Banned! Ground effect

The last in our series looking at F1 technologies that were banned looks at one innovation that the governing body were surely right to get rid of. Indeed, had they stepped in more quickly to rid the sport of ground effect cars, a series of terrifying crashes might have been avoided – and lives might … Continue reading Banned! Ground effect

Banned! Tuned mass dampers

The biggest technical controversy of last season was the banning of Renault’s ‘tuned mass damper’ suspension system. It put Renault’s championship defence in jeopardy and seriously questioned the impartiality of the FIA. Many in the paddock suggested the governing body were trying to engineer a final championship victory for the retiring Michael Schumacher. In a … Continue reading Banned! Tuned mass dampers

Banned! Active suspension


Lotus’ began developing active suspension in 1982. Ten years later an active suspension car run by a different team dominated world championship.

Banned! Traction control

Not many F1 fans were disappointed when the news broke two weeks ago that traction control was being kicked out of the sport. But this is not the first time that traction control has been banned – last time it happened all kinds of problems arose, not least of which safety, policing and politics. Can … Continue reading Banned! Traction control

Banned! X-wings

Over a pint a former Tyrrell mechanic once told me where the idea came for the hideous ‘X-wings’ that the team brought to the sport came from. This was in 1997, at which point the team was in its death throes – the last year in which boss Ken Tyrrell was still at the helm. … Continue reading Banned! X-wings

Banned! Turbos


For one example of an F1 engine technology that was dismissed at first, went through a difficult gestation, and then became ubiquitous, look no further than the turbo engines that defined F1 racing in the 1980s.

Banned! Four wheel steering

Of all the exotic technologies to be banned from Formula 1 through the years, four wheel steering could perhaps be the only innovation to have been developed after it was outlawed. The FIA made clear early in 1993 that ‘driver aids’ would be banned for 1994. A range of technologies were included in that all-encompassing … Continue reading Banned! Four wheel steering

Banned! Slicks

Grooved tyres – surely the greatest anachronism in Formula 1 today? No other major open wheel racing series uses them – not the Champ Car World Series, Indy Racing League, GP2, World Series by Renault, A1 Grand Prix – none of them. In F1, of course, slick tyres have been banned for nearly a decade. … Continue reading Banned! Slicks

Banned! Gas turbine engines

Think of unconventional Formula 1 technology and you instantly think of Colin Chapman. The Lotus boss, who died 25 years ago, understood that innovation was not just positive for its own sake, but that it also had publicity value. His gas turbine powered 56B F1 car was plainly a case of the latter over the … Continue reading Banned! Gas turbine engines