Turbos and ground effect “back in 2013″

F1’s new technical rules for 2013 will include a return to turbo engines and ground effect aerodynamics, according to Autosport.

The two technologies, which were hallmarks of F1 racing in the late seventies and eighties, will be revived in an effort to make F1 racing more exciting for fans and more relevant for car manufacturers.

The use of ground effect could allow designers to maintain current cornering speeds while reducing the turbulent wake which develops behind a car, making it difficult for a chasing car to stay close.

However the turbo engines being considered are likely to be smaller and much less powerful than the 1.5-litre V6s last used in the sport. They are expected to have less power than the current normally-aspirated V8 engines, but will make greater use of energy recovery systems.

Turbo power was last seen in F1 in 1988. The era of ground effect aerodynamics came to an end when flat-bottomed cars were mandated from the beginning of 1983:

Turbos and ground effect

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132 comments on Turbos and ground effect “back in 2013″

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  1. Dan Selby said on 3rd September 2010, 15:01

    This is interesting stuff. Will it have the desired effect?

    • matt90 said on 3rd September 2010, 18:20

      It definately sounds interesting. But I’m really dissapointed they’re trying to cut power again. If anything I’d have thought it’d be better for power to increase to 2005 V10 levels. For fans of speed anyway.

      • Floda Reltih said on 4th September 2010, 4:26

        I totally agree mate!!…they should be speeding things up not slowing them down (with safety in mind of course ;-)

      • MigueLP said on 4th September 2010, 14:59

        autosport.com says “On the engine side, draft regulations were circulated among teams a few weeks ago and the latest plan is for 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo engines to become standard.

        The power units will be bolstered by numerous energy recovery systems, and should produce around 650bhp. Plans are also being considered to limit engines to just five per driver per season.”

        • matt90 said on 4th September 2010, 16:09

          650 is pathetic. I know whatever output they do there will realisticly be a few road cars with better power, but 650 is common among hypercars and I’m pretty sure most prototype sportcars and even GT1 sportscars are similar. Very dissapointing even if the way the power is delivered is different.

          • mateuss said on 4th September 2010, 21:38

            That is indeed pathetic power output figure!
            Whats more, with less power, the cars will be easier to get out of slow corners – meaning less action. But more importantly this is F1 and its meant to be the best!

            And on the note of regulation changes – bring back active suspension, I think the tech has improved in 20 years and implementing active suspension nowadays should be easy even for the smallest teams, and active suspension should make things less of a ‘dark arts’ to get the suspension setup right for the whole circuit, where currently the big teams obviously have the upper hand. And most importantly, its a tech that deserves to be in F1, and F1 deserves and needs this tech to stay on top of the motorsport technology pyramid, because all these bans mean that F1 is falling back, while other series are catching up.

          • Not only does this figure bring F1 back towards other seires and single seaters competitions, It brings it back enough so that the Ferrari and Pagani makes amongst others, of the standard automobile world will start to look down on F1…..

            Not good.

          • I totally agree that 650 bhp isnt high enough and shud b much higher, but from a 4 cylinder 1.6 turbo thats a hell of alot for such a small engine, same size thats in a peugeot 207 gti and they only push out 175 bhp so that 650 bhp is pretty impressive. To be fair these Hyper cars and gt1 cars are running at least 3.4 V8’s so its no surprise that they run that kind of power. also u gotta facter in power to weight ratio’s which again will twice as much as a hyper or gt1 car. also the other thing is what kind of torque are these engines going to produce. all in all i think the cars will only b 2 3 seconds a lap slower so thats still alot quicker than most other series’ out there.

  2. about time! been calling for a return to ground effect with less dependency on wing-aero for so long.
    now lets get some nice chunky tyres on there too…

    • MinusTwo said on 3rd September 2010, 16:17

      Chunky tires? How come?

      • Larger tyres give more mechanical grip so there is less need for aerodynamic grip. This reduces the wake behind the car which means closer folllowing is possible

        • Guilherme Teixeira said on 3rd September 2010, 18:56

          “Less need for aerodynamic grip” does not mean that cars will have less downforce. The engineers will still push to have as much downforce as possible, and if you give them larger tyres they will just smile for the added mechanical grip you gave them…

          F1 doesn’t need largers tyres, it needs tyres that last less.

          • Bartholomew said on 3rd September 2010, 20:10

            It needs harder tyres that grip less

          • beneboy said on 3rd September 2010, 23:57

            Aerodynamic Downforce = Drag

            If the cars have ground effect then the drag created by aerodynamic devices such as wings makes them more of a disadvantage as it takes an awful lot of energy to push them through the air at high speed.

            We already see this at tracks such as Monza where the teams run cars with much less aero than they would somewhere like Monaco, add in the additional grip from ground effect (and Matt’s suggestion about fatter tyres, which I’d happily second) and the cost of the drag starts to outweigh the benefits of the downforce.

            This is the best news I’ve heard in a very long time !

          • theTTshark said on 4th September 2010, 4:22

            beneboy, ground effects is like free downforce. It does not produce any drag.

          • beneboy said on 5th September 2010, 23:15

            @ theTTshark

            Sorry if my post is unclear, I’m saying that aero such as the wings that are currently used would be less useful due to the drag they create if ground effect was brought back.

            I’m not saying that ground effect produces drag.

            Sorry for the confusion.

        • If they just changed the tyre rules the teams would continue with the same wings, so the wake would remain the same

        • No only do larger (fatter) tyres improve grip, they LOOK AWESOME, particularly when viewed from the rear. We also need a wider track (width between the tyres) and the picture is complete. It’s time F1 considers visual appeal of the racing cars as well.

          Here are some aesthetic elements to consider:

          Modern F1 races look so skinny. I’d love to get back to how the cars looked pre-1993, with plenty of changes undertaken for safety, though.

          Will ground-effects mean those ridiculous high noses will come to an end? Will we also get rid of the stepped floor and skid plank so we can see really low noses? And I hope those horrible shark fins sink into oblivion?

          • “It’s time F1 considers visual appeal of the racing cars as well.”

            You make it sound as though people in F1 have never considered the visual side of things before.

            It’s only very recently that the cars have become so ugly, and I don’t know why the teams don’t do something about it. The ’09 wing regulations represent the first time in the history of the sport that the regulations have forced the cars to be very ugly. (I thought when the regulations raised the front wing in 2005, they were going in a bad direction, but it was nothing compared to the monstrous wings we have now).

            I seriously think a lot of people in F1 have gone soft in the head – how can a team like McLaren which is so full of trendy, visual-conscious people, simply allow the bean-counters at the FIA to impose regulations from above that so drastically alter the appearance of the cars without protest? You’d think someone at McLaren would have said in 2007/8 – “Bernie, Max, why would we want to make our cars look like this?”… Surely people who work in teams such as McLaren and Red Bull watch Top Gear and understand that when Jeremy Clarkson says a car is ugly, it really means something.

            How can people like Brundle sit in the commentary booth and mouth the mild criticisms that he did at the 2009 Australian Grand Prix when these cars were first seen on a race weekend? I remember at the time, he was saying things like “well, they’ll take a bit of getting used to”. He has a reputation for being plain-spoken and straightforward but I felt that at that moment he was being needlessly polite – going along to get along. He didn’t want to say “wow that thing is hideous” because he knew that if they did change them back, they would still be stuck with these cars for at least a year, because of the way the design process is. But it still needed to be said.

            The visual appeal of F1 has always been a big attraction. And we live in such a shallow age, so it’s more important than ever. Surely you would think the F1 teams would realise this and say something.

            And another silly thing about it of course, is that there are far more accidents because the wings extend so far out, it’s far too easy to knock your wing off on someone else’s front wheel.

            The reason given for the changes was to improve overtaking, we can see the changes haven’t done that much in that regard, so I don’t understand why the regulations haven’t been reverted.

            Watching F1 has been a less enjoyable experience for me in these last two seasons because of these regulations. I don’t admire these cars the way I used to. Only the Red Bulls have been anything like good-looking.

            Thinking about it, I’m really just stunned that they haven’t changed the wings back yet. Sadly, at this point it’s already far too late to change the regulations for next year because the teams will already have their designs well-advanced, or completed.

            Right now the situation in F1 is sort of like the Emperor’s New Clothes. Why can’t someone in an influential position in the sport just say, these wings still look terrible, and it was a terrible idea in the first place? Maybe they are just opposed to “going back”? But why would you think the current situation qualifies as “progress”? Sometimes you have to go back, and it doesn’t make you “stubborn” or “silly” or even “nostalgic”.

            Visuals are one of the biggest things which attract people to cars, that’s just a simple fact, one that the powers that be have totally failed to take into account, which is totally baffling in what is supposed to be a “glamourous” sport.

    • No chunky tyres, i expect low profile tyres on 18″ wheels!

  3. paul smith said on 3rd September 2010, 15:08

    yes, yes, yes, finally overtaking again! roll on 2013

    • John H said on 3rd September 2010, 17:28

      What have you been watching this year?…. there IS enough overtaking already! Does anyone out there agree with me at all or am I completely mad?

      • I agree. I think overtaking this year has, on the whole, been brilliant. Bahrain being the only exception… although I blame where the cameras were pointed rather the track itself on that one

      • matt90 said on 3rd September 2010, 18:23

        I agree. There has been plenty of overtaking. But it is definately more difficult with the amount of dirty air produced than it used to be, and it is still fair to try and reduce this.

      • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 3rd September 2010, 18:33

        Agreed, and it already stands to improve next year with the ban on double diffusers as that will reduce grip and reduce the turbulent wake somewhat. I can’t wait to see how much of an effect that will have. It certainly can’t hurt though to bring back ground effects and reduce some of the aero allowed. Anything that helps in overtaking is welcome in my mind.

      • beneboy said on 4th September 2010, 0:15

        (I posted this on the forum recently but it’s relevant so I hope you’ll forgive me reposting it here.)

        Take a look at these statistics (You will have to register but it is free):

        They show that the average number of overtakes has reduced from over 40 in the early 80s to below 15 for the 2009 season, we’re on 31.69 so far this season but obviously there are now more cars at each race than we’ve had for a few years & it’s not been a full season yet. Amazingly it went down to just 10.74 overtakes per race in 2005 !

        This year has been very good but the overall trend since the 1980s has been a clear and dramatic reduction in the amount of overtaking.

        • Maybe some of the changes are beginning to show effect now!

          But i also feel some ground effect, with less aero could help in offering more overtaking opportunity.
          And the bigger wheels (with low profile tyres) might help in increasing braking distances through their weight and characteristics (if not allowed to run bigger brake discs).

      • I agree, but would also think that you were somewhat mad, not taking away from your point none the less…

        This year has been a great year for F1… I rather hope the FIA has worked this out…

        So, Engines will be unfrozen I take it?

  4. Lachie said on 3rd September 2010, 15:26

    “as well as increasing crash protection at the front of the car by moving the sidepods further forwards”

    I know in the end it’s the sport and the competition thats more important but please don’t take us back to the cars of the early 80’s in terms of looks…. ugh!

    If they can edge back towards circa ’67 or ’94/’95 good, or if they can make it totally new and beautiful also good, but not early 80’s!

    • Whitty 123 said on 3rd September 2010, 18:01

      Don’t take the cars back to how they looked in the early 80’s, WHAT! The early 80’s was my favourite era as it was the era I got into f1 as a child. If the cars ended up looking as they did back then I for one would be elated.

      • bosyber said on 3rd September 2010, 21:44

        Well, I hope they would be a lot less blocky, or they would be looking seriously outdated :-p

        But I am sure that it will still lead to teams working on optimal airflow over the car – if not for downforce, than at least for least amount of drag, so I think the cars would get a “new” look. If only because the engines will be a lot smaller.

  5. Nought wrong with the cars from the 80’s. Some beautiful cars were designed then.

    That aside, I can’t help but get excited by this news, it feels like the right direction for the sport, and I just hope that this proves to be the answer.

  6. Surely the cars cant be much uglier than this years cars? Massively wide front wing, stupid narrow rear wing and a narrow ugly chassis. Dont even get me started on the blown diffuser mess!

    The IndyCar series may be dull compared to F1 (I think it is) but the cars look a lot better.

    Any cosmetic changes they could make to the F1 cars in 2013, compared to the 2010 cars, can only be an improvement.

    I saw a 2009 Renault F1 car in a Basingstoke shopping centre some months back and, aside from the fruit salad inspired livery, it looked ridiculous. Very low down, very long and very ugly. It looked like a single bed on wheels!

    • Macca (@macca) said on 3rd September 2010, 15:52

      Well you were in a shopping centre, are you sure it wasn’t just a bed. LOL

      The IndyCar series may be dull compared to F1 (I think it is) but the cars look a lot better.

      Two parts to this statement and there both wrong. IndyCar is just as exciting as F1 and they are some of the ugliest cars on the face of this earth. I would much rather have a picture of a 2010 F1 car stuck on my wall than an ugly Indycar.

      And the new age of F1 cars don’t look that bad anyway. Having gotten used to them over the past 2 years, there no way I could go back to the old low winged cars, they just look like a giant has stood on them and squashed them.

      • Joey-Poey said on 3rd September 2010, 17:07

        I dunno, I prefer the old low-and-wide look. There’s some pros and cons to the look of the 2010 indy cars. I don’t like the little bubble in front of the driver as it takes away from the sleekness and interrupts what should be a nice beautiful curve. But the low, wide profile evokes way more of the feel of open wheel racing to me than does the “chunky” feel of most F1 cars nowadays. If you ask me, the late 80’s and early 90’s had some of the best looking F1 cars.

    • matt90 said on 3rd September 2010, 18:18

      I saw it n Basingstoke too, but I don’t see what’s so bad about being low nor the length.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 3rd September 2010, 18:39

      I don’t understand why everyone is so down on the look of the current cars. They’re more muscular, evolved, advanced, technical, and sophisticated looking than they’ve ever been. I can’t wait to see what they’ll look like with less aero, more ground effects, and modern engineering… I imagine the basic shape may be similar to the early ’80s cars, but again they’ll be much more sculpted and sophisticated looking.

  7. tyresmoke said on 3rd September 2010, 15:41

    G effect with a stepped floor? will this work? i think it works in gp2 as the cars are the same spec. perhaps a variety in engines, KERS and external aero will still make this a series of the top teams and the rest… i’m a cynic i know.

    PS: make the engines as powerful or more than the v8s… i’m saying 800PS

    • Hallard said on 3rd September 2010, 17:27

      I totally agree on the engine power bit. F1 cars should have at least 800 hp. Right now they are running 725-750 hp, and that just isnt enough. My opinion is that they should have huge power, and be difficult to drive. If the turbo engines have less power than the current v8s, then they’ll be too close to GP2 series’ cars (in power).

      • MuzzleFlash said on 3rd September 2010, 20:50

        With ground effects though they’ll probably want to play it safe for a season or two. There is, literally, tons of downforce to be gained, depending on how much they regulate and restrict it’s application and development.

        I’m not sure how a ground effect downforce against speed graph looks compared to a wing downforce against speed graph. Would be interesting.

  8. Good news. Ground effects create more downforce with less turbulence, and we satisfy the archivists who are offended by big wings and trim them down in chord. And no, the cars can’t get much uglier than now. The current cars are ghastly.

  9. zomtec said on 3rd September 2010, 15:58

    I´d love to see the cars having the speed of the late V10 era.

  10. Fergal said on 3rd September 2010, 16:06

    errrrrr…. ground effect? how are they going to do that without killing four drivers a year?

  11. antonyob said on 3rd September 2010, 16:10

    great news, what f1 needs in this era is revolutionary changes, the emprirical development that has been a part of the sport for 20 yrs just suits the big teams with plenty of money. As Brawn showed, step change the rules and you can get an advantage by lateral thinking.

    I will always miss 12 cylinder engines in f1 but if we did we’d lose tracks like Spa, to safety considerations in fact we’d probably lose every track quite quickly.

    Can we assume that if we have ground effects we will have no aerofoils?

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 3rd September 2010, 17:13

      If you mean silly wings, flaps and chimneys Antonyob, I hope so.
      If ground effects are to replace the increasingly complex front and rear wings, could we see a return to the unmistakable beauty of the Brabham BT49 with no front wing at all and a simple rear wing?

      • Or even the Lotus 80 with no front or rear wing!

        But you need to read the statement in Autosport. They are talking of increasing the proportion of the downforce that comes from the diffuser and reducing the proportion that comes from the wings, rather than returning to full length venturies which is what most people think of as the ground effect era. With modern knowledge I hate to think how much ground effect downforce could be generated by a full length venturi and side skirts, when they can already create far more than that era from a flat floor with end diffuser. That would test the driver and tyres!

        • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 3rd September 2010, 18:43

          With modern knowledge I hate to think how much ground effect downforce could be generated by a full length venturi and side skirts, when they can already create far more than that era from a flat floor with end diffuser. That would test the driver and tyres!

          That does worry me a bit as well. Undoubtedly there will be very strict regulations about the limits of what they can do.

          • ‘Undoubtedly there will be very strict regulations about the limits of what they can do’

            That would be a 1st ;-)

  12. Scribe (@scribe) said on 3rd September 2010, 16:19

    Turbos yeah great, GROUND EFFECT??? Huh? i mean it was fantastic technology but I thought the idea was to not kill people? Jeez, I hope its not spec haunted awfullness, that wouldn’t be any fun.

    Wow got to process this, it’s new engines in 2012 right? F1 is going to be drastically different by the start of 2014, can’t say I’m not excited.

    Wonder how this all pans out, all I want if for F1 to stay away from the horrors of Sepc racing, beyond that well no deaths and its all good.

  13. Polishboy808 (@polishboy808) said on 3rd September 2010, 16:24

    One word….. YES!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Turbos = Renault strong point

  15. Ryan Fairweather said on 3rd September 2010, 16:54

    One word 650bhp. Lets hope they’re allowed engine development for a few years, before another archaic freeze!

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