defined? If so, the FIA could develop a wind tunnel test that would examine the smoothness of a car’s wake. Specifying a maximum level would ensure the cars could run close together without hindering the teams’ ability to innovate.

          1. guinnesspuddle you are bang on 100% correct mate!

            This is the only solution…..!

        3. NO wrong worng wrong wrong sorry but aero isnt bad nor should we go back to the 60’s gp cars…

          Control aero with parameters a kin to engine regs…the fia dont control engines parts in the sense of a conrod is still a conrod but it has to be made with certain material and weight as far as I am educated and the conrod along with headers, valves cams etc makes an engine which could make inxs of 25,000 rpm with a fair level of reliability (depending on manufacture) LOL….But it mandated in rule to only allow to produce a max revolution rpm output of 18k…

          So keep wing size angles and current regulations in place but make team conform to a max (rpm) wake disturbance of x amount distance and a max level of total violent turbulent dirty air production..@ 2 level of speed to ensure there is less chance of circumventing regulations…(I say less because there is always loop holes).

          I will bang on about this for ever till I’m heard…! but designers can then design a car to work with in this regulated max dirty air specification…it will also stop aero guys from designing a car that produces wicked amounts of tornadoes at the maximum length they can to do nothing more than hurt any car that may be behind them….totally with in the rules as it stands but unashamedly devious.

          yer it’s not going to be simple for teams to design but the carry over to real world and production cars will benefit from this hugely in shape design to maximize fuel usage and be efficient on all part of a vehicle.

          1. Max dirty air is not quantifiable, and you can’t verify that it has not been tampered with, so you can’t police such a reg. It could never work. Every week we would be on here talking about which team had cheated on their dirty air spec to gain an unfair advantage by increasing the height of the driver’s helmet or something similarly ridiculous.

      2. This is F1 people we need danger. Without the very best won’t stand out. They overcome the danger via skill not bravery.

        If you don’t feel corner speed and late braking is key to F1 go watch a formula ford race.

    2. As an old F1 fan I had never suspected I would say it, but: bring on standard aero components.

      Under current regulations the dimensions of both wings are heavily restricted anyway. There is no chance for a major breakthrough in that area, but the teams keep pumping tons of money into these two elements. Make them standard, ensure clean wake behind the car and cut costs at the same time. Win-win.

    3. Other changes can also be used to make f1 more exciting such as changes in qualifying to only allow 1 lap per car per session and changing all session lengths to 15 minutes so that drivers get punished for mistakes and we get mixed up grids.

      They tried it in 2003 and, to be honest, although I rather liked one-shot qualifying I think most people weren’t keen on it.

      However it does create a problem of what order do you send the cars out in, because the track tends to get quicker as the session goes on. Reverse championship seems the most sensible option, but it doesn’t make for very exciting qualifying sessions.

      1. Artificial nonsense. Let the drivers duke it out all at once. Trying to find space, using the tires correctly, maybe catching a tow all good.

        Hell bring back qualifiers. If your old enough to remember you may agree that they added to the spectacle.

        The drivers had to deliver on tires which didn’t even last a full lap at max grip. Only the very best could do it consistently and the speed WOW! It was amazing to watch live.

        In comparison watching cart cars qualify: well just didn’t have it, something was missing. Maybe just knowing an F1 car was at it’s very limit an a cart car not so much.

        1. There are multiple problems with that approach – first if all the drivers are on-track setting their laps at once then some laps are going to be missed in the broadcast. That’s what one-shot was trying to solve and is partly why we now have knock-out qualifying.

          I can see the appeal of qualifying tyres but bringing them back will put costs up because once they’re used, that’s it. Is it a cost worth paying?

  3. F1 is supposed to be “open wheel” racing. The reality is that modern F1 aero essentially deflects and minimises the drag of the open wheels. Maybe they should mandate narrower front wings such that the wheels are exposed. They already narrowed the rear wing and with the ban on double diffusers, we should have cars that are not as aero dependent and easier to follow/overtake.

    1. I agree. I think that the wings should not be “standardized” but if they were made to be much smaller then I think that would improve the racing. The aero regs could simply define very small areas in both the front and rear of the cars and then designers could do whatever they wanted for wings within those small spaces (no active aero though). I dunno, thats my 2 cents.

    2. The reality is that modern F1 aero essentially deflects and minimises the drag of the open wheels.

      Another way this year’s narrower front tyres hasn’t helped.

      However I think that was a change that had to be made. I’d be amazed if they did what some people have suggested and make the tyres wider, because of the increase in cornering speeds. More likely they’d choose to cut back the downforce.

      1. theRoswellite
        28th April 2010, 16:13

        I’ve probably climbed up on this soapbox too often…however,

        As pointed out in the Introduction, you need to make rules that are enforceable, especially at the track…measurable dimensions work best, as Hallard suggests. This will work, and it is simple.

        Just increasing mechanical grip is not the idea. The point is to get a following car closer to the car in front, while in a “stable” condition. This is why wings, or any negative airfoil, must be restricted.

        The only reason mechanical grip must be increased is to replace the lost downforce, otherwise the cornering speeds drop off drastically.

        Avoid spec parts to the greatest degree possible.

      2. Amazed are you. Fatter tires equal more mechanical grip and thy mess with areo. Braking distances shorten so again the more skilled benefit.

        I feel you constantly missing the point here Keith. F1 is about corner speed and braking distances.

        Passing comes about if a car can follow in another’s wake without losing all kinds of downforce. Thus follow closer through corners to allow more slipstreaming opportunities.

        Straight line speed goes down and when your spinning off with the extra grip of a fat tire you scrub off speed at a higher rate.

        1. “Passing comes about if a car can follow in another’s wake without losing all kinds of downforce. Thus follow closer through corners to allow more slipstreaming opportunities.”
          This makes total sense to me. The wake turbulence is the problem, so a car has to be as independent as possible from it. Wingcars maybe ?
          Or some bolt-on device that straightens out the airflow – not sure how that would work though.
          With wingcars you could measure the pressure underneath vs the ambient pressure, if it’s too high then some sort of valve should open and decrease it. This could limit cornering speed again when it becomes too dangerous. I’m not an engineer, so feel free to grill me on this.
          What could also help is the existence of multiple racing lines instead of just one. Or the ‘marbles’ preventing the use of alternative racing lines. Some work for the tire manufacturers (as hard a tire as possible) and track refits.
          I like the F1 cars with wings, so I would be a bit sad to see them go. A spec wing would still generate some wake, wouldn’t it. As a car is a body which travels through air, this seems to be unavoidable.
          Would moveable front wings help to keep generating downforce, even in turbulence ? I would have to see some studies about it, I’m not so sure anymore.

        2. I feel you constantly missing the point here Keith. […]

          Passing comes about if a car can follow in another’s wake without losing all kinds of downforce. Thus follow closer through corners to allow more slipstreaming opportunities.

          That is my point.

  4. I would like to see the FIA ban all aerodynamic appendages on the cars including barge boards and turning vanes. The only realistic way of limiting downforce I can see is a standard spec underfloor which uses either venturi tunnels or a diffuser. As this can’t be seen it wouldn’t really have any impact on the appearance of the cars. Also allow the teams to have more freedom over the size and shape of wings but severely limit the amount of elements. If mechanical grip was maximised massive amounts of downforce would not be necessary.

  5. What about reducing mechanical grip?

    1. We want more mechanical grip as this grip should be available irrespective of the speed that the car is going. Grip from downforce increases as the car speed increases leading to a less safe situation IMHO. I think less wing/aero related grip and more mechanical grip (e.g. traction control, wider tires) is the way to go…

      1. I do want more mechanical grip from tyres but don’t want traction control to be back in F1.

    2. There’s certainly a good argument for it.

      Decreasing mechanical grip means greater braking distances. If you do it through harder tyres, it also means there are less “marbles” off-line, and so overtaking is again aided.

      But F1 cars are so dependant on aerodynamics, and so sensitive to the wake behind another car, that reducing mechanical grip would mean they would never be able to get close enough to pass.

      Now, if you cut aerodynamic grip drastically and mechanical grip slightly…

    3. They tried that with grooved tyres.

      1. Martin Bell
        28th April 2010, 9:40

        True. Haven’t the last few races shown us that cars can follow each other closely under the current aero rules, and that with their mechanical grip reduced on a wet track, overtaking is possible?

        1. I think it shows us that less total grip – whether ‘mechanical’ or ‘aerodynamic’ – is desirable. But I would still put the emphasis on reducing aerodynnamic grip.

          We see better racing when drivers have to cope with cars that have more power than grip.

          1. Good line of thought here. I don’t recall FOTA talking about less aero grip though, unless they mean the DDDs off course. The wings don’t seem to be touched.

  6. They should restrict and reduce downforce, but F1 needs to keep its superiority over other forms of motorsports otherwise it … well it isn’t F1. As much as people complain about ‘The Show’ there’s no way they can ever make these cars slower than another series.

    So they would need to implement rules which compensate for the loss of downforce so that the lap times wouldn’t tumble too much. Increases in engine power/performance, and mechanical grip etc..

    They’re sort of going down this route already, reintroducing slicks in expense for banning most aero devices. But they still need to do much more. Of which I guess I’m not properly qualified enough to give a good enough response to…

    I dunno, small simple wings. Wider cars. Bigger tyres. Better, more powerful engines. KERS and such…

  7. I’d live to see a standard aero pack or atleast a standard front wing but the teams are more than likely going to throw a hissy fit. After all they have windtunnels and they want to use them.

  8. Restrict aero, open engine development.

    If the FIA do a good enough job on the former, we won’t need standardised wings, and I’m sure there’d be enough left for designers to tweak with in different ways.

    Cornering speeds would be cut as a result, so F1 would also be a little safer. Less dependence on aerodynamics and less wake turbulence will mean cars that are better able to follow and pass each other.

    And think of the money that would be saved on wind tunnels!

  9. I have been saying this for years when this topic comes up… so here I go again!

    1: never mind banning double diffusers.. I would like no diffuser at all.

    2: A rule for maximum wing angles… but with less wing angle and no diffuser, I would then allow contoured floors for downforce generation. It causes far less turbulence behind the car and the car behind can follow closely through corners.

    3: BAN the ridiculously expensive carbon fiber brakes and go back to steel disks and a different pad material. This of course will increase braking distances and create yet another overtaking opportunity!

    1. F1 has to have some relevance to road cars. It has given ABS brakes, traction control, independent suspension, safety cells, electronic engine management and active ride control. F1 teams justify some of the costs with real time development and brakes are key to to this. Have you ever had the pleasure of trying to stop in a 30 year old car?

      1. None of them are given to motor industry by F1.

      2. ABS was developed by the aircraft industry, not F1.
        ECU and traction control were developed by Daimler Benz for their road cars.

        And carbon brakes could never be used on road cars.
        Carbon brakes only start to work at 1000C and a road car could never achieve those temperatures.
        The vast majority of technology on road cars, in reality comes from sports car racing.Not F1.

        1. I can’t think of anything that has come from sports car racing, anyone want to enlighten me ?

          I can think of a few things that have come to road cars as a result of being used in f1. and a few other things that have come from rallying

          1. You can.
            Disc brakes from aviation.
            ABS aviation indudstry.
            Traction control, Daimler Benz sports cars.
            ECU. that comes from the road car industry.
            Active suspension.See Citroen DS 19, or Austin Maxi

    2. The brakes are carbon-ceramic, not carbon-fiber, and the advantage they present over traditional steel discs is NOT in outright stopping power, but rather in consistency and durability. So it is on some level a safety issue. Many people think that steel brakes would increase braking distances and improve the racing, but the real issue with braking distances is the aero grip, not the brakes themselves.

    3. TDC brake are another area innovation has crippled racing…now brakes go bang rather than fade…or massively over heat…

      Smaller metal rotors and pads will allow for braking overtaking more to a fair degree.

      Allow engines development and allow tyre choice per team…spec tyres, wings etc is not f1 and it really doesnt produce any better racing…other series it does but the talent isnt the worlds best in every car in every team either..so talent is a major factor in a lot of spec series IMHO

  10. The problem is aerodynamics, but it is not double diffusers and wings that are the primary source of the problem.
    F1 is an open wheel series.The open wheel design causes the largest amount of turbulence. Not the wings and DD.
    The problem is that the cars are far to dependent on aerodynamics for grip.You cannot expect a machine, capable of running upside down,to perform in the same manner as a car.
    The answer is to reduce the cars dependendcy on areodynamic grip, and increase the amount of mechanical grip.
    Wings should be removed comepletely.Downforce should only be generated by the underside of the car.
    I am not advocating a return to “ground effect” but until the cars can be made capable of following each other, and retaining their grip, the problem of overtaking can never be solved.

  11. Why not just get rid of wings completely, then change the engine specs to something a lot more manageable … say, 1.5 turbo engines rev limited to 10k rpm? That’ll reduce top line and cornering speeds quite nicely while having a side benefit of quietening the cars down :)

    1. wum, you have got to be joking, quieter cars are definately not a benefit.

      1. How are they not a benefit if only to stop local residents complaining? Wasn’t Spa threatened with closure for this very reason?

        1. Franton makes a good point. It’s a big problem for circuits here in Britain.

          1. Then we would be complaining that the ‘sound of speed’ isn’t there anymore !

    2. Getting rid of at least the rear wing is not a bad idea, there is plenty of downforce with out it. After all early in the ground effect era the Lotus 80 had no rear wing. Ok it was not a very successful car but it’s problems were to do with too much downforce (for the time) not too little. No rear wing, no huge turbulence, easier overtaking. If not getting rid of the rear wing, why not simplfy the wings make them single plane, rather that the complex animals that they currently are. Again that would cut turbulence and aid overtaking.

    3. what?! you want the cars to be quieter?! Please tell me that youre being sarcastic…

      Also they would have no problem getting the same level of power they have today from a 1.5 liter turbo engine. Look at the old 1.5 liter BMW turbo engines used in the 80s, for example. In fact they could probably get even more power, with modern turbo and intercooler technology.

      1. On the contrary, yes I do. The turbo will muffle the noise a bit, but certainly won’t get rid of the distinctive noise of an F1 engine. It’s more to stop the floods of complaints from local residents that the testing circuits get every time the F1 circus moves in.

        (How much quieter did you think I meant? There’s no real way to really muffle 850hp engines!)

      2. Yep they’ll get the same amount of power, but not in a constant power band as in the current range of normally aspirated engines.

        The BMW powerplant you refer to was extremely lumpy in it’s power delivery. Gurneyflap is quoted as saying you went from 450hp to 800hp in just 1000rpm. That’d make life fun for the drivers!

        (see http://www.gurneyflap.com/bmwturbof1engine.html )

        1. Ok, you had me worried there. As far as turbo power delivery goes, modern turbo technology allows much more consistent power delievery, flat torque curves, and almost non-existent turbo lag. I used the old BMW engine as an example for power levels, but in the last 25 years they have become MUCH CLOSER in character to naturally aspirated engines. Dont get me wrong, I think small engines with turbos are the way to go in F1, but rev limits make me sad…

    4. lol go and midget at the speedway mate because f1 is wings and aero and highest levels of technological motoring innovation…or it should be!

      I say no to gpl style f1 cars in 2010 and beyond.

      1. Can I have that reply in English please? I’m unaware of a verb “to midget”.

        1. MuzzleFlash
          28th April 2010, 9:29

          http://image.automotive.com/f/featuredvehicles/9291187+pheader/ctrp_0702_01_z+USAC_racing+midget_cars.jpg

          I believe this is what he is referring to.
          The wings shoulnd’t go completely, but rather be of a single plane without endplates, rear wing wider and adjustable over 5 or 6 degrees. Front wing shorter and swept adjustable over 10-15 degrees.

        2. sorry not being nasty LOL

          The midgets speedway cars…no wings big HP unlike the sprint cars with the wild wings on the roof….

          My bad..I was on iphone and that dam auto correction I never even noticed…but in saying that I aint the worlds greatest speellller either..
          :)

  12. They(FIA) already know what to do, but they are pressured by the teams, not to make it just a drivers championship, they need their own validation for wining, engineers wont be happy if they get their wings shortened by almost total restrictions on aero,engine or compound development!
    It is a fine line to make a win win for both spectator and constructor.

  13. Interesting article and as I see it the goal is to make F1 better. Is overtaking the number one problem leading to dull races? Do we really want cars overtaking each other all the time?

    My only frustration on this subject is that even a superior car cannot overtake another car unless it is significantly faster. Cure? Reduce downforce, F-duct, KERS, Other options?? Maybe the teams will have a bunch of options and can only pick a few that way we will get variety and the differences should make it more interesting.

    I don’t want to suggest any technical changes to the cars, cause I don’t have much insight into it plus much of it might have been thought out by FIA and the teams themselves already. However standardizing is not the way to go, it can make interesting races for a few seasons and then it gets dull and boring and nothing new to watch.

    Another option is that because engine development is frozen for a given period, there is probably no need to limit the number of engines. That way they can rev up and risk blowing the engine during a race but would have a chance to overtake. Or maybe have no rev limit 3-4 races per team and they get to decide which races to use this.

    1. Interesting idea on the no rev limit for a couple of races, but all the teams would end up using them at the same races: Spa, Monza…

  14. I reckon they could do a few things:

    Restrict the width of the wings and make the tires and over all car wider. This means more is to be gained from finding mechancal grip improvements than aero.

    Free up engine development – more power means cars are harder to drive, more throttle control is needed and more mistakes may be made by the driver.

    Funny – this reminds me of the cars from yesteryear…

    1. I whole-heartedly agree with everything you just said, dasman.

  15. I wonder if we are being a bit narrow in our attempts to identify a single ’cause for the lack of ‘action”. Is it possible that what is more important is the balance between mechanical and aero-induced grip ?

    If the thinking is that aero is currently too dominant then maybe rather than worry about how to reduce aero we can rebalance by increasing mechanical grip (eg wider slicks, lower profile tyres).

    The teams will then be able to make trades between aero-induced drag and downforce within a context where rivals have enough mechanical grip to pass them if they get it wrong.

    1. Thats definitely the idea, but if we increase mechanical grip without decreasing aero grip, then there are concerns that the cars will be so fast that safety will be a major issue.

      1. I agree that this would increase speed. However, isnt going as quick as possible exactly what racing is about ?

        Anyway, we have seen massive increases in safety over recent years with new crash testing and super strong carbon fiber construction. If increasing speed knocks current ‘safety levels’ back to something equivalent to the late 1990’s would that be unacceptable ?

        Racing drivers are after all very well paid professionals who can drive right up to the limit. A degree of danger will always be involved – otherwise they arnt trying hard enough.

        1. I totally agree, and I have to say that I personally wouldnt be concerned if the cars were faster (just not excessively so), but the authority figures (so to speak) in F1 are definitely trying to keep speeds down.

  16. So far in 2010, the only interesting races where hit affected by rain. Naturally, the scramble to chose the right tire for the conditions changed the order quite a bit, but in those conditions, overtaking was possible.
    Just as an example, Hamilton could not pass Kubica in Australia when the track dried, but he was able to in China under the mixed conditions. With this in mind, the argument for lower mechanical grip seems to be the right approach to promote overtaking. A quick way to do this would be to re-introduce grooved tires or we could revert to the much harder compounds used in the 2005 season (when tire changes were banned). If the FIA chooses to use only one tire supplier, this could easily be accomplished.

  17. The best races this year have been when mechanical grip has been at a premium i.e. when it’s been wet – so reduce both mechanical and aero and stick a smaller diffuser on with a rear wing that makes a decent hole in the air with minimal turbulence for a car that gets close enough out of the corners to have half a chance on a straight and under braking which will favour the brave – and historically those are the drivers we’ve all craved for and remembered guys who are just as happy with acar going sideways if it means they make a pass for positions and those who had the nuts to carry it out in a sometimes win it or bin it almost cavalier fashion….. namely – Gilles Villeneuve, Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, Jacque Villeneuve, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton, Fenando Alonso, Jenson Button in Brasil 2009 even !

    Like these….

    Mansell / Senna Barcelona 1991 still gets me going:

    youtube.com/watch?v=jsG5JEXweMA :)

    Mansell Berger Mexico 1990

    youtube.com/watch?v=V2g1yrGputA

    Senna, Prost, Schumacher at Silverstone ’93 – I was there !! :)

    youtube.com/watch?v=5MEG88C3Mp0

    Jaque Villeneuve doing Schumacher at Estoril

    youtube.com/watch?v=Mp37Rl2J_fg

    &

    Gilles Villeneuve v Rene Arnoux arguably the best laps in F1 EVER !

    youtube.com/watch?v=kre35Pct0yA

  18. Standard front and rear wings could only lead to one conclusion, standard cars. Because there would only one set of resulting dimensions for all the other ‘body work’ components.

  19. Accidental Mick
    27th April 2010, 20:24

    Keith, I think you are wrong in saying that limiting the turbulance left by a car would be too expensive to measure and police.

    All the teams bar one already test in wind tunnels so all it needs is an independant observer at one of the tests to take the required measurement.

    From that moment on, no aero changes are permitted for the rest of the season unless those changes are measured in a wind tunnel (which the team would have to pay for).

    Leave it to the teams to police each other – any of them would howl if they thought someone else was fudging.

    1. Yes ! I was going to say this before I read your comment. Can’t see why that wouldn’t work.

    2. any of them would howl if they thought someone else was fudging.

      They’d do a lot more howling than that. Any time they thought they might be able to force a rival team to get something off their car they’d have a go. Remember the diffuser row last year? It’d be like that all the time.

  20. “Hiring a windtunnel to measure it would be prohibitively expensive, and the cars would have to be checked at the tracks to ensure compliance, so this looks like a non-starter”

    This is completely not true (the non-starter bit). It IS viable to downforce check each car after the race, the same as mass. To measure overall downforce at some single speed is a much much easier and cheaper thing to do than to do the sophisticated measurement and analysis of a lab wind tunnel. You could build a single speed open section wind tunnel out of the trailer of a single semi truck out of a large powerful fan and scales. That is completely ‘good enough’. Having a downforce limit at 150 kph only is completely adequate to control the whole range.

    They don’t use many-post rig to measure mass in post tech, just scales. They don’t need a research level wind tunnel to measure downforce either.

    1. without the wheels spinning and the ground moving, the air wouldn’t flow correctly over the car

      1. True, but there would be a correlation to rolling downforce, which is all that you’d need. It does not need to be the accurate absolute numbers for 150kph on track. It simply needs to correlate in a reasonably consistent way (wrt approaches teams take to game it). The bottom line is that if the cheapo-tunnel numbers are set low, the real on track downforce will be low too, and hence aero push will be less, hence racing will be better.

    2. It’s not really that simple, teams don’t even use full scale models for testing themselves, but you expect the FIA to use the cars? And create a steady, controlled flow, out of a portable trailer?

      And you can’t expect teams to knock up 1/2 scale models (and you’ll need a decent sized scale to achieve dynamic similarity without supersonic flow speeds) along with every update of the car, whilst expecting them to ‘reduce costs’. It’s absurd.

  21. – definitely, banning all “floor” things like DD
    – front wings, half as wide and half as deep, to make cars shorter.
    – smaller brakes
    – shorter cars
    – whatever it takes

  22. This obsession with chopping off the wings, even if based on more than aesthetics or nostalgia, is misguided. The evidence we have is that limiting the appearance of certain types of body work in certain places does not by itself make cars more follow-able. And it won’t save costs.

    Standardizing the wings, or making them teency, will not somehow demephasize aero development, or make it cheaper, or make it less time-consuming. One only has to look at the nose of the Audi R-15 and its competitors to see how much banning front wings has done to idle aerodynamicists, or quiet design controversies. More likely, drastic limits will only increase the marginal returns to research in that area, and thus the effort expended on body-work-related downforce.

    Second, and as a related result, I expect that it will not necessarily reduce turbulence sensitivity, which is not the same thing as reducing turbulence. Open-wheel, open-cockpit cars have enourmous amounts of drag, due primarily to their fundamental configuration. So long as any downforce, and performance, is derived from bodywork, it will be disrupted by turbulence. Further, possibly, resulting designs relying almost entirely on body shape for downforce will be more vulnerable to dirty air, not less. Even Sprint Cup cars suffer from these issues, and, contrary to popular myth, IRL cars suffer greatly from wake turbulence as well.

    It’s easy to say, well then “ban” “wings”, but a glance at an LMS/ALMS car where the rear wing is limited to a scrawny single plane, with no front wing allowed, shows us the limits of texts to govern shapes. And Adrian Newey hasn’t even put his pencil to a modern prototype design.

    This is simply not a pressing issue. And going down some radical path of redesign of the formula is not a risk worth taking. Frankly, I don’t think the aero changes from 08 to 09 ammounted to a hill of beans, as far as improving the show.

    I would suggest one body work change, to go with some rule changes. The cars should be required to have hard body work behind and and in front of the wheels, like the Swift IRL chassis proposals. Drivers need to know that going for a pass will not send them into the stands if it goes wrong.

    1. Maybe having the 18″ wheels next year will make the teams change the suspension and have a more varying ride heigt to cope with less flexibility in the tyres.
      That would affect Aero efficiency as well, wouldn’t it?
      The tyres would ruin aero in a larger part of the cars.

    2. I would suggest one body work change, to go with some rule changes. The cars should be required to have hard body work behind and and in front of the wheels, like the Swift IRL chassis proposals. Drivers need to know that going for a pass will not send them into the stands if it goes wrong.

      That would be pretty radical. Would people even recognise them as F1 cars any more? And would it not just encourage driver to push each other out of the way?

  23. Eddie Irvine
    27th April 2010, 20:57

    I totally disagree! if we agree on that, in 5-6 years we ‘ll agrre to remove completely the front and the rear wing… We will come up with a formula 1 car like 50s’. Formula 1 is all about designing an opel wheel car. I’m sad to say that but max mosley was right…set a budget cap(my proposal is 100m without marketing) and give freedom to the designers, this will lead to bigger differences between cars and more overtaking…
    Finally most of the overtaking takes place under braking… so increase the breaking zones.. how? increase the power of the engines ..so bigger top speeds… and put ”bad” breakes

  24. 3 things that you need to consider:

    1.) these discussions kinda fall victim to the continuous banging about fixing F1 and making it “better”. Although I truly love and follow this blog, it seems that we are only talking about getting cars to overtake each other easily. Is this what is all about? No. Watch motoGP if you rather – however think first why it is easier for them to overtake – simply it is harder to drive the bike and has less elements to adjust and manipulate for each track totake it to the limit corner after corner.
    2.) We all know that in a race a) an F1 car matters too much to the result – yes, but b) driver/team finding optimum setup and getting into the “grove” matter too – this is really important to understand that the whole sport now revolves around this fact – changing the aerodynamic philosophy is not enough, as this is how F1 operates and the teams will find anything they can to get an optimum setup for each track. It is like “programming” the cars to a base level that contribute to 95% of the performance and up to the driver to find the remaining 5% (if that). You want more challenge? the restrict the adjustments they can do on a race by race basis – let them drive almost same car in Monaco, Bahrain, Spa, Monza, etc… – But hang on – we don’t want that do we?
    3.) If you just make overtaking easier then you are making it easier for the fast car to get in front during the race – indirectly you are allowing the fast ones to, say, make mistake and have a good chance to get back in front.

    The main fact is this – the fastest cars have a huge advantage – best drivers do not necessarily shine. Cutting aero etc will not fix this challenge, it will shift it to something else that the clever engineers will find. This is how it is for the last 20 years I watch F1, (Beneton, Williams, McLaren, Ferrari, Renault+Michelin, etc..) – but this is what we come to like. I hate boring races, but then the small details make the difference now and this is what we all appreciate in this sport – diversity and technology at the cost of manic overtaking – and when it rains then let them driver work his magic or ruin it

    1. I think you have an interesting idea in racing the same car at every track. We wouldn’t notice it that much, but it might still contribute something. At least, it’ll keep some costs down, although the teams will probably end up designing their car to do OK in most of the tracks on the calendar.

  25. Make the tyres wider and the wings smaller.

  26. Larger wheels, radius and width, smaller wings, cars to be higher off the ground? And BRING BACK REFUELLING!

  27. Front wing just a head of the barg boards (it would be cool to see how the aro guys would use the air coming off of the front wheels. Rear wing mounted on the shark fin,trailing edge must end at the center line of the drive shafts and the single floor plate must end there too. Push bar on gearbox, so team mate can push to pass like NASCAR :)

  28. I’ve been reading nearly all the comments on here and obviously I believe some of the ideas are quite good. Instead of all the restrictions for the sake of them, e.g. they might improve overtaking costs etc. Why not instead have a points based system whereby you can bring updates to your car, either at the expense of you own teams points, or based on the previous years constructors standings. So the higher you finish the more restricted you are in terms of number of developments, track time in testing. This would give smaller teams, more freedom to keep on par with the big boys but more cheaply. Obviously you have downsides, say ferrari make a really bad car, think we can skip this year and dominate the next, but is that really in the teams interest? I would see it kind of like mosely’s cost capping rules(as much as I despise him), but based on points instead.

    1. You realise that with your rules, in 2009, Brawn in front would have been allowed lots of developments, while Ferrari and McLaren would have been stuck with slow cars all season, right ?

    2. So the higher you finish the more restricted you are in terms of number of developments, track time in testing.

      I can’t agree with that idea, it’s wrong to punish people for doing well. It’s like giving the winning driver more ballast for the next race.

  29. I think F1 does have a problem because of its reliance on aero which does need to be addressed in some way to get a greater balance between mechanical and aero grip.

    But if you listened to the drivers after bahrain Schumacher said its impossible to overtake unless a driver makes a mistake, Button also eluded to this by saying he wasnt driving flatout because there was no way passed micheal.

    So I think there are two things to think about here,

    You could re-introduce manual gear boxes, a driver might get the wrong gear coming into a corner – driver behind has a chance to overtake.

    The tracks have a lot to do with it! F1 needs to look at going to race circuits where they are many places a driver can overtake if he’s fundamentally faster. Brazil is a good example, there is always plenty of overtaking because of the environment of the track, the sweeping corners, straights, braking zones and the face its high above sea level (I think :S)…

    1. I think the manual gearboxes idea is a red herring. It’s not as if we saw much overtaking due to missed gearchanges before semi-automatic gearboxes came along.

      And in a few years’ time you might have a job explaining to an average driver what a manual gearbox used to be.

  30. How about removing the rev limit ?

    One limit on overtaking is that cars hit the rev limit on the straights when slipstreaming and therefore they cannot get past or even close enough to overtake under braking.

    Remove the rev limit and a following car will be able to gain much more speed to overtake than they can today.

    Also some teams/drivers will take more of a risk with the revs than others and may suffer engine failures (better for the show ?) and run into problems towards the end of season due to the engine limit…. it would certainly introduce greater variation and different strategies.

    1. So do you not think there should be any changes to the cars’ aerodynamics?

  31. Firstly, I would propose ground effect tunnels with a maximum total volume and a maximum rear opening. Limit fornt wing span to center line of the tire and limit the number of fins and the total outline volume of the end plates. Limit the span camber thickness and chord of rear wings and the area of the end plates, as well as limit the placement of the wing fore and aft and a range of height they may be mounted. Allow 15 degrees movement in angle of attack, and allow cockpit articulated flaps on the front wing as well as allowing the both wings’ angle of attack to be articulated in brakind and strasighaway conditions. These are completely with in the capability of F1 drivers as pilots do it all the time.
    engines:
    1.5 liter turbocharged direct injected gasoline for the time being with flywheel Kers with up to 150 hp and no limit to when or how long or how many times it can be used.
    No telemetry control forom the pits. Any changes to the car while on track limited to the drivers control only.
    18″ wheel and steel brake discs. this will allow bold braking passes but will restrict the number of time as a result of overheating and wear. 1 only mandetory fuel stop, but allow fuel tanks to be only 75 % of present capacity.
    This allows for strategy.
    No mandatory running of 2 tire types, but return to qualifying tires, and 2 race compounds more closely matched. Adds to strategy.
    No fins wort or proturerences from Any are of the body work.
    Limit changes to cars to every forth race.
    Suspension arm chord wise crossections must be semetrical with no or maximum pitch of 2 dergees and must maintain that angle throughout their travev and loading.
    That’s all I can think of for now, so I’ll go back to sleep
    Barry

  32. I forgot one last thing.Pit grews.
    One tire man per corner, one front, one rear jackman, and one lollipop man. 2 men allowed to work on the nose or whatever, and 2 for fueling.

  33. I think that in every race the safety car should get into the track at the half of the race to make that the cars get closer and it will give to F1 an significative improvement.

  34. I have often enough voiced my opinion that we need the change the aero-mechanical grip balance in favour of the mechanical. But how to do it and what to change are very difficult questions.

    The first consideration I will point out, Is a purely aesthetic one, I don’t want to see both Ferrari and Mclaren look the the same, Many people have almost a fear of having F1 resemble a spec series, quite like Americans and communism, But in this case, it is a valid fear, F1 has always distinguished itself from other series by the cars visual differences, and that is something we will want to continue.

    The second issue I think is the need for the change, Aerodynamics are having two effects on the racing, It is harder to overtake, and cornering speeds are continuing to rise. Note how cars in 1997 (from memory) achieved higher top speeds, but much slower lap times than the cars of today, This is at least in part due to the cornering speeds increasing due to down force. The first problem is the one we see easily and ergo complain about, But the second is just as damaging overall, and in the end, partly responsible for the first one. So there is a need for some to be changed.

    Lastly, F1 leads the world in aerodynamics, The classic line “F1 has more in common with a fighter Jet than a road car” Is what makes it different, I know F1 tries to have itself seen as a series from which road car technology trickles down, But ignoring the Williams KERS Device, both simply can’t be commonly achieved in this day and age.

    I think that this problem will never go away, and can’t be solved without making sacrifices,

    I would suggest two idea’s, have wings with rules Limiting modification,
    for example, FIA rules stipulate teams use a certain wing section and these are the dimensions of it, with rules preventing teams building around it to manipulate it, and allowing teams only to change the sideboards within these limits. also in conjunction, Modifying the rules to further limit the bottom of the cars design, basically force teams to use a block instead of a diffuser section, and have the underbelly of the car fairly useless in terms of generating down force.

    That should severely restrict Down force, The FIA picking the section means that they could have one that does not create much down force, but does create a relatively high amount of drag allowing a slipstream, but only a limited one, and not as we have it now.,

    1. Down force is cool. These F1 cars never cease to amaze me; they look like slot cars, it looks unreal and sets them apart from Indy cars. It seems to me that down force is not the problem, it’s turbulence and/or sensitivity. Can they obtain current levels of down force while reducing turbulence? Perhaps the problem isn’t so much overtaking per Se as it is the inability to race close together. What about allowing down force to be directly applied to the suspension? Clearly I am no expert, but I would imagine less aero would be necessary to attain the same levels of down force and grip, perhaps creating opportunities to clean up the wake.

      1. It seems to me that down force is not the problem, it’s turbulence and/or sensitivity. Can they obtain current levels of down force while reducing turbulence?

        Something like the Handford device?

        1. Wow, I’m learning all the time. Can you forward this to the OWG ?

  35. Maybe wing components can be restricted to be under a certain weight (surface area would be too complicated), from a standardized hardpoint position on the chassis. Then it’d be a matter of optimizing wing up to a limit.

  36. Standard smaller front wing, limited or even no diffuser, and tyres as hard as iron.

  37. narrower tires, and smaller wings..
    and take away the mirrors too, so we dont have another malaysia race. (hamilton-petrov battle)

  38. kick the word ‘standardise’ out of the dictionary. it shouldn’t be anywhere near Formula 1.
    i think f1’s ok as it is. definately room for improvement, but definately not as bad as we make it seem.

  39. The FIA could allocate an amount of area to all the teams & as long as they meet strict safety rules & standards allow each team the ability to decide how they wish shape & mold this aero area to there car. This would promote interesting designs like we had back in the 70s/80s and make the cars more interesting & diverse than they currently are today. This also could apply for the engine specs as well, cap the HP, RPM & EPA & then let the engine manufacturers decide how they wish to produce the numbers. For manufactures like Toyota & Renault it is in there business interests to develop & run small lightweight turbo engines as heavy V8s will never feature in there road cars however Mercedes & Ferrari may wish to continue to develop & run heavier V8s/10s etc. I think F1 was great when we had different size engines, each one had there strength, weakness & distinctive note. No need to over complicate things, sometimes less is best!

  40. Mark in Florida
    28th April 2010, 3:14

    I think that limited wings similar to the way that the Indy league uses would work.The FIA could adjust the downforce according to the track,just like Bridgestone adjusts the tires now.Taking wing development out of the picture would free the designers to concentrate on the the body shape and more importantly on gaining mechanical grip.If anyone thinks that doing away with wings will solve the overtaking problem.Just look at NASCAR those cars with no front wings and barely any rear wing are so aero dependent that when they get close to each other they almost lose all control.Engine development should be allowed within limits such as a fixed amount of fuel per car.Now that the working groups are going towards 1.5 liter turbos this would reward efficiency.If you can make 800 hp vs. 720 hp with the same amount of fuel then you will reap the benefits.Development has to occur somewhere it might as well be the motors.At least this efficiency can translate well into the real world.

  41. I don’t think Indycar will have the balls to accept it, but I think the DeltaWing approach,remembering that the Deltawing group isn’t a car design, it’s a design philosophy and idea for other teams to interpret, would be perfect for F1

  42. I’ve brought this up before.
    Return to active suspension, even if it is a spec unit.
    It has implications for the motor industry, as it will improve ride, grip and handling on road cars.

    On F1 cars, it will improve mechanical grip, narrow the window of performance gained in Free Practice and if you mandate a minimum ride height that is far above current standards, you can limit the effect of underfloor air flow, which results in less turbulence. A car following will still have a higher level of mechanical grip to help them close up on a car.

  43. Some of the best racing comes dring wet races. I’d say we need to decrease aero grip and have a corresponding increase in power to mimick wet race conditions.

    A downforce limit is easy to enforce if the tech inspectors were given the spring and dampening rates and load cells were attached to the suspension. With a downforce limit, efficiency comes to the forefront which would actally provide a benefit to road cars and engine development can come back.

  44. a return to the ground effects of the 80’s and banning the ridiculous and hideous wide front wings would work

  45. can’t ban wings…that’s advertising space. besides, like it or not, wings are now a part of f1. you can decrease the size of the wing i suppose.

    another problem the cars have is the ability to follow each other. there has to be some sort of minimum radiator area available for cooling. how often do we see a car pop out of the slipstream so as to get fresh air? pathetic.

    the neutering of the engine development takes away one of the best methods for a team to increase their speed.

  46. Standardizing aero is not a solution. It will make teams to spend the very same amount of money on making the wings work better, e.g. by refining the bodywork.

    In my opinion the diffuser should be banned and both the front and rear wings to be reduced in surface.

    1. If wings were standardised, and engine and kers development opened up, the teams would quickly move the money onto engine and kers development, as spedning money on optimising engine covers etc would be as effective as bruning it :D

      resources will always be spent on the areas where the greatest gains can be made

  47. Reduce surface area and lower the angles of front and rear wings, by up to 40%, and ban double diffusers. Done. Leave mechanical grip where it is and simply reduce downforce. Significantly. Easier to follow closely and more emphasis on driver skill like the good old days when wings were first introduced.

  48. I find it interesting how frequently some of the top teams will modify their aerodynamic package; as often as every single race as the article says.

    Surely in an age of cost reduction this is an expensive process?

    Besides which it seems to me that the real way to get overtaking into the sport is to increase imperfection in a car’s setup (i.e. having the weaker of the two tyre compounds for one thing), so why not restrict how many times a team can alter the aerodynamics of their car in a season?

    I’m not proposing a restriction on actual development, limited track and wind tunnel time covers that, so teams can design and test as many new wings etc. as they wish to but when it comes to actually starting a competitive session with such a modification (i.e. Q1) then that has to be approved and exhausts one of the team’s permitted changes for the season. A bit like engines or gearboxes really (so that way there IS scope to make additional changes to rectify a mistake but there’s a penalty attached).

    That way we might see more cars designed to ‘best fit’ a number of circuits rather than tailor made to each one.

    1. This does not sound like a bad idea. To improve the show the teams could be made to actually present what they changed to the public.

      The problem with limiting this is, that a team that got it wrong at the start has less possibility to catch up. This in season development makes a lot of the seasons exiting.

  49. Other than perhaps getting rid of DDDs next year, if it aint broke don’t fix it.

    I don’t personally want F1 to be a series where overtaking is any more than it is at present. It’s just fine and most races for the last 3 or 4 years have actually been very entertaining on the whole.

    Am I the only one here taking crazy pills or is everyone else? F1 is just fine as it is!!

    1. you’re missing the strings of midfield cars all seperated by 1 second and unable to get any closer. it’s all about closing the gap so that it doesn’t look like a procession

    2. Looking at how races have been rated on this site over the past two years the most popular ones have been those where there is more racing for position:

      2008 race ratings
      2009 race ratings

      Usually that’s been because of rain but there are a couple of exceptions: Melbourne ’09 and Canada ’08, the latter enlivened somewhat by a deteriorating track surface and a conveniently-timed safety car.

      The majority of races score around five out of ten with a few real stinkers getting even less: Valencia ’08 and China ’08, for example.

      Now, there will always be some bad F1 races the way there will always be bad some football matches and some bad rugby games. Sport, by its very nature, is unpredictable and can be one-sided.

      But it’s the poor quality of your average F1 race that worries me. The leading places are rarely in dispute and it seems that even when we have a quicker car behind a slower one it can’t get close enough to even begin to try to make a pass. To me, that says there’s a problem with the aerodynamics.

      1. You make sound points Keith, there is no doubt. I do hope that aero is reduced slightly, but not so much so that we lose some of scope for the little bits of innovation that makes F1 so unique.

        There is a problem with following cars, but it’s not as big as some make out (the drivers are always going to go on about it I know, but that’s just to be expected!) and are we at risk of making overtaking the norm – and hence inadvertently making it a little less special at the same time?

        Needless to say I’ll still be watching whatever happens.

        1. There is a problem with following cars, but it’s not as big as some make out (the drivers are always going to go on about it I know, but that’s just to be expected!) and are we at risk of making overtaking the norm – and hence inadvertently making it a little less special at the same time?

          I agree that there needs to be a balance between making it possible and making it so easy that cars just breeze past each other.

  50. I agree, that we need F1 to get rid of its Aero dependance to get improve it.

    But i am not sure, standard elements will actually solve this.

    – The engine is standardized, yet all teams constantly make changes to it. A lot of the money spent on developing them went to aero development instead.
    – The regulations inhibit a lot of aero-devices around the car, yet we have a load of barge boards, mirror mounds, turning vanes etc. The non regulated aerea of the wings and bodywork have become a wilderness of developments onto the parts that can be adjusted.

    I think the resource restrictions will get rid of part of the throwing money at 100ths of seconds won in aero or any other area. Also testing limits mean the teams have limited possibility to try new things, limiting their possibilities for in season development.
    Standardisation of one area does not solve the problem because it just moves the attention to other areas.

    The OWG wanted larger front wings, to get more aero downforce from them, in the areas outside the rear wing of the car they are following. The other way is better, getting smaller front wings, to lessen the total effect they may have on aero, so being in turbulence has less effect.
    An alternative would be to have more scope for the driver to adjust the wing to following a car, making it change the balance.

    1. Actually reading this back, i have to add something.

      I think it does make sense to get some more limitations to the areas of aerodynamics developments, like smaller wings.

      That would enable getting more recources spent in meaningfull development of the drive train to improve its efficiency (KERS, electrical 4WD, gas turbines, hydro power etc) wich should be freed up.

  51. Jonesracing82
    28th April 2010, 9:54

    aa return on re-fuelling will not, and i repeat WILL NOT! make the racing anyn more exciting, we had refuelling for 15 years and we had some mighty tedious races in that era……. alkl it did was mix up 1 or 2 places at certain times of the race, and did so artificially, as well. i think standard 500 style front wings (smaller and therefor not much is to be lost by turbulance, being the the front wing is the most affected part of the car by turbulance) as well as DD diffusers should do the trick. we had overtaking last year until the cars got those bloody things 9wrongly) legalised…..

  52. The way I see it, there are 2 problems:

    1) The problem with technology in F1 is that you can’t uninvent it. A team will introduce a revolutionary new part (e.g. a double deck diffuser), and everyone will copy it (as happened last year), then the FIA will ban it (as of 2011). After this, the teams will try to claw back the loss in another way. When the FIA sets rules to limit downforce, the engineers look at the rules and then think “How do we get all that lovely downforce back without breaking the rules?” This leads to devices such as snowploughs and RB6 style front wings, all of which are great when the car is in clean air, and useless in dirty air.

    2) The highly restrictive rules are part of the problem, not the solution. Because of the highly restrictive rules (the engine freeze etc) that the teams have been forced to focus on a few areas where they have technical freedom (e.g. the front wing and the diffusers) we have cars which are incredibly sensitive, and which are difficult to follow.

    I have no idea how to fix the problem, but greater standardisation and more restrictive rules just aren’t the way to go.

    1. Yup – totally agree with No 2.

      There is nowhere else for teams to gain time except aero development. We need the engine freeze to go, so that teams focus their resources on an avenue that will inprove overtaking opportunities.

  53. I’d say no wings at all and completely flat bottomed cars.
    To start…
    But, again, I want to underline that, even if it is hard to explain, we see much greater races with more overtaking attempts when the mechanical grip decreases also (in the rain, for instance). Why not decreasing also wheels dimensions?

  54. While I would like cars to be able to follow each other more closely, and the main culprit seems to be aero, I am instinctively against standardised wings or banning them altogether.

    Although there is the old saying that if all the cars were painted the same colour you couldn’t tell which car was which, I think that on the whole there is enough difference between the cars to be able to tell them apart. If the wings were standardised I think it would lead to the cars becoming more alike though.

    Apart from small parts such as nuts and bolts the only other area I am in favour of being standardised are the tyres.

    F1 is supposed to be fastest at what it does, circuit racing, if wings were banned, junior formula would be faster than F1, something which I don’t think the powers that be would let happen, and something I don’t think quite a few fans would like.

  55. Im surprised that no one has mentioned the lack of power relative to the grip available as a cause of the overtaking problems. I would allow engine power to be increased to the point that the available grip was not surficient. As well as lowering the available aero derived grip, leave the mechanical where it is at the moment.

    1. Some of the best racing comes dring wet races. I’d say we need to decrease aero grip and have a corresponding increase in power to mimick wet race conditions.

      ;)

      mentioned that one yesterday lol. though i gess slightly different wording?

  56. Over the past 20 years or so the focus in F1 shifted from mechanical grip to aerodynamics. Not that that is not a good thing, but I think it went over the top. Nowadays cars perform only in the right circumstances and are not able to slipstream any more. A good thing if you are in front, but not so good when you want to overtake.

    Reducing the turbulence behind a car (smaller diffuser) is one way to go, but still there are limits to how close you can get to the car in front, because the car behind has less air flowing over (and under) the car). The car behind has still a disadvantage.

    In my humble opinion there can be only one solution. the return of ground-effect. Then both cars are ‘glued’ to the ground and can drive in the slipstream of the car in front and it is possible to overtake. To prevent ground-effect from becoming too dangerous (the reason it was banned in the ’80s) teams should use a standard under-tray which delivers a standard amount of ground-effect. This in combination with smaller wings (not standard), should make a car have more mechanical grip compared to aerodynamic grip. Ground-effect is used in GP2 and Indycar as well, with good results.

    Refuelling is not an issue. In fact, refuelling decreased the amount of overtakes when it was introduced (again) in 1994 and every year after the amount of overtakes in a race became less and less (because of better aerodynamics). Even with refuelling the race in Bahrein probably would be boring, thanks to the new circuit layout and the currently used tyres (they wear too fast when driving fast laps). Another tyre compound, which doesn’t wear so fast when drivers try to overtake should increase the overtake attempts as well.

    1. I think you have a solid point here.

  57. Push the Button
    28th April 2010, 10:50

    For me personally I feel this is the biggest thing that will help F1. Currently, due to the aerodynamic inefficiency following a car closely through a corner, the chasing car can’t get close enough to have a shot down the straight… not unless there is at least a 3 second difference in laptime (according to reports). So, we need to get the cars closer through the corners, which means more balance to the mechanical grip and less on aero. As I’ve said before, on some other thread, the increase in aero dependency since the early ’90s has seen a counter decrease in overtaking and spectical in the sport, and subsequently the need for the FIA to mess about trying to liven it up with the rules and refuelling etc.

    The aerodynamics should be the only standardised component, the wings should be there for the advertising space and provide very little downforce. A standard spec for the underbody as well, and no other downforce genereating parts on the car should be allowed. Ultimately aero stuff doesn’t transfer to the road car so well.

    Release the other restrictions, because developments in the engine, in the gearbox, in the drivetrain, in energy recovery and/or hybrid technologies, in suspension, all can be transferred and make road cars better for us and the manufacturer has another reason to invest in F1. Williams is the classic example of the privateer race team collaborating successfully with a manufacturer and getting return for their development. Renault/Mercedes/Ferrari obviously are more directly connected.

    Lets return to fatter tyres, and I’m all for the tyre manufacturers request to go big on the wheels to allow them to transfer the lessons learnt to the road and get better return on their investment.

    The problem with all this of course, is controlling the costs, and as much as I’d say only this amount of fuel (reduced year on year) and this amount of budget, I think that would stifle the development rate for the road car end product… it’s a tough one, but I think budget the fuel & the costs and leave the rest well alone.

  58. There is a easy to police way of reducing downforce, and it keeps earo as a part of the show (it is for me): seriously limit the amount of fuel per race.
    Current F1 cars produce obscene amounts of downforce at the cost of equally obscene amounts of drag. In general terms, to add downforce you have to accept adding some drag too. This drag is compensated by powerful engines eating obscene amounts of fuel, much of which leaves the exhausts unburnt.
    My proposal is: limit the fuel to 100Kg per race, probably of some stardard fuel mix. Easy to police, before the race your car must be empty, and by the way, here is your fuel, see you at the finish line. In further years, why not redece it to 90Kg, or 80Kg, or even 50Kg! Of course this would make all teams work in engine efficiency, a good thing per se, I guess, but the knock on effect on aero would be equally dramatic. If you want downforce, you’ll have to accept drag, and if you want to move a draggy car through 305Km or race, well, good luck not using fuel for that!
    This way, the designs would shift towards less drag, simply to be able to see the finish line, and in order to generate less drag, some of the downforce has to be sacrificed. We’ll end up with equally sofisticated cars, but with much of the aero effort redirected towards low drag (road relevant!) and with lowered general downforce levels (hello mechanical grip! hello longer braking distances!).
    It is not just slowing the cars down, if you want, design your engine to be able to eat a lot of fuel for a short time to give a lot of power, that is a kind of push to pass in itself, but drivers won’t be able to use much of it, as they have to stretch the fuel to finish the race.
    I’ll cite again what could be the best aspect of this proposal: easy to police!

    1. wouldn’t the cars start resembling something like these solar engery contests?

      I think just having the cars start with all the fuel on board will already prompt teams to go for more efficient packages.

      1. But more power and more drag at the expense of higher fuel weight will still make you faster. The engines and aero haven’ exactly been tuned down this year with the ban on refuelling…
        It is only with a limit in the total amount that efficiency strats trumping raw brute power.

    2. seriously limit the amount of fuel per race.
      Current F1 cars produce obscene amounts of downforce at the cost of equally obscene amounts of drag. In general terms, to add downforce you have to accept adding some drag too. This drag is compensated by powerful engines eating obscene amounts of fuel, much of which leaves the exhausts unburnt.
      My proposal is: limit the fuel to 100Kg per race, probably of some stardard fuel mix. Easy to police, before the race your car must be empty, and by the way, here is your fuel, see you at the finish line. In further years, why not redece it to 90Kg, or 80Kg, or even 50Kg!

      That’s a very interesting idea. I can’t say for sure how accurate your figures are but the theory sounds convincing.

      I wonder if there’s any value in doing what IndyCar has done this year and prevent drivers from being able to alter the mixture settings on their engines?

      1. This isn’t a million miles away from the final turbo formula in ’88. IIRC they were restricted to 155kg of fuel, which is what gave the McLarens such an advantage. A turbo was easily better than normally aspirated for eeking out fuel without sacrificing power, and only Arrows (old thirsty BMW turbo) and Lotus (rubbish chassis) were in the same league.

        I’m not sure an economy formula is a good idea unless there is complete freedom for development (and freedom to spend loads of money).

        Sure, it might get exciting at the end wondering who’s going to run out (like the Top Gear economy race) but it’s not really going to encourage on track action – everyone will go for the fastest start-finish speed and stick to that average leading to alot of processions.

        Also worth noting is the difference between now and the 80s is that measuring fuel consumption is far more accurate. If this was taken away I think it would have more chance of working, simply because drivers would have to “feel” their way rather than following the equation.

  59. It really depends if we understand why there is a problem, if there is indeed a problem!
    Most of us on these sort of websites will watch F1 and most other motorsports regardless of the “show”. F1 like other major mototrsports needs the millions of TV viewers who are not particularly knowledgeable. They dont want different tyre manufacturers and different fuel strategies. Just to see lots of cars running round in qualifying and plenty of overtaking in the race. Refuelling was seen in general as diminishing the show as overtakes were happening in the pitlane as opposed to on track. This doesnt necessarily affect other motosports the same as it is a good aspect of Nascar but has been criticised for years in F1

    Tyres? Certainly the single tyre supply has not adversely affected the “Show” in Moto GP; and single tyre supply does allow us to concentrate on the Cars and drivers without the added complication of tyre manufacturer.

    Unable to follow other cars closely?
    This just becomes worse as aero becomes more important. Its not the hole in the air that is the issue as much as how dependent you are for there to be no hole in the air. Adjusting the balance here will redress the issue, but how? The standard floor idea seemed good especially as it is out of view; but standard wings seems to be wrong for the f1 ethos and i suspect will create a million winglets and vanes channeling air to the standard rear wing which then end up being sensitive and we are back where we started.

    Braking distances?
    These are so short that it is nearly impossible to introduce driver error. China was a wonderful example, with cars braking after the 100m board from top speed for the hairpin after the 1km back straight. This is also more aero dependent than tyre or brake type/size.

    Enforced Tyre Stops?
    In theory this is to improve the show, but not only does it penalise smoothies like Button, but in wet races we have seen this rule removed and drivers change when THEY need/want too. I dont see the value unless watching many people changing tyres in sub 4 secs lights your fire.

    Differnt engines allowed?
    todays engines are close to identical, differing engines would allow for eco V8s versus heavier more powerful V10s/V12s. A limited amount of fuel could provide added interest as it does in MotoGP. It does have a cost implication though, and this could be offset if less is spent on aero. Would this improve the show though as other formulas have very good shows with standard engines?

    Dont discount the F1 engineers, they will out-think and ruin the intention of every sensible rule change ;-) , and also dont forget if there was an easy answer the authorities and the OWG would have come up with them already.

  60. If cars are generating downforce from ‘unforeseen’ areas such as diffusers why not ban front and rear wings altogether? At worst, they should be smaller single element devices.

  61. Edward Marshall
    28th April 2010, 11:22

    Ban front wings.
    Job done ;)

    1. I will second that !

      Front wings are the main problem, get rid of them and you get rid of the problem.

      1. If you get rid of the front wing how can you will provide downforce in the front of the car?

        The car will have trouble in getting in cornered in high speed corner like 130 R in Suzuka.

        1. Get rid of both wings and bring back the four wheel drift.

  62. Aero will always be a problem in F1. An if a performance is being gained from aero, performance will be affected behind other cars. However the obvious answer to this is to slash performance aero an theres a really obvious way of doing that, ban wings. Todays wings produce an obscene amount of downforce, truly ridiculous, luckily at a high drag cost but the ratio gets better every year.

    So what can be done, ban wings of course! Bodywork downforce will rise but it’ll still mean less updates a year an as downforce from wings will plumet, dirty air will become far less of a problem, it won’t disapear but so what? We’ve made a huge step.

    Then set about unbanning all those, real life applicable mechanical technologies. Like four wheel drive, active suspension, tuned mass dampers and brake steer. This will make the mechanical side of F1 far more attractive, useful and profitable. It’ll also help cars follow in dirty air, the more mechanical grip you have in relation to aero, the less the performance drop off due to aero matters, which is logical.

    You’ll be massivley increasing fuel efficiency as we’d have shed a ton of drag, aero may well become massivley low drag focused, increased the ability of a faster car to overtake a slower one an made F1 more relavant to the industry.

    Add this to a freed up engine formula with four cylinder turbos competing with the latest gas turbines hybreeds and electric engines an I think you can have a magnificent formula.

  63. Cornering speeds have to be limited for safety, and we’ve seen that more power than grip causes interesting races as drivers are forced to use their skills more.

    So it’s time for a U-turn – limit aero and open engine development: or permit turbos, E85 biofuel, etc. Manufacturers will be more interested in F1 because it’s the engine they make, not the car; and despite the extra power the cars won’t go round corners any faster if they haven’t got grip.

    Aero regs can be simplified as much as you like – just make it so that a car in a wind tunnel at 120mph cannot produce more than 250kg downforce per corner…

    1. Do you then have to retest each car in a wind tunnel everytime they make any bodywork update? What about ride heights? What if we get a plethora of F-duct type devices which only begin to produce downforce at 121mph?

      Would a wind tunnel really be needed? Surely you can monitor a car’s aerodynamic load in realtime through piezoelectric sensors, or something similar, in the suspension?

  64. Ban double diffusers, ban rear wing endplates, mandatory single aerofoil rear wing, ban aerofoil development of areas designated for mandatory safety features such as rear view mirrors, ban overwings on front wing assembly, reintroduce kers, standard drag inducing break ducts, reintroduce tyre war!! Sorted.

  65. 2 words: ban wings. ;-)

  66. All this hoola ha is worthless. The front runners will ALWAYS be at the front; Ferrari, McLaren, now Red Bull and Mercedes.

    As one German 7 time F1 World Champion said, “F1 is not Moto GP”. Overtaking will always be difficult in Motor racing, if you guys watch any other formular (WTCC, BTCC- though they knock opponents off the track, DTM e.t.c) it is always difficult to overtake. Once the cars are almost equally matched power-wise, what do you have to work with; Aerodynamics, grip, brakes (not much), so if you think that any changes they make will have a positive out come to me and you (spectators), that is not going to happen. I have seen rules being changed and the result been less excitment of us watching (they seem to forget us). I do not care, I just want to watch a good race. However, if they can fix the weather to drizzle and dry up (no downpoars please) during the race, that will always make us smile at the end.
    In conclusion, I say LEAVE THE ENGINEERS ALONE to produce a fast car, but restricting horsepower, that’s all. Out!!!

    1. All this hoola ha is worthless. The front runners will ALWAYS be at the front; Ferrari, McLaren, now Red Bull and Mercedes.

      The objective isn’t to change who wins, it’s to improve the quality of racing. Hence “Making F1 better”.

  67. f1 hasnt really been about true innovsation for 20 years, its time to ralise that, just as the front engined cars became obselete, so has the era of the engineer. f1 racing doesnt NEED to “get back” to anything, its original premise was to showcase manufacturers, the win on sunday, sell on monday ethos. Its not that now, the pure racing teams like Williams saw to that but perhaps things like using road tyres, steel disc brakes and a manual gearbox are necessary to bring these unworldly machines back down to earth.

    I personally love the tech stuff but the sport can survive it going. i dont think it can survive a lack of exciting races.

    1. I personally love the tech stuff but the sport can survive it going. i dont think it can survive a lack of exciting races.

      It seems increasingly like this is the way things are going.

  68. AP’s comments way above make sense to me .. limit/control the turbulence caused due to aero created downforce on the cars following and we will have some real good races

  69. Prisoner Monkeys
    28th April 2010, 14:29

    The problem with aerodynamics is that the teams know that they can get more speed with aerodynamic grip than they can with mechanical. An so long as that remains the case, they will fight for all their worth to keep it that way.

    Personally, I think the most effective way to quickly shift the emphasis from aerodynamic to mechanical grip would be to change the way the television rights are paid to the teams. Rather than base it on final championship standings, FOM should pay it to teams based on the amount of progress they make towards reducing the car’s aerodynamic output. You might get teams like Ferrari and McLaren who can afford to go without the television rights (and as a result will just build cars that are aero-dependant), but once you get more than half the teams agreeing to it and building cars that rely on mechanical grip, they’ll be able to apply pressure to the teams like Ferrari and McLaren who hold out.

  70. Geordie Porker
    28th April 2010, 15:47

    Good article and good debate. Reducing the aero reliance on cars means they need to gain some of that performance back from elsewhere. Mechanical grip can only come from the tyres, so there’s the answer, unless we want slower cars – hardly the pinnacle of motorsport if the F3 cars can outrace them!

    In my humble opinion, there are 2 aero things which need to be done. Firstly, single element wings only. This will mean that they are less suscepitble to turbulence. Secondly, remove the double diffuser to reduce turbulence at the back. From an aero point of view, the cars will be able to race closer so more chance of overtaking.

    But, as soon as you go off the racing line, the ‘marbles’ take away your grip, tyres go cold and so you lose braking ability. If F1 introduces wider tyres to return some mechanical grip and also produce much harder tyre compounds, there will be less ‘marbles’ and so the racing line will be wider – more overtaking. The only issue is that the harder compounds would mean no-stop races unless the total thickness of ‘tread’ (on a lsick tyre, I know!!) is reduced.

    This would take a smarter man than I to work out, but I think that the 2 ideas in tandem would certainly help.

  71. Is it just me that gets nervous reading this thread that if we ban all aero and go back to the halcyon days of the 50s with no downforce the races will become incredibly boring? The cars will be much slower and while there might be more overtaking, and this is my biggest fear, there will be so much that it no longer becomes an exciting event.

    I know that people aren’t suggesting we actually ban ALL the aero, but you get my point.

    I’m also concerned if we go around slapping spec wings and spec floors on the cars we’re going to lose more of what makes the sport special in the variety and the development. I’ve watched spec races and they usually bore me to tears.

    I think we need to be VERY careful when debating and implementing changes like these lest the sport shoots itself in the foot. If the cars are slow but really close together but the leader changes every 4 laps I’ll probably stop watching. Yes we want some more overtaking but surely we don’t want so many that we become desensitised to them? They still have to MEAN something.

    1. I’ve watched spec races and they usually bore me to tears.

      Some of the best and closest racing I’ve seen has been in spec categories like GP2. I’m not saying this is the way F1 should go, but I think it’s easier to create close racing in a spec series than one with free technical development.

  72. Any aerodynamic device has to be within a box formed by the outer surfaces of the tyres.
    The only exceptions being the roll-hoop, front and rear crash structures.
    On the question of costs why not ban data being transmitted from a car during practise and the race. No longer need all the technicians in the pits monitoring a car’s systems of the tons of equipment transported to each race.

  73. Reducing costs in racing is a red herring. Teams will find a way to spend any resources they can get. Even in spec kart racing, like Rotax, people find a way to spend 40-80k per year. Sure you hit a wall of diminishing returns, but a tenth for a magic carb you got with your 20th engine is still a tenth.

    So all the ban, spec, etc, for F1 is a wasted exercise wrt cost. Wrt better racing, in particular removing aero push, rules are of value. But they ought play into F1’s upside, the engineering, instead of chasing the cost aspect. The rules should also be simple. Very simple. So as to allow creative solutions.

    So I like my cheapo-windtunnel post tech thing for aero. Simple scales, like now, for mass. Allotted fuel for a race as the only engine rule. You get 100 liters (or whatever) to do a GP. Build whatever engine you want. Use whatever KERS you want. Have at it. Then we’ll see some fuel efficiency innovation.

    There is only one item I think ought be spec, and that is tires. Spec tires are the only way to control marbles/klag, and tire wars are the worst at spreading the cars out into haves and have nots, based on third parties (tire companies), not team innovation.

  74. The best solution, financially and technically, would be to force all teams to run the same bodywork. This would eliminate aero advantages and save a ton of money. The universal F1 tub could be designed to provide better drafting.

    The teams would be free to design their own suspension and everything inside the tub. This would make it much easier for new teams too.

    I know that some are going to say all the cars will look alike, but hey, do you want to spend two hours watching a race or a caravan? It may not be popular with everyone but it should be considered.

  75. If faster cars can easily overtake slower cars what would we have? Faster cars will always go to the front. Once they are ahead there will be no more overtaking. If drivers in faster cars don’t make mistakes they will be ahead when the race starts and there will be no overtaking. My point is there may never be more overtaking in F1. Is overtaking the only thing that makes F1 better?

    1. The fallacy there is in the over simplification of what actually happens in racing. This assumes a static ordering of car pace. This need not be the case. On a large wavelength there can be changing balance on fuel loads, different tire wear rates, engine wear, suitability to changing conditions (rain, or even just temperature and dust). On small wavelengths there is drafting, mistakes, dust and grass kicked up on track, and non terminal mechanical glitches (Alonso’s gearbox ‘fun’, etc).

  76. adjustable front wings

    i.e. turned down in clean air, turned up in dirty air

    simplified wing elements for front and rear

    i.e. only one-two element allowed for front and rear (look at the wings on indycars)

    the modern F1 front wing has like 6-10 different components, which work amazing in clean air, and horrible behind another car…

    simplify the wing as much as possible, and allow it to be as low as possible

    the rear wing must also be simplified, to one element,

    two elements for monaco and hungary

    3 – much smaller diffuser, ban shark fins, have a minimum size for radiators, restrict aero pieces around sidepods and around rear tires

    the end

  77. remember, the CARS ALREADY HAVE adjustable front wings, but they can only use it once per lap…

    let the cars adjust the wings even further, and let it be done as much as the driver wants or needs

  78. “It’s always controversial to suggest introducing any kind of standard components in F1. But…” Exactly my point.
    We have no clues (as viewer)of what is going on under a car, there are no technological benefits passed to the road cars from a multimillion $ F1 undercarriage…Why cannot impose a standard undercarriage? (I start to sound like a broken record..)
    Std wings, standard undercarriage and move on. Aerodynamic engineers will have plenty to invent of top of the car…I think.
    Other engineers will have to make the car stick to the ground by other means…plenty to develop for everybody!

  79. Let’s try a different approach. How about designing the cars so that driving skill becomes the primary factor, and use that as the starting point for changing the rules. 1.Anything that substitutes for the driver, such as traction control, should be eliminated from consideration. 2. Anything ridiculously complex and expensive that doesn’t add to the racing (such as KERS; a simple push-to-pass as per IRL rules works fine) should be eliminated from consideration. 3. There needs to be more adjustability built into the cars for use both before and during the race (sorry guys: a la NASCAR) to tailor the car to conditions or the driver’s “style” (no more whining about that when you aren’t competitive). In my opinion, Formula One has always been about attracting and showcasing the best drivers, which team best prepares the car, who has the best strategy, and who can design the best car within ANY set of rules. Formula One should not continue to be ruined by runaway technology. The days have long since passed when what’s in an F1 car has any relevance to what’s on the street (aside from road-going supercars), and running a KERS system does not make F1 cars relevant to the real world. Reduce the aerodynamic dependency, limit the budgets (if they can police it), and let them test the cars. Formula One had better get back in touch with its roots, if it wants to survive. Don’t forget that a few months ago it almost ceased to exist because the people running the show had forgotten or ignored where the sport came from.

    1. Apart from the Kers, which is relevant to road cars, the rest I fully agree with.
      TC is already banned in F1.As is ABS.
      Telemetery is one way only already.The team can monitor the car, but they cannot make any adjustments.Only the driver can do that.

      1. Yes telemetry is only one way but effectively you have a driver and about a dozen non-riding co-drivers. These co-drivers monitor the car systems and feed information to the driver.

        How about returning F1 to a single driver formula and only allow the driver to make adjustments based on instrumentation in the cockpit. The driver work-load may well increase but this would add to the uncertainty and could well lead to unexpected retirements or slow-downs.

        It would also serve to reduce costs significantly as there would no longer be the need for all the co-drivers to attend the race or for all the tons of their equipment to be freighted around.

        1. After seeing the video from Ferrari about their steering wheel, i certainly had the same idea.

          Take this:
          – each driver has his own spec. steering wheel.
          – during the weekend the drivers give remarks and ask for different settings
          – in the season there are several versions of the steering wheel to suit new possibilities etc.
          – there is a whole team of engineers working on this.

          At first i was astounded by the detail going into things like this, but is that not a little bit too much of it?

      2. I think KERS is just green window dressing. F1 cars are not hybrids. I don’t want to see the driver become even more distracted by gadgets in the cockpit. Talk about texting while driving! Maybe there should be even less in the cockpit. However, I think it might be a good idea to allow some control over chassis setup by the driver in the cockpit during the race. I think this could validly be classified a driving skill if an intelligent driver could compensate for changes in fuel load or change the handling somewhat to improve speed, adapt to changing conditions or save tires.

        1. I don’t want to see the driver become even more distracted by gadgets in the cockpit.

          I don’t think there’s any evidence to suggest they’re distracted to begin with.

  80. I saw Gas turbines were already tried in F1 ( http://www.formula1journal.com/2010/04/gas-turbines-in-f1-2013-by-sportsman.html )

    why not give teams a second chance at them?

    The wigshaped car looks great, does it not.

  81. the funny thing with history and time people aways forget…
    I remember races where the winner was laps ahead and alot of races where there was single numbered finishes…

    Here a few ideas that other have made as well..
    Engines…open up development..we can see some teams haven’t adhered to the freeze as it is…well Renault seem to have and even after last year where they were allowed to get on par they again are mile behind!
    If you want pure grunt you should be allowed to have a v12, or if you want a 4cyl turbo go for it…

    No refueling

    No forced changes, softs to hards, let teams choose their own strategy

    Smaller metal brakes and non exotic pads

    Smaller diffusers

    Regulated wake controls, homologated wings post passing wake tests…
    What this wont work…Monza to Monaco, simple they have movable front wings now…so just make a few extra settings for wider adjustment for each race. Same for rear wings more holes to adjust elements for each track…now this wont be ideal but it would be the same for all.

    Allow proper qual to come back low fuel with a 1 or 2sets MAX of tyres designated to teams to do qual, these tyres dont have to start the race as teams get to choose how they want to strategise each race regardless of qual position.

    The major idea is behind a few ideas like brakes, aero homogation via fia and wake allowance and engine reg is to make cars different…

    Some cars will be quick with v12 but need tyres or more not so fuel efficient and bad with brakes, turbos may be light but need nursing to last 3 races and not go bang…
    Smaller metal brakes over heat and require longer braking so that allows for braver or a driver more efficient that can breaker to get in a positions to overtake..

    Different tyres allow other differences

    DDD are bad..and I am sick of explaining this…yes they produce less drag, the height angle and length of dirty air that can be made is astronomical…a rear wing is far to high to effect a front wing on following car. The ddd does…simple…

    There is 7 ideas that can be implement next year and some this year…
    Like I said controlled spec series arent always down to cars equality…it’s usually a mix of talent pool and not THE BEST drivers in the world…so talent has a major role in this…mistakes…reliability, pit crew problems, some looking to make a name, and others try to save there butt…etc…

    PS, wake turbulance is a measurable thing…
    if you want there is so many reasons why it would be too hard…or you could also investigate how EASY it could be as well…
    If they can do parc fereme and have cars not tampered with in between when they get them back on sunday and b4 race..and if they can contol engine use and gearbox use and spend millions on crash testing all teams and also design templates to check cockpit dimension, fuel quality and octane, etc etc…why would this be too hard?

    Team can design turbulence into design with cfd models and wind tunnel models so they could also then design a car with out it.

  82. Why use wings at all ?!

    Look at the Lotus 88 twin-chassis racecar, just ground-effects tunnels and a spoiler at the back. Add to that active suspensions so that the ride height could be properly controlled and say good bye to wings and diffusers.

  83. The problem is Aero
    and the fanatical following of vortex generation & seperation bubbles! in the quest for D/F this is just plain wrong.
    the cars have the CD of a Mack truck !and carry a parachute of drag behind them(in the shape of a giant Vortex) to the point that is a major part of their braking & they cannot overtake due to the massive vortex interference drag behind the car.
    The current Aero people are practicing faulty Aero theory, and tossing out 60 years of fact .
    Proved by the fact they are just now going as fast as the non D/F cars ! with large engine and tyre advances !

  84. So you don’t think banning turbo’s, reducing the engines down from 12 cylinders and restricting rpm have had any impact on top speeds?

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